In conjunction with the 20-minute Wax & Gold produced in partnership by Farm League, Stumptown Coffee is releasing a special offering benefiting a music school in Ethiopia.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Stumptown Coffee
Ethiopia is among the most beloved coffee origins—not just the country where coffee is said to have originated, but also the producer of some of the world’s most delicious specialty coffees.
This spectacular setting provides the backdrop for the new short film Wax & Gold, produced by Portland, Ore.-based Stumptown Coffee in partnership with California-based film company Farm League. In a press release, Stumptown describes the film—which is directed by Britton Caillouette of Farm League—as “a visual poem evoking a nuanced narrative portrait of this incredible place. Putting form to tension between history and contemporary life, the film relies on strong, timeless imagery, layered sound design, and driving music to create an immersive experience.”
Mallory Pilcher, Stumptown’s head of brand, accompanied the crew to Ethiopia for the shoot; she said the group was intentional in choosing which locations to include in the film. “We were interested in showcasing the diverse landscape of Ethiopia, from the Danakil Reserve to the 12th century rock churches of Lalibela to the intersection of commerce in Harar,” she says. “Each of these locations has a history pointing to our own humanity and shared traditions. Coffee is at the center of every location, of almost every experience we encountered.”
Also included in the film is Haile Gebre of Ethiopia’s Mordecofe, who has been growing coffee since the 1950s and is regarded by Stumptown as a legend in specialty coffee. “The man has had such an impact on Ethiopian coffee, from forming coffee clubs to building washing stations and mobilizing cooperatives, not to mention his family’s continuing contribution to specialty coffee,” says Mallory. “Haile has always been this larger-than-life Coffee Boss, and we’ve longed to spend more time with him on film, hearing his story.”
To mark the release of Wax & Gold, Stumptown is releasing both a whole-bean and cold-brew offering of Haile Gebre’s Mordecofe coffee. Proceeds from this coffee will support Mulatu Astatke’s Jazz School in Addis Ababa, which works to uphold and evolve the traditions of Ethio-jazz through traditional Ethiopian instrumentation.
While the film had its premiere last weekend, it will soon be followed by additional screenings and a YouTube release. “We’ll be posting the film on our YouTube channel after the L.A. premiere, with more screenings to come in Portland, New York, France, Amsterdam, Addis Ababa and beyond,” says Mallory. “Stay tuned.”
Check out the trailer for Wax & Gold here. And to tide you over until the release of the full film, you can watch Flower of Flowers, the first film collaboration between Stumptown and Farm League exploring the impact of climate change on coffee farmers in Guatemala, here.