Black Gold

A FILM BY Marc and Nick Francis

Compelling! Beautifully shot!
-Jessica Letkemann, Premiere
Illuminates the stark realities of the starving Ethiopian coffee farmer and the broken global trade system.
-Jessica Letkemann, Premiere
Visually ravashing!
-Robert Koehler, Variety
Wake up and smell the coffee with this probe into the global grind behind your indulgent latte as bracing as a double espresso!
-Geoff Pevere, The Toronto Star


Multinational coffee companies dominate an industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil. But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains low. Nowhere more evident is this paradox than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela is one man on a mission to save his 75,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price. Against the backdrop of Tadesse’s journey to London and Seattle, the more powerful sides of the international trading system begin to unfold. New York coffee traders, auction houses and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation reveal the enormity of Tadesse’s task to find a long term solution for his farmers.

Original Languages: English, Amharic and Oromiffa
Genre: Documentary, World Cinema
Running Time: 82 min.
Year: 2005


Marc and Nick Francis


Coffee drinker in New York
Carrying Food Aid
Starbucks drinkers in New York
Tadesse at supermarket
Tadesse Meskela talking to farmers
Coffee pickers
New York commodity exchange
Ethiopia landscape
Nescafe jar
Loading USAID wheat bags in Djibouti
co-director Nick Francis
Green coffee cherry on tree
Dr Ernesto Illy, Honorary Chairman, Illy Coffee Company
co-director Marc Francis