Cover art for podcast Filter Stories - Coffee Documentaries

Filter Stories - Coffee Documentaries

53 EpisodesProduced by James HarperWebsite

Filter Stories is a NPR / BBC-style documentary podcast revealing the hidden side of coffee. We visit a stateless barista stuck on a faraway island, meet an award winning coffee grower earning just $2 profit from 250 espressos, hear from a coffee producer who is almost murdered three times during a … read more

53 Episodes | 2018 - 2023

4) Just Friends? America's love affair with coffee

May 29th, 2023


America is coffee-obsessed. From Central Perk’s red couch being the centre of major plot twists in Friends to the fact the average American drank more than two cups a day.

And the conventional explanation is pretty …

3) Espresso Lungo: The slow road to Italy's democratic espresso culture

May 15th, 2023


One morning back in the ‘80s, Howard Schultz walks out of his Milan hotel, stumbles into an espresso bar, and fundamentally changes coffee history.

2) A Lasting Stain: Haiti, Colonialism and Coffee

May 1st, 2023


Haiti was once the biggest, most profitable coffee growing region in the world.

But today Haiti is one of the world’s poorest nations where you can’t get a bag of Haitian beans delivered to Berlin in a week for love nor …

1) It's Just Coffee? How coffee houses changed the world

April 17th, 2023


A coffee shop is a lot more than just a place to drink coffee. The seats and sofas encourage you to invite a friend, and chat.

And chatting is …

Introducing: Series Two of A History of Coffee

April 3rd, 2023


We're back with more stories about the tiny psychoactive seed that changed the world and continues to shape our lives today.

In Series Two, we reveal …

6) Sonic Seasoning

January 31st, 2023


Imagine you’ve got a cup of coffee in front of you. You haven’t tasted it yet. You therefore don’t know what it tastes like, right?

Wrong. Some scientists argue that you actually do know what it will taste like (more or …

5) Latte Foam

January 17th, 2023


When was the last time you picked up a cappuccino with a mountain of foam perched on top? Maybe these are the cappuccinos you make every morning at …

4) Espresso Technology

January 3rd, 2023


A good espresso is a sublime experience: rich, sweet, and wonderfully caffeinated.

But, who woke up one morning and thought to themselves, ‘I’m going …

3) Plant Genetics

November 22nd, 2022


How can you make better coffee at home? Well, an easy way is to buy higher quality beans.

But, I’m concerned this is going to get harder and harder for you in the future.

Climate change is making coffee taste worse …

2) Coffee Extraction

November 8th, 2022


How you brew your coffee dramatically affects what you taste. And I do mean dramatic! Brewing up the same bag of coffee beans can taste like a slice of heaven, or a slap in the face.

So, what exactly is happening at a …

1) Water For Brewing Coffee

October 25th, 2022


Water really matters when you’re brewing coffee. Different waters can dramatically change how a single coffee will taste.

But what is the right water for the best coffee?

In this episode I will give you the answer, but …

Introducing: The Science of Coffee

October 18th, 2022


The Science of Coffee is a journey into coffee's hidden microscopic secrets to help you make even better coffee at home.

Across six episodes, documentary maker and coffee professional James Harper takes you deep into …

Coffee's Ticking Time Bomb

February 15th, 2022


Sri Lankan coffee has delicious notes of chocolate and caramel. But it’s basically impossible to find, and we’re going to bet you’ve never drank it.

Is really expensive coffee really worth it?

June 15th, 2021


Would you ever pay £75 for 100g of coffee beans?

Today I'm sharing the most popular episode from Adventures in Coffee, a sister podcast to Filter …

Coffee Cycle Saturdays

May 27th, 2021


Today I'm sharing the story of a coffee drinker, Jools Walker, and how coffee helped her complete an inner journey.

Listen to more episodes from …

6) The Future of Coffee?

May 13th, 2021


Do you grind your beans fresh before brewing your coffee? If so, you are helping overturn a race-to–the-bottom with deep roots in colonial extraction …

5) Desperately Seeking Sustainability

April 27th, 2021


When was the last time you bought a coffee that was Fairtrade certified?

Certifications make it easy for consumers to put their ethics into practice. But, hidden beneath the glossy sticker is a maze of complications and …

4) A Dark Bitter Powder

April 13th, 2021


How do you drink your instant coffee? If you’re like most of the world, you fill your mug with milk and sugar to sweeten the taste.

By adding milk and sugar to your instant, you helped bring new growers - and consumers …

3) Coffee Catches Fire

March 30th, 2021


A hundred years ago one Brazilian man owned so many coffee trees he could fill every inch of a European country with them.

But why does Brazil grow so …

2) Slavery, Suffering and Affordable Luxury

March 16th, 2021


Why do we get upset when we’re charged €36 for an ordinary cappuccino?

The answer flies us to the Caribbean where white Europeans make black Africans suffer.

In this second episode of A History of Coffee, we uncover how …

1) A Five Gun Salute to the Origins of Coffee

March 2nd, 2021


Here’s a surprising fact: coffee was only invented around the time Michelangelo was chiselling his statue of David.

Why did it take so long for humans to invent the cup of coffee?

