The greatest songs about coffee

With 'Espresso' stirrin' up the charts, here are some of the best tracks inspired by the java

The buzz behind ‘Espresso’, the latest hit of bubbling disco-pop from Sabrina Carpenter, has got us thinking.

Is this grounds for another list? An excuse to have a robust plunge into the moreish blend of music and coffee? It’s only worth a shot. Here are 15 songs inspired by the dark little bean to perk you up for the day, and if you hadn’t already assumed by now, we took some creative licence…

‘Cappuccino’ – MC Lyte

An old skool hip-hop head-nodder, MC Lyte heads to the city’s best spot for a cup of cappuccino, but gets caught in the crossfire of rival gangs. It was just a dream, but somehow she’s still got a bone to pick with this frothy drink. “It’s somewhat like coffee, then again not quite/ It’s creamy and smooth, and it goes down light/ They charge you 3 dollars, you ask is it worth it? […] Cappucino was fly, but too fly for me/ Why, oh why did I need cappucino?”

‘Espresso’ – Sabrina Carpenter

This ear-worm has shot out of nowhere like a blast of hot steam, but earns its namesake as Carpenter diagnoses her lover’s sleepless nights to her addictive and stimulating personality, naturally.

‘Coffee & TV’ – Blur

Though remembered more by the milk carton, in one of the Britpop band’s catchiest songs Graham Coxon turns to the time-old combo of, you guessed it, coffee and TV to help fill the void and hide away from the “Big bad world”.

‘Slave To The Grind’ – Skid Row

Though the New Jersery hard rockers were probably on about succumbing to the capitalist machine as a whole, if you’ve seen the line for Pret at Gatwick Airport at five in the morning you’ll know there’s little difference.

‘Percolate’ – Foy Vance

Over the course of four short verses coffee turns from a symbol of warmth and love to a reminder of what’s missing, as we find the Northern Irish singer-songwriter waiting for a loved one’s (probably unlikely) return. “Until that day, it seems my fate/ Is to watch the coffee percolate/ And drink it in this dark and dusty room”. I think a tear just fell into your cup, there.

‘Black Coffee in Bed’ – Squeeze

Another emotional journey, where a coffee stain reminds Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook of an ex partner before essentially realising, Hang on a minute? I can have coffee in bed with someone else? Happy days!

‘Black Coffee’ – All Saints

A quintessential taste of turn-of-the-millennium ambient pop, this spacey love song uses the everyday image of pouring a cup of coffee as a way of immortalising the little things a loved one does.

‘Cappuccino’ – Donny Benét

No words, just pure vibes. Soak in that funky foamy goodness bubbling atop this hot and steamy banger from the Australian disco dandy.

‘Strange Brew’ – Cream

Yes, we’d like some cream with that. A late-60s psych rock cut that finds Eric Clapton looking down at the cup of mysterious, soul-cleansing liquid: ‘Strange brew/ Kill what’s inside of you’. Shaggy, that wasn’t coffee.

‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ – Filter

The words every trainee barista wants to hear on their first day. OK, it’s tenuous, but come on, they’re called Filter. Pun-doppio.

‘Expresso Love’ – Dire Straits

He knows it’s espresso, right?

‘Java Jive’ – The Ink Spots

In case you thought we’d begun clutching at straws a little, here’s a song irrefutably on topic. “I love coffee, I love tea/ I love the java jive and it loves me,” sang the rhythm and blues group The Ink Spots in 1940, “Oh slip me a slug from the wonderful mug/And I’ll cut a rug just snug in a jug”. Absolutely no idea what they’re on about in the last bit there, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be the diner staff telling this lot that the kettle’s broken.

‘Cappuccino City’ – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Though Melbourne might be known as one of the spiritual homes of specialty coffee, in this steadily building track from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever a couple meet in one of the city’s dingier establishments with a neon sign where the coffee is cold and roaches are on the wall.

‘French Press’ – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Yet another from the Melbourne rockers. Yeah, it’s tenuous, but this might be the right moment to let you know you’ve been brewing your cafetière wrong this whole time.

‘Cold Brew’ – Quadrant and Isis

This one goes out to all the ravers. How else are they going to stay up dancing all night? You’d think with a name like this the drum and bass would be liquid, but this goes quite hard.

‘One More Cup of Coffee’ – Bob Dylan

In this sombre 1976 cut from Desire, Dylan clings to one last cup before leaving a lover he’s sure to never see again, using the act to savour the fleeting moments. A fitting way to end this piece, don’t you think?

Sabrina Carpenter performs at Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2024 in Luton on Sunday 26 May – find tickets here