For some people, coffee is just a way to kickstart the day. For others, it’s a way of life. Whether they’re baristas, farmers, or just serious coffee enthusiasts, there’s a story to be discovered – and what better way to explore it than on film.
We’ve rounded up these ten documentary movies about coffee that will help you learn about your cup of joe.
1. Barista (2015)
This documentary, directed by Rock Baijnauth, follows five baristas preparing for the prestigious National Barista Championship. This is a must-watch for aspiring baristas interested in the technical side of coffee making, showing just what goes into making the perfect cup of coffee. But in the end, what stays with you is the passion and dedication to the craft of everyone involved.
2. Baristas (2019)
Following the success of his original documentary, director Rock Baijnauth again explores the world of competitive coffee making with this 2019 sequel. This time, it’s on a global scale, leading to the World Barista Championship in Seoul. We see how baristas from the US, Japan, Germany, and Ireland bring their unique approach to the challenge through his lens.
3. AeroPress Movie (2018)
Perhaps more than any other coffee maker, the AeroPress has attracted a dedicated and passionate fanbase. If you’re among them, this documentary by Radek Nozicka is for you. It traces the AeroPress from the initial concept by Alan Adler to its rise as a famous brewer and uses in barista competitions worldwide.
4. A Film About Coffee (2014)
In his directorial debut, Brandon Loper seeks to answer the question – what makes specialty coffee so special? He travels to the washing stations of Rwanda, farms of Honduras, and cafes in Japan and the US, exploring the part that coffee plays in people’s lives. It’s not a deep dive into any aspect of coffee but rather a beautifully filmed snapshot of the journey from bean to cup.
5. Coffee Heroes (2020)
This film by Jeff Hann also looks at the World Barista Championships, but this time from a particular angle. Agnieszka Rojewska is the first Polish competitor in 18-year history and is on a mission to become the first female winner. It’s as much about the journey as it is about the special bond she develops with her coach and mentor, Sasa Sestic, a former champion and documentary star in his own right.
6. Shade Grown Coffee (2020)
Many brands proudly attach the shade-grown label to their coffee, but how much do you know about this certification? Director Alexander Kinnunen explores the positive impact of growing coffee under shade canopies – from the immediate benefit for wildlife to longer-term positives for local communities and even the quality of the end product.
7. Black Gold (2006)
There are so many things to love about coffee, but it’s essential not to overlook the dark side of our favorite drink. People consume more than two billion cups of coffee every day, yet so many of the farmers involved don’t make a sustainable income. Director Marc James Francis follows businessman Tadesse Meskelas as he attempts to secure fairer prices for 70,000 Ethiopian coffee growers.
8. The Coffee Man (2016)
If you enjoyed Coffee Heroes, take a step back and see where it all began. Before he was a mentor and coach, barista Sasa Sestic was on his mission to take out the World Barista Championship. The film follows Sasa’s journey and the journey of coffee itself from its origin in Ethiopia. Directed by Jeff Hann, The Coffee Man was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2017.
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9. Caffeinated (2015)
From planting and harvesting to processing and selling and the final steps to end up in your cup, the story of each coffee is long and involved. This film by Hanh Nguyen and Vishal Solanki has interviews with people at each stage of coffee production who share how this bean has impacted their life.
10. Into the Coffee (2017)
Most of the films on this list take a look at the bigger picture, but this short film is a more intimate view of the world of coffee. Barista Della Mifti shares her thoughts on why she’s passionate about her job and what it means to work in a male-dominated field as she goes through the steps of opening her coffee shop for the day.
If you’re an aspiring barista with plans for a cafe of your own, get some inspiration from these cool coffee shop names. After all this information, you’ll probably need some light relief. Check out these hilarious coffee memes and funny coffee puns.
Did you enjoy this article? Are you inspired to break out the popcorn and settle in on the sofa?
Let us know if you’ve seen any of these movies about coffee and what you’d rate it. Or if there’s a must-see coffee documentary that we’ve missed from our list.