Coffee shops + caffeine = idea sex

Coffee Culture: An Artistic Experiment

Coffee culture is a very real thing.

Not too long ago, I was watching an interview with Jason Silva, host of the Discovery Channel’s Brain Games and a professional philosopher of sorts. Silva’s enthusiasm is palpable and transcends the screen, when he talks about ideas being alive you feel it. He mentioned offhand that the “rise of the coffee shop” played a pivotal role in the evolution of human ideas.

The short version: when coffee culture arose, it set the perfect bedrock for ideas to intermingle, mutate, replicate and spread. A ton of people are now in very close proximity of each other while producing deas (usually caffeinated, which is a stimulant, of course). We are all basically creatively riffing off one another’s thoughts and energy.

If you believe that we are all connected, which I humbly do, there is a theory that stipulates we all share a consciousness (whether we are aware or can consciously access it). So, when more of us are settling into these coffee shops and gettin’ hopped up on java while creating, it positively affects the people around you. One big idea party and we’re all invited. Pretty cool stuff.

I have always loved visiting coffee shops to brain storm and, more importantly, get writing done. I never could articulate exactly why this setting produced some of my best work. I figured I was an ambiance person, perhaps, but when I heard this theory it blew my mind. So, this year, I Have decided to visit as many coffee shops as I can recording my thoughts and inspiration.

I love creating and cultural experiments, so naturally, I went online to research these schools of thought. Tons of neat stuff, but not nearly as much as I expected to find. Why aren't more people talking about this? Interestingly, I did find a ton of marketing brains weighing in as the 'creators of coffee culture'. They essentially believe they designed this movement as a way to sell more coffee.

Whether or not the chicken came before the egg, you can’t sell something to the masses that the masses do not desire. As much as some people believe otherwise, plenty of products and campaigns fail miserably, so it’s a delicate balance. As a person who works in the field, I can speak to this. Marketing is just as much a reflection of its audience as the other way around. We don’t work with Oz, and there is certainly no secret factory where we manufacture ideas for the masses.

Advertisers are obsessed with culture and they study it in order to sell you stuff. That’s the truth. In a way, they are connoisseurs of culture,  constantly expanding their understanding of it. We’re all one big anthropological project, but it doesn’t have to be cheesy or depressing.

So, in the spirit of collective creativity and artistic experiment, I hope you’ll stick around and read my coffee shop thoughts. I am giving my mind license to roam free, commit random acts of inspiration, drink tons of java and documenting my journey. 

Stay caffeinated my friends,


The Emerald Journal