Showing posts with label coffee documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee documentary. Show all posts

Monday, June 29, 2009

From the Ground Up

Recently had the chance to check out the documentary From the Ground Up, a coffee documentary that does exactly what the title says; takes the viewer on a journey from cherry to peddled beverage.

As coffee documentaries go, it was decent. It had great footage of coffee picking, the wet process, drying, sorting, bagging, exporting and importing. If you've never seen it done, I imagine it would be somewhat confusing as much of the film had no narration and thus, one unfamiliar with what was going down could get lost. But even if you didn't know the lingo, the film made it all pretty easy to follow. Also, the film really makes one aware of the hard work the farmers go through for so little and thus indirectly pushes better conditions (the film is also directly dedicated for more than fair trade).

The only stabbing annoyance in the film stemmed from the soundtrack, which consisted of a singular old-timey song called the Java Jive (here it is performed by the Manhattan Transfer) played in spurts throughout the whole film. If you're one easily annoyed by such a song beaten to death, I would recommend putting the film on mute unless you see someone talking.

Overall, grab From the Ground Up if you're curious to how coffee gets to your local purveyor or you really wish to raise your awareness on what people go through so you can enjoy your morning cup.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Coffee Culture USA: A Documentary

I recently was sent the documentary Coffee Culture USA, what looked like an insightful look into the coffee culture, and so I hunkered down recently to see what they had constructed.

On the positive side, the film really captured a lot of small coffee-based businesses across the US, several of them with some very noble motives (to support positive teen interactions, keeping the family legacy alive, etc). Overall, the film seemed to accurately portray the commonly construed coffee culture of the US. And that dovetails right into why I didn't like the film.

The shared theme throughout the whole film seemed to be that people largely get into the coffee business for all kinds of reasons EXCEPT to serve amazing coffee (one coffeehouse actually went into business to lure people in using a cooperative bail bond business!). Sure the film also featured a (seemingly) bona fide Kona company as well as some pretty interesting thoughts from Alfred Peet, but everything else seemed to shove the coffee quite far from the point of the culture. Don't get me wrong, there can be other motives to starting/running a coffeehouse but you have to also serve a quality product (Alfred actually made a similar remark somewhere in the middle).

I gotta say this film made me sad. Maybe it's because the film captured a lot of what bothers me with the coffee world. Maybe it's also because it actually does somewhat accurately reflect the sad current state of the US coffee culture. Whatever the reason, I still stick to my hope that a lot of these troubling facets of the coffee culture will soon shape up.

Thus, check out Coffee Culture USA if you're looking for a taste of the current state of affairs in the coffeehouse realm. But if you're one deeply enamored with quality coffee and you're easily depressed
, you might want to hold off.