The wonderful people & places that helped make Shade Grown Coffee a reality

CastCoffee shopsCrewThanks
(In alphabetical order)


Akmel Nuri with his own coffee bags

Akmel Nuri with his own coffee bags.

Akmel Nuri

Coffee farmer, Ethiopia

We got introduced to Akmel Nuri through his relationship with Coffee Collective and were fortunate enough to travel to his wonderful coffee farm with him to see first-hand the work he is doing producing amazing organic coffee.

It’s clear how much Akmel respects nature. He continuously walks around his own farm in awe of the surrounding big trees and he has even kept a big part of his land uncultivated for nature to thrive and to give wildlife a place to “run away and hide”.

Read more about Coffee Collective’s long-standing relationship with Akmel here.

Aman Adinew in his office in Addis Ababa

Aman Adinew in his office in Addis Ababa.

Aman Adinew

CEO, METAD Agricultural Development, Ethiopia

Aman Adinew is CEO of METAD LLC & Kabu Coffee LLC in Ethiopia. After 26 years of living in the USA, he returned to his birthplace to help modernise Ethiopia’s coffee industry. Aman’s brother Tariku Adinew oversees quality control, production and logistics.

METAD works with thousands of out-growers in Hambela and Yirgacheffe. They operate the only SCAA-certified coffee quality control laboratory on the African continent in Addis Ababa.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Birds & Beans

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Birds & Beans and a lifelong birder.

Bill Wilson

Co-founder, Birds & Beans, USA

Birds & Beans was founded in the US to “revitalize the Smithsonian Bird Friendly® shade-grown organic coffee certification and bring a truly ‘good coffee’ back into the United States”.

They solely import Bird Friendly-certified coffee – organic and fairly traded – and sell it all over the country.

While Bill Wilson is a businessman, he is certainly also an environmentalist with a big heart beating for people, wildlife and nature as well as a future in which coffee plays a more positive role in the world.

Bruno Giesemann on Argovia Finca in Mexico

Bruno Giesemann on Argovia Finca in Mexico.

Bruno Giesemann

Coffee farmer, Mexico

Bruno Giesemann was the first person we interviewed for Shade Grown Coffee and Argovia Finca was where we had our first real experience at a shade grown coffee farm.

Argovia Finca is located about 50 kilometres from the border town of Tapachula in Chiapas, Mexico in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

The lush landscape is home to incredible biodiversity and it’s possible to stay at the Argovia Finca Resort to witness everything with your own eyes.

Learn more about Argovia Finca and book a stay here.

Casper Engel Rasmussen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Casper Engel Rasmussen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Casper Engel Rasmussen

Co-owner, Coffee Collective, Denmark

Casper is the roastery manager of the three founders of Coffee Collective which means that he’s spending most of his time at the roastery on Godthåbsvej in Copenhagen – where you can also spot him doing everything from cupping to packing.

When he’s not in Copenhagen, you might find him in Ethiopia, which he tries to visit twice a year to build on and deepen Coffee Collective’s relationship with Akmel and other coffee farmers in the country of wild coffee.

Read more about Coffee Collective.

Dorienne Rowan-Campbell, Jamaica

Dorienne Rowan-Campbell, Jamaica.

Ronald ‘Watchie’ Maragh and Mr. Miller

Ronald ‘Watchie’ Maragh and Mr. Miller on the farm.

Dorienne Rowan-Campbell

Coffee farmer, Jamaica

Dorienne’s coffee farm is located in the legendary Blue Mountains at a height of over 1,200 metres/4,000 feet, above Silver Hill Gap, Portland, Jamaica. In 1992, Dorienne began the farm’s revival with all organic principles and it now holds organic certificates in Canada, EU, Japan and the US.

They compost, make their own fertiliser, use garlic-based pesticide spray and have developed a system of rain-water harvesting. All coffee is picked and washed by hand and dried under the sun.

Visit Rowan’s Royale’s website here.

