Take a Drink: for each new country visited
Take a Drink: whenever somebody waxes poetic about cafe
Take a Drink: whenever you really want a cup of coffee
Okay, Take a Coffee, and Maybe Irish It Up a Bit: for our most beautiful of addictions
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
In Peace Corps training in Peru, a trainer told me way earlier than was logical that my site assignment was to a coffee-growing town in the mountains of Arequipa, Peru. After I stopped jumping for joy, he, a bit mortified at the reaction his joke had gotten, informed me that coffee doesn’t grow over 10,000 feet.
Turns out, not much but potatoes do
I’ve been a very obvious coffee fanatic every since first mainlining everyone’s favorite wakeup drug in high school, but I’ve never known all the work that goes into brewing that perfect cup. Caffeinated has that covered, tracing coffee’s journey from arabica or robusta bush to the cup in your hands.
Caffeinated tries to tackle the entire subject of coffee in 80 minutes, tracing its history, reemergence as a gourmet product with its own particular jargon and rituals, and worldwide cultural footprint. However, it’s strongest when it’s simply showing how much hard work and how many people are involved in its journey from field to table. I learned all kinds of cool facts.
Did you know coffee is a cherry, and then basically a peanut?
The second aim of the documentary is social, as the second half shifts focus to the lives of coffee farmers, and their economic travails, which are lessening as gourmet, single-grower or regional blends surge in popularity, but which are still very much present. Caffeinated presents a strong argument for consumer activism- that extra dime or dollar really does matter.
Some of what Caffeinated shows and tells of the lives of coffee producers, like how they often can only afford to send one child to school, or images of people painstakingly sorting bean by bean or trudging through them to sift them as they dry in the hot sun, begs the question of whether we’re doing enough.
When I point this finger, I’m also pointing it at myself from my Peace Corps days, but scenes of white people (it’s always white people) “motivating” farmers by describing how their “calidad” (quality) is important to the enormously privileged customers sipping their coffee a world away smacks as tone deaf. The blank nodding of the farmer in that scene (and others mixing the two worlds) is immensely recognizable to me. He doesn’t really give a shit about the suburban mom quaffing his coffee. After all, he can’t even afford to drink the stuff himself.
On a happier note, I wish they’d talked about kopi luwak.
Best coffee I’ve ever drank, seriously. Two more things: the little bit of slo-mo is a bad call. This isn’t an ASPCA commercial. Also, Danny Glover? (Not that every movie couldn’t use a dash of Danny Glover.)
If you drink coffee at all, you should watch this- for entertainment and education.