After oil, coffee is the most actively traded commodity in the world with $80 billion dollars in retail sales. But farmers make as little as three cents for every cup of coffee sold in the U.S. or Europe. Most of the rest of the money goes to the middlemen, especially the four giant food conglomerates which control the coffee market. Black Gold sits in on the coffee auctions in Addis Ababa, London and New York where the fate of the coffee growing nations is decided.
Black Gold asks us ‘to wake up and smell the coffee,’ to face the unjust conditions under which our favorite drink is produced and to decide what we can do about it. The film traces the tangled trail from the two billion cups of coffee consumed each day back to the coffee farmers who produce the beans. In particular, It follows Tadesse Meskela as he tries to get a living wage for the 70,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers he represents. In the process Black Gold provides the most in-depth study of any commodity on film today and offers a compelling introduction to the ‘fair trade’ movement galvanizing consumers around the globe.