“A great deal of the farm is just in forest because it’s just too steep to cultivate anything on it. It would not be ecologically sound to plant on it. So we have about 3 acres where we can plant coffee and I probably got an acre and a half where the coffee is planted. It’s not planted as closely as might be recommended but it is an organic farm. It has to be sustainable. There’s a lot of other life that has to go on a farm apart from the coffee.” – Dorienne

Ronald ‘Watchie’ Maragh and Mr. Miller

Coffee workers, Jamaica

“Yeah yeah, a lot of birds. Everytime it’s clear I see a lot of birds. Old Man Witch, woodpecker, Aunty Katie, Goldfinch, Mountain Witch… You name it.” – Watchie

Douglas W. Tallamy in Nicaragua

Douglas W. Tallamy in Nicaragua.

Douglas W. Tallamy

Professor, Behavioral Ecologist, USA

We met Douglas as he was conducting field research at Jefferson’s farm in Nicaragua alongside Robert Rice. They were trying to figure out which shade trees produce the tastiest bird food (insects) – and therefore are the best trees to plant on your farm to accommodate migrating birds and local wildlife.

Doug is a Professor of Entomology in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.

On Bringing Nature Home he presents solutions to homeowners in creating more biodiversity on their own lands by choosing the right plants.

Buy Douglas’ books through our shop.

Jan-Carlo B. Handtke Magaña, coffee farmer, El Salvador

Jan-Carlo B. Handtke Magaña is a fifth-generation farmer.

Jan-Carlo B. Handtke Magaña

Coffee farmer, El Salvador

Jan-Carlo and his lovely wife Sofia run Mapache Coffee in El Salvador, which includes six coffee farms and a modern milling station.

They’re both fifth-generation coffee growers and have not only an unmistakable passion for coffee but also for creating great coffee experiences for their customers and workers as well as for nature.

Jan-Carlo was the youngest coffee farmer we interviewed for Shade Grown Coffee and it was really interesting to see and hear his perspective on being a farmer in the 21st century.

Jefferson Shriver on Gaia Estate Farm, Nicaragua

Jefferson Shriver on Gaia Estate Farm, Nicaragua.

Jefferson Shriver

Coffee farmer, Nicaragua

Jefferson’s Gaia Estate Farm in Carazo, Nicaragua is home to over 130 species of birds and more than 70 tree species. The incredible Bird Friendly certified agroforestry farm not only produces top-quality coffee but also turmeric, vanilla, fruits and vegetables.

He is enthusiastic about supporting other farms in adding diversity into their production while harmonising environmental, economic and social benefits at the same time and has worked with business leadership and rural development for more than two decades.

He lives in Granada where he also operates Gaia Café.

Richard Lipner in Boquete, Panama

Richard Lipner in Boquete, Panama.

Richard Lipner

Coffee farmer, Panama

Prior to becoming the owner of an abandoned coffee farm almost overnight, Richard had zero experience with growing coffee. But he took up the task and now runs a healthy, beautiful farm on the slopes of Volcan Barú in Boquete with his wife Dee Harris. Richard considers himself as much a roaster as a coffee farmer.

One of his main gripes with the coffee industry is the often very low wage associated with being a coffee worker; something he talks passionately about in Shade Grown Coffee.

Finca Dos Jefes’ coffee brand Cafés de la Luna is a natural-processed coffee grown in accordance with the lunar calendar.

Robert Rice on Jefferson's farm in Nicaragua

Robert Rice on Jefferson’s farm in Nicaragua.

Robert A. Rice

Research Geographer, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, USA

Robert Rice (or simply Bob) is known as the “coffee industry’s voice of the birds”. He is the director of the Bird Friendly® Coffee program at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC), part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Here he works on creating sustainable farms for coffee growers all while helping to protect essential migratory bird habitats in the tropics.

Drinking Bird Friendly® certified coffee means that you brew a more biodiverse, sustainable world.

Read more about Bird Friendly Coffee here.

Roberto Orantes in Guatemala

Roberto Orantes in Guatemala.

Roberto Orantes

Coffee farmer, Guatemala

Roberto Orantes’ coffee farm San Jose La Laguna Estate in Guatemala was the first Bird Friendly farm we experienced during the production of Shade Grown Coffee. Our time at Roberto’s farm showed us how nature can really thrive inside an agroforestry system producing a viable cash crop.

