At the Fair Trade Federation conference last month, I got to attend the world premiere of the documentary Connected by Coffee. This full-length film, produced by Stone Hut Studios, lays out the basics of the fair trade coffee industry and visits four different coffee growers across Central America to show how they are working together cooperatively and creating social change in their communities. Check out the trailer below:
I found the film to be beautifully shot, emotionally affecting, and clear and easy to understand. In addition to showing the fair trade co-op system, the film addresses the plague of coffee rust, a fungus that destroyed 50-70% of the coffee crop in Central America in 2013 and continues to decimate growers’ livelihoods. It was moving to see the commitment of the fair trade coffee importers in the film to helping co-ops find solutions to overcome this huge obstacle.
The film also contributed to me personally getting “connected to coffee.” I had never been a coffee drinker—I liked coffee flavor in desserts, but I’d never sipped on an actual cup o’ joe. Before the premiere there was a reception at Global Gifts (my favorite fair trade store) and they were serving a coffee cocktail inspired by the documentary. As it was a week of trying new things, I figured I’d give it a try, and it was delicious.
The weekend after the conference I was at a swing dancing event where I needed to stay awake and fairly alert until 4am a couple nights in a row. Looking back on my good experience with the coffee cocktail, on a whim I ordered my first cup of straight-up coffee, and by George it did the trick! Coffee kept me fueled the entire weekend… now I see why people drink this stuff! I haven’t made it a daily habit since I want to avoid a caffeine addiction, but the fact that I can now drink coffee and understand why people love it will make it easier for me to share with people why fair trade coffee is so important.
I made sure to hang on to the coffee cocktail recipe to share with you:
Café de Naranja Picante
A sweet and spicy coffee cocktail with a citrus twist
- 1 1/2 oz. Spiced rum
- 1 oz. Fair trade coffee, prepared and chilled
- 1/2 oz. Heavy cream
- 1/2 oz. Triple sec
- 1/4 oz. Agave nectar
- A dash of red pepper to taste
Shake all ingredients together and pour over ice. Top with whipped cream and an orange twist.
If you’d like to see Connected by Coffee, the filmmakers are offering a free online screening all day on World Fair Trade Day, May 10. On the film’s website you can also order a DVD copy or see if there is a screening event scheduled near you.
Are you a coffee addict? What’s your favorite coffee drink?