I would find myself in Filandia, a small farming community with a big heart. Smack dab in the womb of the coffee family in the mother of coffee countries, Colombia. On this particular Wednesday afternoon I’d just come from a day of repairs at the local furniture refinishing store where they had fixed a broken zipper on my bike and ran a bunch of screws, staples and finally glue into my boots to reattach the soles. Not a pretty as I’d envisioned based on there handy work with the sofas, however quite functional. I paid my bill with a bottle of aguardiente , a local liquor flavoured of aniseed, and was off.
With my fresh look I headed into the town square to strut my stuff and find a local coffee shop. I knew that based on the area alone I could likely walk blindly into any coffee establishment in a hundred miles and have an extremely good chance to land on a
premium cup of local beans coddled to perfection from bean to brew.
This coffee shop was beautiful, with a series workers and horses in full harvest at coffee fincas painted on the outside walls to reflect the area. Personally I like to enjoy the actual flavor and get to know the bean a little, so I ordered an Americano than quickly changed my mind to an Espresso. I think you only get one shot as I ended up with well balanced Americano in the end with the little fatty bubbles still swirling as it hit the table. Sure enough it was the kind of flavour you secretly wish for each time your let down at a North American franchise. Flavourful, full of body and as welcomed as a third date kiss.
Being the only oddly dressed out-of-place gringo in the shop that day (with striking good looks) I would be a natural selection for a premium opinion on the coffee of the region and would be enthusiastically invited back. As I left the shop the owner had rushed out onto the street and asked me to come back that evening. He first thanked me profusely for coming in that day then we had a brief chat in a mix of his poor English and my poor Spanish. Here he invited me back at 7pm to enjoy a movie about coffee from the region that they would be showing in the shop, or so I thought…
With exactly zero other plans booked for the night I arrived just before seven to a completely empty store and ordered another espresso, just what one needs at 7pm. By 7:20pm I am feeling a bit awkward as I have still not seen another soul, including the owner who had made it very clear he would like me here for 7pm. Silly me forgot that Colombia time is not equivalent to say German time and being thirty to sixty minutes late was the norm.
At 7:25pm, the owner rushed in and said hello before quickly tending to some things behind the bar. Following him a family of five came in and sat down, then a few single onlookers. Shortly to follow a man with a large box and a lady with some more boxes, then some lighting equipment and some cords and so on. I figured for such a small crowd they were really going all out for this little movie.
Eventually the owner came over and touching my shoulder and neck he again over enthusiastically thanked me for coming and got me a beer. He explained a few things about when we would start and asked if I was comfortable. By now I had started to notice some cameras being set up and the lighting equipment being tested, another beer was brought to me and my suspicions were suddenly confirmed. Cripes, I was not going to be watching a movie about coffee, I WAS GOING TO BE IN A MOVIE ABOUT COFFEE!
Sure enough, the guy with the camera finally had it all set up and came over to chat me up in English.
“Hello, how are you my name is Pedro, are you comfortable and do you know what it is that we are doing here?”
“ Umm, well, I thought we were watching a movie about coffee. However now I think we are making a movie about coffee. Yes?”
“Yes, sort of. We are making a commercial about coffee from this region as we feel it is some of the best of the world and we would like to capture on camera how you feel about the coffee.”
“Great, you could not have picked a better person to give their opinion of Colombian coffee and I’m happy to help!”
A year ago I would have not known the difference between a cup of good coffee and a cup of tobacco spit. Yet after doing a six-week stint working on an organic coffee farm in El Salvador earlier that year. They would teach me everything from planting for flavour influence and altitude, to roasting, brewing and even helping to run coffee tours. Since then I would be hopping from country to country in the Americas getting my lips on every premium brew I could find and would now fancy myself well opinionated. Well at least in my own company and for Colombian coffee commercials that is.
What a great time., from here I was fed about seven beers and two more espressos before we were all wrapped up. For about twenty minutes we did several takes where they would ask me how I felt about this cup of coffee and what drinking the coffee meant to me. I think I nailed it with something about it feeling like I was actually tasting the culture and they seemed delighted with my answers that included the word “magic” and ended
with a lot of me smiling like an Asian tourist.
They also interviewed the barista, he didn’t fair so well and was stuttering up a storm, frothing at the mouth and drawing blanks for his twenty minutes. I see in the video that he was left out entirely. I’m sure if they had fed him the seven beers along with the three espressos
he might have done a better job, poor little stuttering Sal .
Indeed that coffee was fantastic and the aroma alone would leave the average barista steaming in his steps. The owner took a bag of roasted beans off the shelf and squeezed it under my nose enough to allow a sacred breath to escape the valve on the coffee bag. A warm breath of caramelised brown sugar thick like bakery air would encompass my senses, the bag was then placed in my hands as a parting gift.
To watch the commercial just click on the video, I’ve also added a link to their website. Unfortunately I feel the quality of website design and video quality is subpar in comparison to the coffee. Fun day all the same.