Can a drink be synonymous with aesthetics? The question may seem a little bit strange. Taking some artistic forms, coffee can turn out to be art in its own right, and in this sense, it seduces artists.
Formerly, coffee inspired architects who dedicated places of consumption to it and it was at the center of the paintings of some painters. Today, it awakens the sense of olfaction when it composes a fragrance.
Architecture and painters
Procope, the first café in Paris, opened in 1674. The success was immediate because you can drink coffee and other exotic drinks and eat cakes and sorbets in a refined setting. Soon the cafes flourish from St. Petersburg to Vienna and London, because they are places where the spirits, at least those of the Enlightenment, blow.
The refined decoration (intimate alcoves, heavy draperies) and their famous consumers have elevated many cafes to the rank of historical monuments: Café Central in Vienna, Café Florian in Venice, Café el Greco in Rome…
After the “Turqueries” of the seventeenth century, paintings depicting French aristocrats dressed in oriental style or dressed in Turkish with a cup of coffee in hand, the representation of coffee consumption is expressed in the following century by still lifes, cups and coffee makers.
Later, in the 19th century, coffee symbolizes bourgeois comfort or family intimacy, as evidenced by Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffeepot or Manet’s Luncheon in the Studio.
The XX. century also represents coffee inspired works: such as “Still Life” by Henri Rousseau or “The Gueridon” by Braque. Nowadays, some contemporary artists even replace painting and gouache with coffee to realize their works. Sounds interesting, right?
Coffee is known to awaken all senses; it’s smell commonly evokes the packet of freshly ground grains or the scalded smoke above the cup. But the coffee also seduces the “nose”, creators of perfumes where inspired by coffee in many ways, thanks to the richness of its aromas, which develop multiple olfactory facets. At first, the perfumers exploited coffee for feminine juices revealing a hot, sensual and captivating note of sweet mocha, like that of the Torrente.
The richness of the coffee also made it possible to develop its second facet, fusante, harsh and fresh, for men’s eau de toilette. Thierry Mugler’s best-selling male juice is Amen, where a very vibrant coffee mingles with woody notes.
Musicians were also inspired by the many facets of coffee. Jean-Sébastien Bach composed the cantata 211, known as the “cantata of coffee”, inspired by a text by the German poet “Picander” (of his real name Christian Friedrich Henrici) on the “cafémania” which took possession of Europe.
Serge Gainsbourg paid homage to him with his famous song “Couleur Café”. More recently, the songwriter Oldelaf dedicated a song “Le café” to the stimulating effects of the beverage, and a group of French reggae / jazz songs chose its name “Le Temps d’un café” as a tribute to the pleasant time they spent while tasting.