• 07.12.13

Stream These Coffee Shop Sounds To Boost Your Creativity

Working in a louder environment than your hush-hush office will get you more interesting ideas. But if you’re tied to your desk, maybe you can bring the creative environment to your headphones.

There’s a reason that so many telecommuters choose to work in coffee shops instead of their living rooms: working in moderately loud environments where noise levels reach approximately 70 decibels (like coffee shops) breeds creativity, according to research that we first wrote about last year. A new website called Coffitivity reproduces those ambient sounds for all the office and home workers who can’t make it to a real coffee shop.


The site doesn’t just provide noise; it also creates community, streaming a Twitter feed of everyone who posts with the hashtag #sounds4work. Judging by the past 20 or so Tweets, (sample: “Preparing for a lunchtime presentation with @coffitivity!”), people are actually using the site while they work.

Coffitivity founder ACe Callwood recently told the Atlantic Cities that the site’s biggest market is Seoul, South Korea–and in fact, it’s generally more popular in Asia than other locations. Callwood explained:

We think a part of our success has to do with our graphics, which are simple and allow the site to connect with many cultures irrespective of the language of our copy. Along with that, when Korean and Japanese traffic started pouring in, we did a little digging and found that there is a huge coffee culture in both Japan and Korea. At the end of the day, we did a couple of things right (albeit unintentionally) and found a really good fit.

Coffitivity gets all sorts of customization requests: users in American cities request the sounds of Italian and French cafes, Australian users ask for native accents, and Koreans request sounds in their native language. The site’s next step is building that extra layer of customization–though we’d guess that the ambient noise creativity boost happens no matter what language or accent the noise is in. Coffitivity is also working on an iOS app.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.