Coffee documentaries are a great way to learn more about the amazing world of coffee. From barista competitions to fair trade coffee, there is a wide world of documentaries that focus on specialty coffee. Below is a selection of my favorites that can all be streamed right now on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or iTunes.
Barista follows five baristas as they prepare for the annual National Barista Championship. It’s funny, well produced, and gives a great view into the world of barista competitions.
I love making and drinking coffee, but the time and effort these baristas put towards their craft put me to shame. Pulling the perfect shot and putting on the perfect performance becomes an obsession for each of them.
This film gives a great view into a niche area of coffee culture and does a great job to get you to root for the quirky, loveable baristas trying to win it all.
Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes
Connected by Coffee
Connected By Coffee focuses more on the social justice side of coffee vs. the actual production and roasting. The film follows two coffee roasters on a 1,000-mile journey across Central America from Mexico to Nicaragua. The roasters stop at four co-ops they partner with and buy coffee from. The film focuses on the fair trade movement and how purchasing directly from co-ops and small farms has a huge impact on these impoverished communities.
One of the things I love about coffee is that it is so much more than a delicious beverage. The story of where coffee comes from, who grew it, and how it ended up on your kitchen counter is so much more complex than many of us would imagine. This film does a great job of bringing to light a section of that story that is many times forgotten and helps us, as consumers, remember there are other important aspects to consider when purchasing coffee besides taste.
Available on: iTunes
A Film About Coffee
A Film About Coffee follows coffee throughout its entire process, from its production in Honduras and harvest in Rwanda to its enjoyment around the world. The filmmakers interview farmers, buyers, roasters, and baristas to discuss coffee and its impact in the world.
If you are going to watch one coffee documentary, this is the one I’d recommend. It does a great job of exploring the world of specialty coffee from farm to brew in an engaging way that will leave you wanting to know more about the amazing and complex world of specialty coffee.
Available on: iTunes
Caffeinated tells the “story behind your morning Joe.” The film touches on the entire process coffee follows, from the coffee farm to your cup. Like A Film About Coffee, Caffeinated does a nice job giving the viewer a peek into the entire coffee process. The filmmakers interview people across the world, from farmers to importers to baristas, and discuss a wide range of topics related to coffee—from Italian espresso to barista competitions to the social impact of direct trade.
This is a great summary film for diving into the world of specialty coffee, as well. While A Film About Coffee feels as if its intended audience is people already somewhat familiar with specialty coffee, Caffeinated seems to broaden its audience a bit to people not as familiar with this side of the coffee universe. They do a nice job highlighting key components of the coffee world without assuming you are familiar with anything to do with specialty coffee. I also appreciated the attention they gave to the actual roasters. Roasting the coffee is such an important part of the process, and most of the other documentaries completely leave out the craft of roasting good coffee.
Available on: iTunes
A Story of Coffee
This is another comprehensive documentary that follows coffee from its origins in Ethiopia to coffeehouses today. It touches on everything from coffee styles, roasts, and caffeine content to how to make a quality coffee at home.
This film is next on my list to watch. I’m hoping it dives into more of the technical aspects of coffee and coffee making to help differentiate it from the films above.
Available on: Amazon Prime
There are lots of coffee-related documentaries out there that tell different stories about coffee and its journey to our cups in the morning. If you have others you like, be sure to share them.