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Coffee and Music

You’ve heard it before- working in a coffee shop can help increase your creativity. Not only have you probably experienced this yourself, but now it’s been proven scientifically. The Journal of Consumer Research recently published a study done by researchers at the University of Illinois who found that 70 decibels of noise can create the ideal atmosphere for productivity and creativity. Thoughts can become too static in a silent room, while getting out of your comfort zone and going out can trigger the brain to think more abstractly. Not to mention, coffee tends to focus the mind regardless of where it’s consumed. But the environment could play a role, especially depending on what music is playing. Studies done in grocery stores show that customers will often change their wine purchase decisions based on what music is playing overhead. For example, when French music was playing, more people bought French wine over German wine.

Interestingly, when a similar study was conducted in a coffee shop, it was discovered that the type of music played had very little effect on how much coffee was bought and sold that day. Independent experiments determined that, apparently, Jazz and Indie Pop are the best fit for independent coffee shops, but the researchers found very little differences in sales depending on either type of music, or silence.

A coffee shop would not be the same without the low lull of music in the background. Perhaps the reason there was no difference in the studies is because a coffee shop’s noise, unlike a market, is not just music. Whirring steam nozzles and sloshing milk and espresso, along with snippets of conversations caught unintentionally, all work together make a genuine coffee shop environment. Experimenters can try to reproduce that climate, but it can never be truly captured. You have to actually go to a coffee shop to get it.

Even though experimenters found very few correlations and sales in their experiments, it would be interesting to repeat the experience at 1101 Spruce to see if there are any differences. In a place like Greenstreet, we have so many origin options that are all so individual we’d have to custom tailor the music to see if certain genres trigger a favoritism in our selection. If we played Italian music would people take more espresso shots? What if Showtunes made you buy our Indonesian Sumatra, Wahana, or Indie rock made our Ethiopian, Kocherree really popular all of a sudden. What do YOU think? Tell on tumblr, facebook or twitter what you think your favorite origin’s musical style would be. Maybe Nicaraguan, Santa Teresa really likes heavy metal, but our Kenyan, Kia-Ora works best with soft rock. Let us know what you think, and we’ll report back to you. Signing off, your friends at Greenstreet.

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