Music and Coffee (and Shakespeare!)

A song and a coffee I have enjoyed this week.

This song has been one of my favorite songs for years, but the song was punctuated by something I read this morning in William Shakespeare’s history, King Richard II.


Here is the passage from the recently decoronated King Richard II:

A king of beasts indeed. If aught but beasts

I had been still a happy king of men.

Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France.

Think I am dead, and that even here thou takest

As from my deathbed thy last living leave.

In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire

With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales

Of woeful ages long ago betid,

And ere thou bid good night, to ‘quite their griefs

Tell thou the lamentable tale of me

And send the hearers weeping to their beds.

For why! the senseless brands will sympathise

The heavy accent of thy moving tongue,

And in compassion weep the fire out,

And some will mourn in ashes, some coal black

For the deposing of a rightful king. (King Richard II, Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 35-50)


This reminds me of the first part of the double song by Kendrick Lamar, ‘Sing About Me/I’m Dying of Thirst,’ specifically the third verse. Some may be offended that I am relating Shakespeare to the realm of rap. I cannot control offense. I will only quote the third verse of the song (written from the perspective of Kendrick himself – the other verses are told from different perspectives) and the hook, since the whole song is twelve minutes long. Verses 1 and 2 are extremely important to this next verse. One is told from the perspective of Kendrick’s friend from Compton whose brother died, and who wants Kendrick to “sing” about them. The other verse is from the perspective a prostitute whose sister, also a prostitute, died. She does not want Kendrick to “sing” about them. The following verse is from Kendrick’s perspective about what he is doing as an artist, “singing” the stories of human beings.

Song: Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst


Sometimes I look in a mirror and ask myself
Am I really scared of passing away
If it’s today I hope I hear a
Cry out from heaven so loud it can water down a demon
With the holy ghost till it drown in the blood of Jesus
I wrote some raps that make sure that my lifeline
Rake in the cent of a reaper, ensuring that my allegiance
With the other side may come soon
And if I’m doomed, may the wound
Help me mother be blessed for many moons
I suffer a lot
And every day the glass mirror get tougher to watch
I tie my stomach in knots
And I’m sure not why I’m infatuated with death
My imagination is surely an aggravation of threats
That can come about
Cause the tongue is mighty powerful
And I can name a list of your favorites that probably vouch
Maybe cause I’m dreamer and sleep is the cousin of death
Really stuck in the scheme of, wondering when I’m a rest
And you’re right, your brother was a brother to me
And your sister’s situation was the one that put me
In a direction to speak of something that’s realer than the TV screen
By any means, wasn’t trying to offend or come between
Her personal life, I was like “it need to be told
Cursing the life of 20 generations after her soul”
Exactly would have happened if I hadn’t continued rappin
Or steady being distracted by money drugs and four
Fives, I count lives all on these songs
Look at the weak and cry, pray one day you’ll be strong
Fighting for your rights, even when you’re wrong
And hope that at least one of you sing about me when I’m gone
Now am I worth it?
Did I put enough work in?

Promise that you will sing about me
Promise that you will sing about me

I said when the lights shut off
And it’s my turn to settle down
My main concern
Promise that you will sing about me
Promise that you will sing about me


See the whole song and annotations on Genius.

Coffee: Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Natural)

This is the natural version of another coffee I’ve had, Ethiopia Hambela Buku (washed). The natural might be my favorite coffee, along with the washed version, and the Columbia Las Margaritas Pacamara (another naturally processed coffee).


Cup: Strawberry, Coconut Milk, Kiwi, Lime Zest, Cocoa


Music and Coffee

A song and a coffee I have enjoyed this week.

Song: I Am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkle


I listened to this song this morning, and a few lines struck me given my affinity for reading.


A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island

Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

See Genius for annotations.

Coffee: Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Washed)


I had this coffee as a (Kalita Wave) pour-over and it was probably the best coffee I’ve ever had. I am excited to try the natural version as well.

See the differences:

  1. Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Washed)
  2. Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Natural)


Pour-over System: Chemex


About two weeks ago, I purchased a Chemex pour-over system. A pour-over is a way of brewing coffee where the person pours hot water over and through the coffee grounds, then being filtered through a paper coffee filter. A Chemex differs from other pour-over systems in that it has higher clarity but lower body (due to its three-layered filter). This means that it has less sediment (if any) and keeps out any oils that might get through a metal filter.

The main pour-over systems I have seen used are these:

  1. Chemex
  2. Hario V60
  3. Kalita Wave

These three seem to vary in small ways. Some have more body, and some have more clarity. Chemex is the highest in clarity and lowest in body.

