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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Quality is at the forefront of every endeavour at Alice. Make sure to visit if you ever come by Copenhagen.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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
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 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
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.”
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.
Beneficio El Recreo
Birds & Beans
Birds & Wild
Finca Dos Jefes
Kecheo Tirtera School
METAD Agricultural Development PLC
Moplaco Trading PLC
San Jose la Laguna
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
The New Black