Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 97 of 107

IN FRONT OF YOU is a list of drinks to be made. Customers are waiting and coworkers are scurrying about getting things done, and you, your finger hovers over the PLAY button as you contemplate what sounds are going to carry all of you through this moment. This is where a lot of baristas might choose the path most traveled: a playlist we've all heard a hundred times before. Others, however, turn out to be alchemists when their decisions make that moment gold. Music is the most underrated tool a barista has in her bag of tricks, and it's time we all listen up—literally—and understand what those musical decisions can result in for our coworkers', our customers', and even our own café experience. It's 6 a.m. inside BARISTA in Portland, Ore., and there's no better artist for me right now than The Sea and Cake. Relaxed and still present, this band sets the tone for the morning; it reflects the café's energy and atmosphere. These early morning hours are precious to me: I'm dialing in coffees for the first rush of the day, and I need music to help smooth the tasks at hand along. Finding those records or bands that have a calming effect helps immensely in the preparation of espresso. As we transition toward that first rush of customers, I look for something with a little more energy—maybe Megafaun, the North Carolina group known for its unique blend of folk and progressive indie rock. Its music evokes the feeling that my customers can enjoy the sunrise while I get busy making drinks with efficiency so they can get on their way. Once we're in the full swing of the day, I'm all about All Tiny Creatures' album Dark Clock, with its palpable energy I absorb as I approach the creation of each drink. I head into the stan- dard afternoon lulls with Wild Nothing, and when the clock tells me we're approaching closing time, I flip over to Helado Negro to set the tone. Music is one of the most critical points to setting the tone of your café, and the experience you want your customers to have. We interact with every customer with attentive politeness, and we craft quality beverages while explaining the coffee's profile and story. But what about those otherwise quiet minutes while the customer waits for his drink? What can we do to elevate this time? For me, it's about offering a soundscape for that intro- spective period. To develop a better understanding of how music affects your customers' experience, start by considering your own acoustic interests. Looked at through the lens of the music you like, your personality can have an impact on the energy of a café that you A Life Equal Parts by Brett Felchner 98 barista magazine B o o k 5 5 - 1 0 8 . i n d d 9 8 Book 55-108.indd 98 3 / 2 4 / 1 4 7 : 1 7 A M 3/24/14 7:17 AM

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