With all the weird coffee movies and TV shows out there, I’m always skeptical when someone tells me they’re working on a new one; so far I don’t think anyone’s gotten it really right. But I’ve been really excited this summer to learn about a few projects in the works—films, TV, and internet stuff—that I’m totally optimistic about.
I’m so not a filmmaker—I don’t know what makes these things fly true or not, but I can speak from my heart, and here’s how it seems to me: you can’t have a damn script—that seems the most obvious. If you go into a documentary thinking you know how it’s all gonna go, then you might as well not even try; I don’t want to hear your story; I want to hear the coffee’s story, and the people behind the coffee’s story. So if you start with an agenda, I’m not even going to come.
Second, you have to understand how quickly our industry changes; people jump from company to company every day; there’s a new favorite origin, region, farm, producer every other second. If you try to encapsulate the whole thing—the history and present and future of coffee, and all the so-called important players (another totally subjective thing)—in one movie, you’re going to fail.
Third: you have to have an engaging storyteller: whether that person is unseen or whether he/she is physically taking the viewer on a journey, I have to like them to watch them.
I like Brandon Davenport—I like him a lot. Now, we’ve never really hung out, well, not in person. But I’ve tagged along for his coffee road-trip, and I can tell you he’s one fun dude to chill with. I like the idea behind the web series Brandon—coffee specialist for the super popular Pancake Epidemic in Los Angeles—and his filmmaker friend, Jesse Meeker, have created called “Caffeination”: it’s not overly complicated or full-of-itself. It’s just Brandon and Jesse on a two-week road trip to visit and experience some of the best cafes and roasteries working on a microlevel in the Western and Central United States right now. Along the way, Brandon will drink 100 cups of coffee—good stuff, crappy gas station stuff, and a lot of Stumptown cold brew behind the wheel.
Here’s the short introduction to what the series is all about:
Brandon knows quality coffee, but he never talks down to the viewer. That’s why I like him—he’s fun and humble and willing to learn. And that’s why this series, which is comprised of eight episodes airing weekly HERE, which began on Monday with the episode about Brandon’s adventures in San Francisco, will appeal as much to seasoned coffee professionals as it will to newbies and enthusiasts.
Give it up for Jesse Meeker, too, whose spirited and downright adorable style of keeping the action moving at a quick clip (while at the same time never making me feel like I’m missing stuff and have to rewind) balances with simply gorgeous shots that capture the beauty and authenticity of the interviewees, the locations, and Brandon himself. The music is killer, too.
It’s a fun way to see these locations live, to hear the voices and laughter of cafe ownersm baristas, and roasters enjoying their own coffee community. It’ll make you want to visit them.
I’m totally hooked on Caffeination—I think you’ll dig it, too.