Adventures in South Africa, pt. I
January 27, 2015
In which I permanently heighten my senses and improve my music by drinking coffee.
I currently live in Cape Town, South Africa. In a way, coming to Cape Town feels like coming home. It is indeed a crazy place, a big town that often feels small but is full of diverse culture and vibrancy.
Here I find lots of warmth, daylight, friends and good food. I expect these to help my inspiration and focus on my work, on what really matters to me: Finishing my upcoming acoustic album.
What I did not expect, though, was that drinking coffee would actually improve my songwriting and playing.
Coffee improves music?
My afternoons I would sometimes spend at Rosetta Roastery, a coffee roaster in the suburb of Woodstock. Rosetta is unique among all the coffee places in Cape Town. Their staff consists of the most wildly passionate coffee-lovers you may find anywhere. They go far beyond just good coffee and excellent service.
I had my first Rosetta coffee served by Ollie on a very busy market day. Nine months would pass before my return to Cape Town, this time to the actual Rosetta shop in Woodstock. Ollie saw me, recognized me and advised me to have a different coffee variety than the time before.
He actually knew which one that had been. After nine months.
Blue Batak as served by Ollie
Only a person dedicated to being their best and doing what they love can pull off this kind of stunt.
Once a week the whole company of five would stay late to study and learn more about coffee, always on the edge of the latest science, methods and varieties. These guys don’t just love coffee: They love to learn, they are hungry for knowledge. They have created a special place of mutual respect and learning. As a result, every employee appears to own the place.
I tend to be quickly infected by this kind of passion and this by itself feeds my creative energy.
Doing your job – or inspiring others
Just doing your job is playing safe to get your salary. It means spending your precious lifetime on making money. Money that can be taken away from you. No one can take away your knowledge, though, or your experience, your memories or your skills.
Spending your time on improving these aspects of your life, training, learning and sincerely interacting with people, maybe educating them, therefore, is apparently the best investment you can make.
Learn all you can and then translate
I never really liked coffee. In fact, I still don’t really love it. But I do like the experience of exploring its feels and aromas. By focusing on these tasting adventures I was able to train my palate in ways I had not imagined before.
As a result, my other senses are permanently heightened as well. As I have have learned to taste and evaluate things differently in context, this experience translates to my hearing and my musical imagination. Not by huge leaps, mind you. But in a unique way that I would not want to miss.
It is also here at Rosetta Roastery, that I, sipping many a Kyoto Iced Yirgacheffe, found the tranquility to stitch together the last parts for my next album. This is what I am traveling for, ultimately.
To be continued – my adventures in South Africa have just begun.