The sequel to Barista, the documentary following coffee competitors, the new movie chronicles the journey of four national champions as they vie for the 2017 World Barista Championship title in Seoul, South Korea.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Rock Baijnauth
If you’re a coffee professional, you’ve probably seen Barista, the documentary following four U.S. coffee competitors during the 2013 barista competition season. Perhaps you were looking for your friends in the audience, or maybe you were fast-forwarding and rewinding to see if there’s a glimpse of you working the BGA bar or walking across the Expo floor.
Now, the folks behind the Barista documentary are expanding their scope with Baristas, a sort of non-sequential sequel to the first movie—you don’t need to watch the first to understand this movie, although it does feel like a follow-up to the 2015 movie that focused on national competitors. The film debuted on April 2.
“Baristas follows four passionate National Barista Champions from the United States (Kyle Ramage), Ireland (Niall Wynn), Germany (Chloe J. Nattrass), and Japan (Miki Suzuki) as they represent their countries and their craft in an attempt to win the World Barista Championship in Seoul, South Korea,” the film synopsis reads. “The film places particular emphasis on the Japanese champion, Miki Suzuki, as she attempts to become the first female World Barista Champion in history.”
The film is the project of Rock Baijnauth, who hopes to bring the world of coffee competitions to a mainstream audience. Rock’s depiction of coffee competitions is both light and serious—there are comical moments in the documentary that are juxtaposed with wide-screen moments that remind you just how high-stakes this competition is for many of its participants. It’s silly, beautiful, and informative all at the same time.
“There’s much less talking head interviews in this one than there was in the first film,” Rock says. “We just wanted to film the baristas in their countries at various stages of preparation and just let the action unfold with natural beauty behind them. Everything about this film is much grander, from the locations to stakes of the competition. There is a visual poetry to this film that the first one just didn’t have. We traveled to five countries to make this film, whereas the first film was shot primarily in Los Angeles. I just love the scale of it. It’s the most visually enrapturing thing we’ve done to date.”
Although both movies followed coffee competitors, the fact that the sequel follows national champions changes the tone significantly. “So everyone competing this time was already a champion in their country, and I thought that made the competition element that much more engaging to watch,” says Rock. “Everyone in the film isn’t just competing for themselves or their shop. They are competing for their country. There’s a sense of national pride that all the competitors carry with them as they embark on this journey; it weaves its way into every frame of the film and makes for something really stirring.”