Electro-acoustic cafe is a sound installation consisting of a fully-functioning
espresso bar. It allows you to listen to the sound of your coffee being made, before
you drink it. The project is the brainchild of James Brewster, a former 'normal' barista
who got bored at work.
The sound vibrations from the entire coffee-making process are picked up by
contact microphones. These are attached to different parts inside the espresso
machine - the drip tray, the boiler, the pump, the water tank, etc. There are also
contact microphones attached to the coffee grinder and milk frothing jug.
The resulting sounds are then amplified, subjected to subtle digital processing and
sent out through a speaker system. All of this happens in real time, as your coffee
is being made. There are no triggers, loops or samples. So the whole process is
experienced 'live'. This is why each individual cup sounds subtly different.
EAC has appeared at many international festivals and venues including CTM Berlin, Sound Reasons New Delhi, Exit 07 Luxembourg, Latitude UK (BBC stage), Music Tech Fest KTH Stockholm and Euphonic in Sant Carles de la Rŕpita, Spain. It has also been
featured on Swedish national television SVT:1, Radio P2 and the front page of
Sydsvenskan, as well as getting international media attention - including BBC
Radio 3 and Danish national radio.
The Electro-acoustic café is available for bookings worldwide. Brewster travels with his own espresso machine in a custom-made flight case, and also brings with him a portable water tank as well as all other necessary coffee equipment and electronics. Thus the entire installation can easily be set up in any location, either indoors or outdoors. It has previously been done on rafts as well as out in remote locations such as tiny sea islands.