Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Its title is a literal one: the televised documentary program Black Coffee investigates the history, legacy and multifaceted cultural relevance of that black liquid so omnipresent that it now qualifies as the most widely-consumed beverage in contemporary western society. As produced in 2005 and screened on the TVOntario network in Canada, this limited run miniseries emerged at a point when fair trade between the First World and the Third World gained tremendous importance in the global economy, and coffee sat at the forefront of this issue. As the series itself denotes, the beverage caused a tremendous schism between those who perceived it as positive (for its creative stimulus, economic boon and (in the case of shade-grown beans) a de facto habitat for various species of wildlife), and those who perceived it as negative, tracing it to the historical proliferation of slavery and rainforest destruction. The program utilizes a thematic structure, wherein its episodes charts five themes relevant to coffee within a historical framework: "Colonialism and Justice," "Community and Social Bonding," "Revolution," "Environmental Degradation," and "International Business and Politics."
beverage, coffee, ecosystem, habitat [natural], rainforest, Third-World