It's Bean Too Hot
Can you imagine our world without coffee? It’s a very real possibility. It’s Bean Too Hot tells the story of the coffee heroes – small farmers in Costa Rica and Tanzania who are fighting climate change every day to save their livelihoods and your daily cup of coffee.
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Climate change is affecting coffee production worldwide. Wild species of coffee as well as the cultivated Arabica coffee are showing sensitivity to changes in temperature, rainfall, pests and disease. Experts predict that the land suitable for Arabica coffee could decrease to 50% by 2050.
This is a story told by those who are feeling climate change the most. It is estimated that there are 25 million coffee farmers around the world, all of which depend on coffee to maintain their livelihoods. The heroes responsible for our favourite drink that we often forget about are the most important part of the chain, but also the one that is struggling the most. Adapting to changing climate requires severe changes in farming and funds many of the farmers don't have.
It's Bean Too Hot takes you on a journey around the world, from Costa Rica and Tanzania all the way to your couch as you drink your morning coffee, unaware of the threats that it's facing. It dives into fully carbon-neutral farms, explores climate-smart agricultural practices being used to adapt to climate change and protect biodiversity, and finds out what drives smallholder families to continue producing coffee.
The chain ends with each and every one of us; the consumers. By thinking about our coffee choices and opting for sustainable coffee brands that protect the environment and support the farmers who grow it, we can all play part in helping save coffee for the future.
Project Type:Documentary, Short, Student
Completion Date:May 13, 2021
Country of Origin:United Kingdom
Country of Filming:Costa Rica, Tanzania, United Republic of
Language:English, Spanish, Swahili
Student Project:Yes - Falmouth University
Jackson WildJackson Hole
September 30, 2021
EKO Film festivalBrno
October 21, 2021
CinemAmbiente Environmental Film FestivalTurin
October 4, 2021
Frankfurt Coffee FestivalFrankfurt
October 2, 2021
Big Syn International Film FestivalLondon
October 30, 2021
Hedvika Michnova is a filmmaker and photographer from the Czech Republic, currently living in Bristol UK. As a recent graduate of Marine and Natural History Photography, she has recently completed a short-film "It's Bean Too Hot" about the effects of climate change on coffee production. She is passionate about telling stories about natural world and communicating important issues to the audience.
Coffee is everywhere. It’s so much more than a drink, it’s part of our culture, it’s a way to meet people, to relax and to recharge. As a barista, I have had the opportunity to gain further insight into coffee production, the way coffee is processed and how we can prepare it. But what was rarely spoken about was where coffee comes from and the farmers who grow it.
Climate change has a massive effect on everything around us and coffee is no exception. The prediction of coffee as we know it disappearing by the end of the century was shocking, but there are worse consequences of that than consumers not being able to enjoy their daily cup. Behind this lie impacts on a global scale; those 25 million coffee farmers that won't be able to sustain their livelihoods and everyone involved in this chain will be impacted by it. If coffee continues to be grown unsustainably, it will also release more carbon into the atmosphere and continue to harm people's health due to heavy use of chemicals on large-scale plantations.
I realized that is an important story to tell, and so, I began a project called “It’s Bean Too Hot”, a documentary exploring the lives of coffee farmers who have been impacted by climate change, and the solutions they have implemented to adapt. With my film I want to hook in the viewer with the thought of their daily cup of coffee being in jeopardy but to eventually make them see beyond that and realize how massive this problem is. It's not just that we might not be able to have a good coffee in the future, it is millions of livelihoods that are at stake because they depend on this crop.
Through my journey I have spoken to many farmers, all of whom had no doubts about climate change being a real thing as they battled it daily. They have noticed severe changes in weather - longer dry seasons, heavier rain. It became harder for them to predict the weather. I have seen crops completely destroyed by pests that have been spreading more easily because of climate change. Farmers, who were losing all hope and starting to switch to other crops that are less demanding.
The solution to this is fairly simple. Sustainable coffee farming. I have spoken to many coffee farmers for whom sustainability was the solution as their crops were healthier, more productive and survived longer. Guillermo from Costa Rica plants his coffee under the shade of trees, the way coffee originally grew in the wild. This helps him to reduce the temperature on his farm but also to attract birds that help with pest control. Farmers in Tanzania were developing a similar approach by planting bananas over coffee that not only provided shade but also a second source of income to help through difficult times. I had a chance to speak to Enrique from the first carbon neutral farm in the world who believed in setting a good example for all farmers and heavily reducing their emissions and impact on the planet.
All these characters were so inspiring and made me think that maybe farmers will be able to survive this crisis. But there is one more important part of the chain - us the consumers. Do you know where your coffee comes from and who grew it? Was it grown sustainably?
With It’s Bean Too Hot I wanted to speak to every coffee consumer out there, urging them to think of their choices of coffee, opt for sustainable brands and be part of the change that is happening in the coffee world that assures a safe future for coffee. I wanted to leave the viewer with an array of new information about something they have been perhaps taking for granted. After watching, maybe you will even go to your kitchen and have a proper look at what you have been drinking every morning and be encouraged to make simple changes in your life, thinking of those 25 million farmers that are impacted by your choices.