With the temperatures dropping and snow battering much of the States, a nice cup of Joe sounds awfully good. Those warm aromas enrich the soul, just like music. You get the best of both worlds when artists lend their names to a signature brew. Win Butler of Arcade Fire is the latest musician with beans on the brain, and this one’s for a worthy cause. Let’s drink to Butler’s blend, as well as other notable music mochas.
Win Butler: RaRa – His is a limited-release blend by La Colombe grown in Haiti and roasted in Philadelphia. The Arabica concoction, sold for $15 per bag, has hints of chocolate, black pepper and cedar.
“I'd heard about what La Colombe was doing with their coffee academy so I approached them to see if they'd make this coffee for me, because coffee is so important to Haiti, and Haiti is so important to me and everyone in the band,” Butler says in a press release. His wife and band mate, Regine Chassagne, is of Haitian descent, and one of Arcade Fire’s most beloved tunes is about the developing nation.
Proceeds from sales of RaRa go to Partners in Health (http://www.pih.org), which assists in medical relief in third-world countries, and the Haiti Coffee Academy (http://haiticoffeeacademy.com/).
St. Vincent: Bring Me Your Mugs – A play on her 2014 song “Bring Me Your Loves,” Annie Clark’s coffee is culled from Intelligentsia's "Flecha Roja" project in Costa Rica. The regular Flecha Roja blend features notes of "poached pear, rosewater, and yellow plum.”
“Coffee is reason to wake up,” the musical maestro said in a press release back in May. “There are other reasons, of course. But coffee is the incentive, at the very least.”
Wilco: Selects – Another Intelligentsia creation, available back in 2010, featured an “ever-present note of citron, juniper berry and vanilla.” Jeff Tweedy’s Joe was derived from Organic Ethiopia Sidama Homecho Waeno. And Wilco didn’t stop at coffee; the alt-country outfit also released a beer with Lagunitas.
The New Pornographers: Brill Brew – Intelligentsia again. This $26 bag o’beans originally came with a download code for the Brill Bruisers album in August 2014. The flavor profile: “mango, nectarine and green apple shine in this cheerful and sweet coffee.” Sounds a lot like the Pornos themselves!
Joe Henry: Jack the Bear – Madonna’s brother-in-law says “I consider coffee to be a religious discipline of sorts: it begins my day, like prayer does for some; is a sacrament at every familial function, friendly gathering, and every celebratory or solemn occasion.” So he collaborated with Equator on this espresso named for a Duke Ellington song. The “Mild, laid-back Brazil estate is topped off with gentle acidity and a hint of teak, coconut and citrus.” It sells for $14.95.
James Murphy: House of Good – Back in2013, the former LCD Soundsystem ringleader and avid foodie collaborated with Blue Bottle to create this “neutral espresso.” “The idea is that it should have a real complexity on the palate, like a single-origin does, but not be difficult on the finish. It should be very friendly," Murphy told Rolling Stone last year. But just like LCD, the House of Good blend is gone now.
Numerous bands of the rock/metal genres also put out no-longer-available blends: Decibel explored (and snarked on) some standouts from Rob Zombie, Dave Mustaine and Cheap Trick.
What’s your favorite rock star blend? Or who’s the next musician that should put out his or her own coffee?