In this first episode of A History of …

Introducing: A History of Coffee

February 18th, 2021


A History of Coffee is the story of how a tiny psychoactive seed changed the world and shapes our lives today.

Across six episodes, documentary maker James Harper and professional historian Jonathan Morris narrate how …

A Girl on a Coffee Farm

May 24th, 2020


Sofía is a teenager living on a coffee farm and was going to school five days a week. But a year later, she’s studying only on Saturdays.

This might …

Be careful what you dream (it may come true)

March 26th, 2020


You’ve just achieved a life goal. Now what? Dream bigger? Quit while you’re ahead?

When Federico Bolaños fulfills his dream of helping a young …

Why El Salvador isn't bringing back coffee

January 28th, 2020


El Salvador used to grow a quarter of the world’s coffees. Today, it’s barely more than a rounding error. As coffee production fell, illegal migration to America grew.

But there are many Salvadorans who want to grow …

A Eulogy for Tito

December 19th, 2019


Hector “tito” Vargas passed away in December 2019.

We honor him by playing the season finale of the Duolingo Spanish Podcast.

Correction: Tito …

Is your coffee building Trump's wall? Part 5: How can we support marginalised coffee producers?

December 4th, 2019


You buying a coffee from El Salvador and Trump building a border wall have nothing in common.

Or do they?

Over five episodes, we explore a story of El Salvador. We confront massacres, wide inequalities and the specialty …

Is your coffee building Trump's Wall? Part 4: The Rich and the Marginalised

November 25th, 2019


You buying a coffee from El Salvador and Trump building a border wall have nothing in common.

Or do they?

Over five episodes, we explore a story of El Salvador. We confront massacres, wide inequality and the specialty …

Is your coffee building Trump's wall? Part 3: Requiem for a Coffee Republic

November 20th, 2019


You buying a coffee from El Salvador and Trump building a border wall have nothing in common.

Or do they?

Over five episodes, we explore a story of El Salvador. We confront massacres, wide inequality and the specialty …

Is your coffee building Trump's wall? Part 2: El Savage

November 12th, 2019


You buying a coffee from El Salvador and Trump building a border wall have nothing in common.

Or do they?

Over five episodes, we explore a story of El Salvador. We confront massacres, wide inequality and the specialty …

Is your coffee building Trump’s wall? Part 1: A tale of two El Salvadors

November 7th, 2019


You buying a coffee from El Salvador and Trump building a border wall have nothing in common.

Or do they?

Over five episodes, we explore stories of El Salvador. We confront massacres, wide inequalities and the specialty …

Big and Small in El Salvador: Part 3

September 17th, 2019


We meet a man who came from humble beginnings who has achieved what Armando and Maria have only ever dreamed about.


Shape the future of Filter Stories by taking this 10 minute survey:

Big and Small in El Salvador: Part 2

August 20th, 2019


Imagine you’re a coffee buyer on a mission to buy Salvadoran coffee. We visit Armando and Maria’s farms. Which farm would you choose to buy from?

Big and Small in El Salvador: Part 1

August 5th, 2019


20 years ago specialty coffee patted itself on the back for saving coffee farmers, both big and small, from the misery of low coffee prices.

But what's it like for a small coffee farmer getting into this specialty …

Unseen Bean: Part 2

July 1st, 2019


Gerry's cafe failed.

We investigate why by putting ourselves in Gerry's shoes and experiencing the coffee world as a blind man.


Gerry’s roastery:

More Piano music on Coffee People …

Unseen Bean: Part 1

June 18th, 2019


Gerry has a disability that keeps 2 in 3 adults out of full time work.

But Gerry demolishes expectations over and over again.


Gerry’s …


May 14th, 2019


What do you do when you want to buy a cafe but your country is collapsing around you?


If you haven't already, please subscribe to the show …


April 12th, 2019


Mikhail is a specialty coffee barista. But he’s stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

He doesn’t want to be there and he’s trying to get off. But he can’t. There are boats and planes, but none will let …


March 10th, 2019


What were your dreams at 16? Sofía lives on a remote coffee farm in Nicaragua and hers is to be a great english translator.

But Sofía needs school …


February 12th, 2019


In Central America, you can’t tell the story of coffee without mentioning war.

This is Alfonso. He's hugged Fidel Castro and President Reagan …


January 8th, 2019


Tito lives on a mountain in Panama, is a rebel and doesn’t listen to anyone.

Which is why he makes a terrible decision: he buys a coffee farm instead of getting an education. Tito is now stuck, chained to a system that …


October 2nd, 2018


Raymond's family want him to spend his life using a horse instead of a car, to live off the grid and have little contact with the outside world.

But young Raymond is curious and explores the outside world. His father …

Berries and Lemon

September 18th, 2018


Martin is the best barista in Kenya and has a dream to open a cafe. Except, he can't. Kenyans don't drink coffee.

But he has a plan: he’s going to …


September 4th, 2018


Murray is one of Ecuador's most famous coffee farmers. But there's a problem: he's only earning $2 profit from 250 espressos. How does he survive?

While he struggles, his farm is splashed across Instagram and roasters …


August 16th, 2018


Sarah has just landed her dream job working as a barista for the best cafe in North Carolina.

Her cafe will soon be featured in the New York Times …

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