I also just received in the mail Onyx Coffee Lab’s Roaster Sampler Box, which consists of four four-ounce bags of various coffee beans (as opposed to just buying one 16-20 ounce bag). These are the coffees that Onyx decided to include in my shipment.


  1. Columbia La Plata (Cup: Vanilla Bean, Lemon Zest, Plum, Floral, Pecan)
  2. Kenya Nyeri Barichu (Cup: Winey, Brulee Grapefruit, Rose Honey, Mouthwatering)
  3. Columbia Nilo Martinez (Cup: Floral Honey, Vanilla Yogurt, Honeydew, Soft)
  4. Columbia San Antonio (Cup: Dates, Brown Sugar, Nutty, Stone Fruit, Creamy)

Bonavita Kettle

1.0 Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle


  • Adjustable in one degree increments 140°-212°F
  • 1000 watts for quick heating
  • Real-time temperature display
  • Heat and hold at desired temperature for up to 60 minutes
  • Count-up timer makes it easy to keep track of the brewing process
  • Gooseneck spout for precise pour control
  • Brushed stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
  • Commercial UL rating
  • 1-year warranty
  • Product Dimensions: Length: 11.00″  Width: 7.00″  Height: 9.25″

Bonavita’s website and instagram.

Music and Coffee

A song and a coffee I have enjoyed this week.

Song: Ulysses by Josh Garrels



I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right
Cause I’ve been shipwrecked and left for dead and I’ve seen the darkest sights
Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night
But Oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until I find my love

Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones
But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the memories of the beauty I have known

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone
I want to hold her in my arms

[See Genius for lyric annotations]

Coffee: Columbia Nilo Martinez (Onyx Coffee Lab)

Cup/Flavor Notes: Vanilla Yogurt, Floral Honey, Honeydew, Soft

I had Nilo Martinez as a pour over and an espresso side-by-side at a coffee shop called Puritan.


Music and Coffee

A song and a coffee I have enjoyed this week.

Song: On Your Way by Alabama Shakes



On your way to God
Did you think of me?
On your way to heaven
Did you say “I’ll see you again”?

It wasn’t me, why wasn’t it me?

On your way to to the promised land, did you say
“Oh, she was such a friend”?
Then they took you higher and
I don’t know if I can follow…

It wasn’t me, why wasn’t it me?

On your way, I said to the air
I don’t know if I am strong
So I climbed to the mountain
And I don’t know what I did wrong

And it was just me, just little ole me…

This song is about Brittany Howard‘s little sister, who died of cancer at the age of 13.

Coffee: Ethiopia Guji Uraga

Notes: Raspberry, Rose Water, Black Tea, Cocoa

I actually had it iced the other day, since I just got a pour over system.


Music and Coffee

A song and a coffee I have enjoyed this week.

Song: Fantine by Penny & Sparrow


I would normally attach a youtube video, but the studio version of this song has no musical accompaniment, which is a main reason why I like the song. So here is a link to listen to the version of the song that is actually on the album ‘Struggle Pretty.’


You’ve never been weighed and then measured found wanting,
You’ve been seen, found tough, and let be.
So before I go saying you make a bad lover,
I think that I’ll let you kiss me.

I cannot in good conscience wear white if I’m honest,
My wedding dress needs to be black.
I’ve seen too much skin and the souls that live in it,
I fear I’m the bride you’ll give back.

You take and you give,
You give and you take,
It’s a simple give and take.
The cash on the dresser is money I’ve made.

I love how you told me I was pretty,
They all do.
And it makes this smile easy to fake.

I act like you walked out the day that you found out,
I only had six months to live.
But the truth of my sickness is honest, you caused it,
So I’d know you take and you give.

You take and you give,
You give and you take,
It’s a simple give and take.
I’ll grow back good if I break.

Until the day that I know I’m no better alone,
I guess this is just what it takes.

(From Penny & Sparrow’s website)

This song is a song based on a character from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Fantine. I have not read the novel, but from the song, it seems clear that Fantine is some sort of promiscuous woman/prostitute. One line catches my ear:

I’ll grow back good if I break

It reminds me of this passage from Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations:

“But you said to me,” returned Estella, very earnestly, “‘God bless you, God forgive you!’ And if you could say that to me then, you will not hesitate to say that to me now,—now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape. Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends.” (The final chapter of the novel)

Coffee: Columbia Las Magaritas Pacamara (Pour Over)


This is a coffee from Onyx that is naturally processed. It’s flavor notes: Raspberry Jam, Malted Chocolate, Lime Zest, Syrupy.