Movie Review: Barista

I recently watched a documentary entitled Barista. The documentary chronicles the journey of five baristas competing in the USBC.

Now, because I am someone who has competed in this competition a number of times and because I know personally know some of the documentary’s stars, I was really interested in seeing this film.

I had know about this movie for a while (it came out in 2015), but had been waiting to watch it until after competition season. I wanted to make sure I did not add any unnecessary stress during competition.

When I sat down to watch the movie, the first thought that came to mind was, “I have never watched a movie about something I know so much about.” This movie is about my profession and my passion. A very unique situation if you ask me.

Because of this -- I viewed this documentary in a very different way. That’s my disclaimer, now let’s talk about the movie.

It is a Must-See

This movie features quirky characters, an accurate overview of barista competitions and the feelings each of us go through when trying to be the best. 

My favorite part of the documentary is a short segment where the evolution of coffee culture is explained and it culminates with why baristas compete. It’s concise, well-shot, informative, and just fun. I’ve included a link to the clip here.

Look Beyond the Surface

My only real complaint with the documentary is how some of the baristas are turned into characters. It seems to be a pretty common “Hollywood” move where a movie needs certain archetypes to create a sense of drama. And going back to my disclaimer, I can only really make this judgement because I interact with other competitors regularly, and am one myself. Knowing the inner workings of such an industry helps me see where Barista was dramatized. It’s a small complaint, but I guess I wish it were a little more dry and less dramatic, but then NO ONE would watch a movie like that -- except people like me.

Over all I say go out a watch this movie. It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours and you get the chance to learn a little bit more about what us baristas do. Make yourself a cup of coffee and settle in for a treat. If you have any questions about the movie or disagree with something I have said -- let me know!


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