A short look into the world of speciality coffee.
We are taken on a journey starting with a farmer picking a bean and processing it, right through to the finished product sitting in some hipster’s mug in Portland. That’s what Loper does best with this film; the many steps involved in making a single cup end-to-end are deftly outlined. The sheer scope of such an operation is astonishing.
However beyond that A Film About Coffee doesn’t really achieve much. There’s footage of pretentious people doing pretentious things, it’s largely insufferable even for a ‘speciality coffee’ person such as myself. No one wants to hear the word ‘mouthfeel’ said out loud.
Frustratingly, there’s lots of talk about procedure yet very little action. “Oh this guy is the best in the world and doesn’t pour a single coffee without it being perfect.” Why can’t we see him at work then? There’s one sustained shot of a Japanese gent making a cup, but that aside, everything is just abstract footage of people doing ‘coffee stuff’.
Perhaps the goal here was to raise awareness of the importance of direct trade with producers. Do people really not know about this already? They buy from Starbucks because they don’t care. It’s quick and predictable. Even if it were through a lack of education, is this really the place to be evangelising? It’s the definition of preaching to the choir.
Some nice sound design work and fancy visuals don’t save this from being a wasted opportunity. A bore even for the most ardent coffee lovers.