These five scenes showcase a deeper side of coffee in movies and TV shows.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Coffee has always been a part of movies and television in many ways. Often, it has served as a mere backdrop to connect people. Take for example, Heat’s famous diner scene, in which Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share their first and only conversation, barely touching their cups of coffee. Many times, however, it has helped personalize a character, like Twin Peaks’ Agent Cooper and his inseparable mug. At other times, a coffee shop serves as a central location of a scene, like the fictional Central Perk in Friends.
Recently, movies and TV shows have become influenced by the specialty-coffee scene, occasionally featuring professional coffee tools, trendy drinks and even trendier coffee shops. Let’s take a look at five scenes that make true coffee geeks feel right at home.
The Matrix Resurrections’ Simulatte Café: The Third-Wave Coffee Shop
2021 was the year in which the fourth installment of The Matrix was released—more than two decades after the first. Set between present and future, between game and reality, for the first time in the whole franchise, the Matrix Resurrections shows scenes of a “normal” everyday reality.
Tiffany/Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, walks into a café called The Simulatte, which looks like your expected third-wave coffee shop. A fast camera shot shows all the features so familiar to customers from all over the world: a manual espresso machine, a barista caricature, colorful cups, even a special coffee order (cortado, anyone?). Thomas Anderson/Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, offers to pay for her coffee and they sit together, chit-chatting as if it were real life. Do they already know each other? Do they share a story? Will there be a future for them?
Only more scenes in the café—and a huge fight—will tell us the rest.
Billions Season 6 Episode 4: The Fancy Coffee Connoisseur
Billions is a drama series set in New York’s world of high finance, showcasing an array of powerful and wealthy characters. Introduced as the rival to one of the main characters, Mike Prince, played by Corey Stoll, is a billionaire with fancy taste in food, and obviously in coffee.
In the fourth episode of the sixth season, Mike offers U.S. assistant attorney Kate Sacker, played by Condola Rashad, an Elida Gesha coffee made with a Chemex. The coffee, one of the top-quality offerings in the world, is produced in Panama by the Lamastus Family Estates, and its price is set at around $100 per 18 grams.
Something tells us that Mike is perhaps trying to bribe the assistant attorney …
Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 6: The Scientific Approach to Coffee
Breaking Bad is one of the most successful American series of this century. It follows the journey of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who began to produce meth to cover his medical bills when he discovered he had cancer.
Over five seasons, we see Walter shifting from being an underdog to becoming a real evil kingpin, but never losing his scientific approach to life. Gale Boetticher, scientist and antagonist of Walter, is the man behind the astonishing coffee machine featured in the sixth episode of the third season. Maybe it’s not easily replicable in the real world, but for sure it can produce a really good cup of coffee. At least according to Walter, who can’t help but exclaim, “That’s the best coffee I have ever tasted!”
One of the most acclaimed anime productions of the last decade, Tokyo Ghoul is in a way a classic horror story. Ken Kaneki, an average college student, suddenly turns into a flesh-eating monster.
Not being the only monster in town, he soon discovers that not all ghouls are evil. At least a fraction of pacifist ghouls exist—ghouls who try to not harm humans, surviving off scavenged corpses instead. This group’s meeting point is a coffee shop called Anteiku. Here, the basement stores human meat, while the ground floor is a real café, where humans, usually unaware of what’s going on downstairs, can sip coffee extracted in a real brew bar, which features aesthetic ceramic drippers and much more.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 6 Episode 7: The Effects of Too Much Cold Brew
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is something quite unique in the modern world of television: a comedy show set in a police station, something that hasn’t happened since the ‘70s.
Across eight seasons the series, which follows the adventures of Detective Jake Peralta and his colleagues, is mostly set within the fictional NYPD’s 99th Precinct.
It’s in the seventh episode of the sixth season that Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg, stars in this funny scene that shows us the side effects of summer’s favorite coffee. Jake and a couple of other police officers, over-caffeinated by too many cups of cold brew, start experiencing some weird side effects. The whole world suddenly seems to slow down, but that’s actually not true. It’s the three of them, high on coffee, who start to speed up. It’s a friendly reminder that coffee is good … but that maybe it should not be abused!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.