BARISTA the movie debuts this week – opens Friday, Nov. 6!

Opening this Friday, Nov. 6,  at select theaters and on iTunes and VOD, it’s BARISTA a new movie that delivers an intimate and interesting look behind the scenes in the run up to the 2013 United States Barista Championship.

BARISTA the movie
Eden Marie Abramowicz is one of the baristas featured in the documentary BARISTA opening Nov. 6. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

At Barista Magazine, we were lucky enough to catch an early screening of BARISTA, and I have to say it’s a very well done movie. Sure, those of us who have been around barista competitions for years now might quibble with some parts of the film, but as a primer to the uninitiated, it’s a wonderful look at the lives of barista competitors, their dedication to their craft, their passion for the world of coffee, and the sometimes incredible turns of fate and fortune that a successful run to the United States Barista Championship crown can take.

If you have a chance, it’s definitely worth watching. And if you have friends and family who’ve never had the opportunity to see firsthand the work that goes into a competition, both before and during the performance, BARISTA trains a well crafted spotlight on the world of barista competitions. The filmmakers of BARISTA  follow five competitors, Charlie Habegger, Charles Babinkski, Eden Maire Abramowicz, Ryan Redden, and Truman Severson, as they prepare for the 2013 Western Regional Barista Competition, in route to reaching the USBC, held in Boston that year, to try to win the national championship.

BARISTA the movie
One of the most beloved multi-time barista competitors (and 2015 USBC champion), Charles Babinksi brings viewers into his competition prep in BARISTA. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)

Filmmaker Rock Baijnauth, who directed BARISTA, described his approach to the project as:

BARISTA was filmed over two years, out of a desire to bring audiences a taste of coffee that they’ve never had before. Filming took place everywhere form underground competition venues in downtown Los Angeles to the bright lights of the national stage in Boston. It started with us wanting a wanting to make a love letter to coffee, a drink that everyone in the crew is obsessed with or at least thought we were obsessed with until we met the guys and girls who devote their lives to this beverage and these competitions. Seeing these people train and compete, not only taught us how little we actually knew about coffee, but truly it taught us how little we knew about perfection. We had never intended to film and follow the competition circuit, we wanted to make the œJiro  version of this coffee movie. It just so happened a regional competition was happening the week we decided to start the project. It was in Santa Cruz about six hours away from, Los Angeles, where we were based. We scrambled that week to get our production in order. Boy, did we scramble. At the end of that hard, six-hour drive (I got a speeding ticket) we embarked on a world that we had no idea even existed. It was so rich and populated with characters you couldn’t write. How could this not be the story we focused on? How could this not be the movie?

UPDATE: Here’s an exclusive clip from the film provided to Barista Magazine by the filmmakers. It gives you a pretty good feel for the movie:

It’s definitely great to see the passion, dedication and craft that goes into barista competitions getting such a respectful treatment from the filmmakers. And hopefully the release of BARISTA will allow more people to get a look at how amazing the world of specialty coffee, and the people who make it, is.

About Ken 262 Articles
Kenneth R. Olson (he/him) is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Washington Huskies, and public libraries.