The Passionate Harvest
a Film Project by Bruce Milletto & Ken Davids


It has been a long-held dream of both Kenneth Davids and Bruce Milletto to produce a definitive teaching tool about the origins of coffee. They began to discuss the logistics of such a project in 1997 when both were serving on the education committee of the SCAA. Davids, a noted coffee writer, is the author of Coffee: A Guide to Brewing, Buying & Enjoying, Espresso: Ultimate Coffee and Home Coffee Roasting. Milletto is the owner of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup, producer of specialty coffee training materials, most notably the start-up/operational manual Bean Business Basics, and the video-training tools "Espresso 101," "Spilling the Beans" and the "Art of Coffee."

Although leaders in the specialty coffee industry have spent a good deal of time in producing countries, most of their employees have not. Davids’ and Milletto’s idea is to give viewers of their video a detailed look at the inner workings of the diverse processes involved in coffee production, emphasizing the enormous amount of effort and care required to produce quality coffee, and highlighting some of the issues and decision points that affect final cup quality and character.

It became clear to Davids and Milletto that to properly portray the complexity of coffee production they would need to travel to a range of coffee-producing countries and film the many different cultivation and production practices in use worldwide. Showing planting, growing and processing in only one country would not be enough to illuminate the whole picture. In 1999, Davids, Milletto and crew intend to make film stops in Guatemala, Kona, and at least one additional location in South America and one in Africa or the Asia/Pacific region. All of the major processing methods will be covered, and controversial issues, like sun vs. shade and new hybrid arabica varieties vs. traditional varieties, will be covered in an open-ended, balanced fashion.

The first stop in shooting The Passionate Harvest was Guatemala this past February. The photos you see in this issue’s Virtual Gallery catalog this leg of the journey. The working staff included Davids as writer and on-camera narrator; Milletto as director and co-producer; Bob Ogle as co-producer, lighting and sound engineer; Andy Pratt as director of photography and camera man; and, finally, Chuck Jones as Best Boy and in-country advisor.

With generous assistance from ANACAFE, as well as from Chuck Jones’s Guided Coffee Discoveries and individual coffee producers, the crew filmed from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, visiting a range of coffee mills, fincas and cooperatives.

Our thanks to Fresh Cup Magazine for allowing us to reprint this report.

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