His coffee is processed in an environmentally-friendly wet mill using recycled water. The remaining pulp from processing is collected, composted, and used as a base for the organic fertilizer used on the farm.

Coffee shops

Markmandsgade 1, Copenhagen, Denmark

Markmandsgade 1, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Alice ice cream and coffee is a small shop serving up the best ice cream in the city alongside delicious baked goods and some damn good coffee from Swedish Koppi.

Quality is at the forefront of every endeavour at Alice. Make sure to visit if you ever come by Copenhagen.

Check out Alice’s Instagram.

66 Mint Plaza, SoMa, San Francisco, US

66 Mint Plaza, SoMa, San Francisco, USA.

Blue Bottle Coffee

San Francisco, USA

Blue Bottle operates a multitude of cafes in the USA, Japan and Korea and is often hailed as one of the frontrunners of the third-wave coffee movement.

We visited Blue Bottle at the secretive 66 Mint Plaza location inside the 1912 Provident Loan Association building.

Coffee Collective's flagship store in Copenhagen

Coffee Collective’s flagship store in Copenhagen.

Coffee Collective

Copenhagen, Denmark

Coffee Collective is micro roastery with four coffee shops in Copenhagen.

We filmed at the roastery and coffee shop at Godthåbsvej as well as at Jægersborggade and Torvehallerne.

Buying coffee directly from farmers is at the core of Coffee Collective’s work; something they have been doing since 2008. In 2019, they became B-corp certified.

It was at Coffee Collective that both of us tried really good specialty coffee for the first time, so it would be an understatement to say that we were head over heels to travel to Ethiopia with Casper and Lucas to meet Akmel, join a cupping session and travel to the south of the country to visit stunning shade grown farms.

Learn more at Coffee Collective’s website.

Companion Coffee, Kreuzberg, Berlin

Companion Coffee, Kreuzberg, Berlin.

Companion Coffee

Berlin, Germany

The Berlin-based company has two locations: One in Neukoelln and one in Kreuzberg, where we filmed.

Companion Coffee’s website.

Contraband Coffee, San Francisco, USA

Contraband Coffee, San Francisco, USA

Contraband Coffee

San Francisco, USA

We visited Contraband Coffee in their SoMa location, but they also have a location at Nob Hill.

Contraband sources and roasts their own coffee.

Drop Coffee, Mariatorget, Stockholm

Drop Coffee, Mariatorget, Stockholm.

Drop Coffee

Stockholm, Sweden

Drop Coffee visits every producer they’re buying coffee from and their roastery is certified organic. Visit them in their cosy coffee shop at Mariatorget where their skilled baristas serve up deliciously fresh-roasted coffees.

Drop Coffee has won several awards in both roasting, latte art, brewing and barista competitions.

Flywheel in the Haight

Flywheel in the Haight.

Flywheel Coffee Roasters

San Francisco, USA

In their own words, Flywheel Coffee Roasters is “roasting in the Haight, with love”. The coffee shop is located in the historic Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco – the birthplace of the 1960s counterculture movement.

The founder Aquiles Guerrero was born in Nicaragua on a coffee farm and has worked with coffee his whole life.

Specialty coffee from The Philippines

Specialty coffee from The Philippines.

Habitual Coffee

Manila, The Philippines

We visited Habitual Coffee in their now-closed Chino location in Makati. They have since opened in Salcedo, where they still brew specialty coffee from The Philippines.

Jewel Coffee, Claymore Connect, Singapore

Jewel Coffee, Claymore Connect, Singapore.

Jewel Coffee


Jewel Coffee is located in Singapore where they roast single origin coffees from around the world.

Shade Grown Coffee was filmed inside Claymore Connect but they operate several coffee shops in Singapore.

Oriole, Singapore

Oriole, Singapore.



Oriole is a coffee shop and bar located in Singapore serving coffee that has been roasted in-house.

Specialty coffee in Taipei, Taiwan

Specialty coffee in Taipei, Taiwan.

Paper St.

