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My 5 Best Songs About Coffee

I find it helps me write on this blog to actually have a cup of freshly brewed coffee within reach, and to have coffee songs playing in the background while I write.

By “coffee songs,” I don’t mean the songs they play in cafes. I mean songs ABOUT coffee. I have Spotify installed and there’s a sponsored playlist there called “Your Favorite Coffeehouse”; perhaps the chill, smooth lounge songs there make for good background music for when you’re at your favorite establishment, lazily awaitin’ some caffeinatin’, but I’m afraid many of the songs in it do nothing for me.

Simply put, my coffee songs need to have lyrics that mention, and if possible extol, the virtues of drinking coffee. Without further ado, let’s dive into the list:

1. Sarah Vaughan – Black Coffee – There are many versions of this song out, with Ella Fitzgerald’s lovely version probably being the most popular one, but Wikipedia tells me that Sarah Vaughan was the first to record it. And between her version and Ella’s, I like Sarah’s just a little more.

And okay, this song doesn’t quite celebrate coffee, but it’s still central to setting the bluesy mood.

my nerves have gone to pieces
my hair is turning gray
all I do is drink black coffee
since my man’s gone away

(Read the rest of the lyrics here).

2. Diana King – Mi Coffee – No video or lyrics available for this song, sadly. I first encountered it while listening to Ms. King’s second album, Think Like a Girl, and this highly personal, 31-second piece got to me immediately. Ms. King claims her mother used to sing this song, as she “HAD to have her coffee in the morning.” It’s fun and simple and a capella – unique in itself.

3. Carroll Gibbons and Marjorie Stedeford – Black Coffee – A light-hearted tune, to offset the more melancholy mood of the Sarah Vaughan song with the same title. (And in case you were wondering: they’re two completely different songs.)

4. Kojima Mayumi – Turkey Coffee (小島麻由美「トルココーヒー」) – I’d say “whimsical” is an understatement for this one; it’s a bit of a rush, this song. I’m not a fluent Japanese speaker and I can’t say I fully understand the lyrics, but for me, the melody captures the high and subsequent mellow feeling you get from imbibing REALLY strong, high-quality coffee. I haven’t personally tried Turkish coffee yet, but I’ll probably get back to you after I have.

Watch the video here (click on the video screencap to open the song in a popup window) and read the lyrics (in Japanese) here.

5. Caffeine – Patty Larkin – Of all the songs in the list, this one I think has the most laid-back, “coffeeshop” feel. I’m not aware of any cafe or brand that’s used it for a commercial yet, but if one has, I wouldn’t be surprised!

Notice that all the songs in the list were sung by women? Maybe someone reading this can recommend other good coffee songs by male artists. I’ll happily put it in my “songs about coffee” playlist if it catches my fancy; a more balanced playlist would certainly be nice.

If these don’t quite satisfy your craving for good coffee songs, there are tons of other mixes/playlists on the Web. Check these out, for starters:

10 Coffee Songs to Jump-Start Your Day @ Esquire

Readers Recommend: Songs About Coffee @ The Guardian

The Best Sad Coffee Songs @ ThoughtCatalog

Jittery Jams: 10 Songs For Coffee Lovers @ NPR

Korean songs with the ‘Coffee’ theme @ Ningin Voices