Many baristas dream of opening their own shop, how long have you been planning BLK \ MRKT?
The pictures we’ve seen look gorgeous. Did you work with a designer?
Whether it’s filming the inside of a coffee roaster or conducting freakish scientific experiments with a moka pot, Hungarian coffee filmographers Kávékalmár love to explore unchartered territory. Their latest and most ambitious project, Sourced, offers an in depth look at Hacienda Rio Jorco and its sister company the Rio Jorco Processing Plant.
Hacienda Rio Jorco is a coffee farm in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica that has belonged to the Alfaro family for three generations. Today, Hacienda Rio Jorco is raising the bar for coffee quality, employee compensation, and environmental impact. Sourced follows the coffee being picked, processed, and bagged to be shipped to overseas markets. Along the way we get both an intimate look at the lives of the laborers on the farm and breathtaking ariel shots captured with a drone (which provides plenty of enjoyment for the Alfaro brothers). We’ve long enjoyed coffees from Costa Rica. Gábor Laczkó and company have us wanting to buy an airline ticket and see it for ourselves.
This last holiday season we splurged and got ourselves a special Christmas present: the Hartmann Geisha Series from Calgary-based coffee roasters Phil & Sebastian. The special seasonal offer featured one coffee variety processed three different ways: washed, natural, and honey. This rare opportunity to experience exactly what impact processing has on flavor was possible due to the forward-thinking Hartmann family in Santa Clara, Panama.
Phil & Sebastian recently released a short film that offers an intimate look at life on the Hartmann family’s farm. Few coffee farmers get the opportunity to taste their own coffee, but the Hartmann family has their own quality-control lab, complete with a two-barrel sample roaster. The fact that Ratibor Hartmann is a certified Q Grader is practically unheard of. It’s coffee farmers like the Hartmann family that make it an exciting time to be a coffee consumer.
You can order coffee grown by the Hartmanns on Phil & Sebastian’s webstore.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If Andrew Klass is taking the photos, you can add to that word count. Klass’s work in many ways embodies the core values of the craft coffee movement: precision, intentionality, and artistry. We asked the Chicago-based product photographer what inspires him, and, more importantly, what’s in his mug.
I’ve always had a love for coffee. I started drinking it when I was about 10 years old, albeit with an abhorrent amount of cream and sugar. Luckily, as I grew up, so did my palate. The more time I spent in specialty coffee shops, the more I got to know the people in them and the more they taught me about their products. I’ve never had any experience working in specialty coffee shops, but I have a little in what I call “corporate coffee”. Corporate coffee isn’t big on educating its baristas on much of anything other than their own products, so I had to go searching for that education on the outside. It helped that a good friend of mine was already headlong in the specialty coffee scene. People who are passionate about their craft love to share their knowledge and I am grateful for that.
Craft beverage photography is an interesting thing. I consider it a subgenre of product photography, but there are more variables. It requires someone trained to prepare that beverage and as soon as they are finished, the window of prime photogenic quality is closing. I often need to set up and decide on the shot before I even have the finished product. I really enjoy that challenge.
I find myself being inspired by a myriad of things. From the farmers who cultivate the initial product, to the people who transform it, to the spaces they are served in. I am tasked with presenting this temporary product and it’s temporary beauty. Not only making it look good, but making people want to drink it. I take on the responsibility of doing justice to the hard work of every hand that has touched it. That is a task I don’t take lightly. All of us involved with this product are artists in our own way and I have to uphold that until the end of this product’s life. My favorite way to capture that is by shooting these products in the places they are made. I want to put the viewer right there, in that café and make them wish they could drink that delicious coffee. In a world filled with all kinds of talented photographers, I’m trying to give people an experience.
I would have to say my favorite recent experience was in Nashville. I was lucky enough to meet the owner of Barista Parlor, Andy Mumma. I spent a lot of time during that week at his second location, Barista Parlor x Golden Sound which he initially opened with Dan Auerbach. Andy and his staff there were amazing and so welcoming. I drank a lot of incredible coffee and took a lot of photos. Ever since I left, I’ve been dying to get back.
In April 2015, three of the biggest names in the US competitive latte art scene traveled to Japan to encounter one of the most dynamic and exciting coffee cultures in the world. We commissioned one of them, John Letoto, to chronicle his journey.
Visiting Tokyo as an American barista was not merely an unforgettable experience, it was an experience the particulars of which I am still trying to grasp. The city itself is an endless series of wonders. The culture is shocking to the American palate. The sights and sounds are overwhelming at times, yet in the midst of this, there is an intrinsic sense of order and systemization that runs through every single aspect of their society. More than anything else, this Japanese sense of rightness was what made me feel at once more comfortable …