Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” Tops List of the 5 Best Songs About Coffee

Sabrina Carpenter will make her Saturday Night Live debut tonight (May 18) with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

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Her caffeinated hit “Espresso” was released last month, and though it’s an instant earworm, it will likely be the summer song. Coffee-themed songs have been around for a long time, and musical artists use the jolting drink to describe romance, addiction, or, in the case of Frank Sinatra, Brazil’s coffee surplus in “The Coffee Song.”

Some other songs inspired by the bean for your playlist may include Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee,” Red Hot Chili Peppers, dancing like Iggy Pop in “Coffee Shop,” and SZA’s slow-moving affair “Percolator.”

Speaking of late-night television and coffee, it’s worth revisiting SNL’s “Domenico’s Coffee Shop” skit from 2018, featuring Adam Driver and Cecily Strong. Meanwhile, in preparation for Carpenter’s SNL appearance, here’s a list of the five best songs about coffee.

5. “Coffee & TV” by Blur

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon wrote “Coffee & TV” after quitting alcohol. The song explores a new way to escape reality by drinking coffee and burning hours watching TV. The music video features a sentient milk carton searching for a missing Coxon. “Coffee & TV” appears on Blur’s chart-topping album 13. They had already left Britpop behind them.

So give me coffee and TV, peacefully
I’ve seen so much, I’m going blind
And I’m brain-dead virtually
Sociability is hard enough for me
Take me away from this big, bad world
And agree to marry me
So we can start over again

4. “Cigarettes and Coffee” by Otis Redding

Redding’s smoky ballad uses coffee to describe a growing romance. The song features Booker T. & the M.G.’s backing Redding as he sings about a late night with his lady he hopes won’t end. Furthermore, Redding appears ready to pop the question. It’s a classic Stax recording with caffeinated nuptials on the horizon.

I would love to have another drink of coffee now
And please, darling, help me smoke this one more cigarette now
I don’t want no cream and sugar
’Cause I’ve got you, now darling

3. “Black Coffee in Bed” by Squeeze

Elvis Costello joined the British band Squeeze to sing about a notebook stain from a coffee cup. The stain represents the lingering memories of a former romantic partner. Songwriter Chris Difford said a stain on his notebook—which he’s kept in his office—inspired the lyrics. Difford and his songwriting partner Glenn Tilbrook were once hailed as the next Lennon and McCartney during the late ’70s.

There’s a stain on my notebook
Where your coffee cup was
And there’s ash in the pages
Now I’ve got myself lost

2. “Coffee” by Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan’s somber piano ballad follows the singer meeting an ex for coffee because dinner or drinks would lead back to “your place.” However, by the song’s end, the coffee date isn’t safe enough to keep the two apart. Roan’s debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess was produced by Dan Nigro—known for his work with Olivia Rodrigo.  

So let’s not do coffee, let’s not even try
It’s better we leave it and give it some time
If I didn’t love you, it would be fine
’Cause if we do coffee, it’s never just coffee
It’s never just coffee

1. “Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter

Sabrina Carpenter’s breezy hit “Espresso” uses a caffeine metaphor to describe her effect on a man who can’t sleep because he won’t stop thinking about her. Carpenter told Vogue the song is about “femininity as your superpower.” She sings in a carefree delivery over a glossy disco beat. That’s that me, espresso is this year’s most curious (and catchy) pop lyric so far.    

Now he’s thinkin’ ’bout me every night, oh
Is it that sweet? I guess so
Say you can’t sleep, baby, I know
That’s that me, espresso
Move it up, down, left, right, oh
Switch it up like Nintendo
Say you can’t sleep, baby, I know
That’s that me, espresso

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Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

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