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Gastronomy > Documentary

From the Ground Up: The Definitive Scoop on the Coffee Trade

by Su Friedrich

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From the Ground Up: The Definitive Scoop on the Coffee Trade


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DVD Price $168

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With few words and no polemics, From the Ground Up shows how an ordinary cup of coffee occupies center stage in the world economy. Traveling with the filmmaker from Guatemala to South Carolina to New York City and seeing each phase of coffee production unfold—the growing, picking, processing, distribution, brewing and selling—one comes to understand that most products we use have passed through the hands, and lives, of countless people in numerous countries.

From the Ground Up uses minimal narration and text because it primarily asks the viewer to observe and contemplate the chain of production, from a hillside in Guatemala covered with hundreds of coffee seedlings to a pushcart in Manhattan serving coffee to the early morning workers. And once in a while, bits of the song “Java Jive” underlie the image, with phrases often being repeated to mimic the relentless and monotonous nature of most coffee production work and to underscore the fact that this “lovable” product comes at a price for the people who make it available to us.

As the world’s second most-traded commodity after oil, it’s all about the coffee, and about everything else we consume, consume, consume….

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