Taipei, Taiwan

Paper St. Coffee Company is located just two minutes away from the lively Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei.

They serve specialty coffee roasts with various pour-over options.

CSHH, Singapore

CSHH, Singapore.

Papa Palheta


Papa Palheta is now known as PPP Coffee. They’re a specialty coffee boutique sourcing, roasting and serving speciality coffee in Singapore and Malaysia.

We visited the coffee shop The Annex (within Chye Seng Huat Hardware).

Populus in Singapore

Populus in Singapore.



The Populus Coffee & Food Co. is a café in Singapore serving specialty coffee from 2 Degrees North Coffee Co.

Rösterei Kaffee Kirsche at  Böckhstrasse 30, Berlin

Rösterei Kaffee Kirsche at Böckhstrasse 30, Berlin.

Rösterei Kaffee Kirsche

Berlin, Germany

Rösterei Kaffee Kirsche is one of Berlin’s best coffee roasters and operates two coffee shops in Kreuzberg.

We visited the café at Böckhstrasse 30.

Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco

Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco.

Sightglass Coffee

San Francisco, USA

Sightglass sources green coffee beans directly from origin and roasts it to make some of the USA’s arguably best coffee.

We visited Sightglass in their 7th Street flagship store, home to their roastery, bi-level coffee bar and headquarters all in one.

The Coffee Academïcs at Scotts Square in Singapore

The Coffee Academïcs at Scotts Square in Singapore.

The Coffee Academïcs


The Coffee Academïcs was established in 2012 and has since become a world-renowned leading roaster of specialty coffee in Asia.

They have locations in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Thailand and The Philippines.

We visited The Coffee Academïcs at Scotts Square in Singapore.


Alexander Kinnunen - Director, Shade Grown Coffee

Alexander Kinnunen, director.

Alexander Kinnunen


Alexander is a filmmaker and the movie’s main creative decision-maker, cinematographer, sound technician and editor. He has previously been the cinematographer on “Isabelle mon amour” (2018) and made short documentaries, short films, commercials and music videos for about a decade.

“Shade Grown Coffee is my first feature-length film as a director, and I am very excited over the prospect of spreading awareness about sustainable coffee through beautiful visuals. While that’s an intriguing story by itself, the real story is that everything we do as humans has far-ranging consequences for other people and for nature. We’re all connected. It’s all connected. And once you see the beauty in that, real change is possible.”

Victoria Handskemager Wagner - Producer, Shade Grown Coffee

Victoria Handskemager Wagner, producer.

Victoria Handskemager Wagner


Victoria is the film’s producer. With a background in project management, her main job has been connecting and communicating as well as handling the film’s social media platforms. She has also actively played the role as an assisting camera (wo)man and editor and made sure Alexander stayed on track.

“Utilising shade properly has the potential to make coffee truly sustainable – both for nature and for the farmer. Yet many consumers don’t know about it. We have a choice when we purchase coffee. And as production closely follows demand, this choice can have a great effect on farming methods worldwide. If we can not only tell a great story, but also encourage consumers to ask how their coffee is grown, and prompt them to base their purchases on that, then this movie can make a difference in the world.”

Frederik Ebert

Frederik Ebert, audio post production.

Frederik Ebert

Audio post production

Frederik is a Danish film composer, sound designer and teacher.

He has composed scores for a wide variety of documentary and feature films as well as worked with music for commercials and produced modern and present sound design for podcasts.


Special thanks

Addisu Beyene
Andrea Medina
Andrey Konovalenko
Byron Corrales
Dilnesa Ayalneh
Dimitri Slukin
Fantu Bezabeh
Lukas Kragelund
Peter Dupont
Rasmus Gamrath
Rodrigo Giammattei
Solomon Teklemariam
Tariku Adinew


Beneficio El Recreo
Birds & Beans
Bird & Wild
BirdSong Coffee
Finca Argovia
Finca Dos Jefes
Gaia Estate
Kecheo Tirtera School
METAD Agricultural Development PLC
Mapache Coffee
Moplaco Trading PLC
San Jose la Laguna
Sasatorn Coffee
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
The New Black

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