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The Perfect Cappuccino

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Filmmaker Amy Ferraris is obsessed. Having first discovered the cappuccino on a trip to Italy in the early 90's, she comes back to American plagued by one seemingly unanswerable question: in the country that put a man on the moon, why is it so hard to find a decent cappuccino? Her attempt to answer this question takes her on a years-long odyssey... to Italy and back again... from Manhattan to middle America... and it gives her a front-row seat for a clash between corporate America and the individualism at the heart of the American dream. Part memoir and part investigation, THE PERFECT CAPPUCCINO is a smart, witty meditation on what our coffee habits say about us, as individuals and as a nation.

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Product Details

  • Directors: Amy Ferraris
  • Writers: Amy Ferraris
  • Producers: Amy Ferraris
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: eucalyptus pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002CGT150
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,166 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
When I started this documentary, I wasn't optimistic. I thought it would be like the "potumentary" genre, full of stock footage and uneducated conspiracy theories, along with the expected rants against Starbucks.

When Amy said she had a Fulbright scholarship to study the cappuccino, I knew things were looking up. It was a well-researched movie, following Italian and American coffeemakers and scholars, giving a strong historical basis on the drink, and managing to find interesting storylines.

The movie inspired me to seek out the best coffee in my city (Los Angeles) and I found a new, independent, award-winning microroaster who reminded me of Double Shot Coffee Company.
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Format: DVD
The Perfect Cappuccino - a film by Amy Ferraris - is a great investigation into the slipshod quality of coffee production in America and its implications for chronic imbibers. Cafe Rationale received a copy of the documentary today (I'm celebrating our first piece of official mail) and I'd like to share a few of my thoughts after the first watch.

About fifteen minutes into the film (this would be about the time I finished the stiff demitasse of Dominican coffee I'd pulled for myself on the stovetop) I realized something important: this is an intelligent piece of work. The front half of the research was funded by Ferraris' one-year grant from the Fulbright commission to study the history of Italian cafe culture. In the course of the film, she consults with professors of history and literature, representatives from Italy's oldest espresso roasters, former Starbuck's CEOs, and intellectual property rights lawyers. With an MFA from UCLA's film program and an obvious knack for assembling a coherent narrative, Ferraris brings a touch of academic heft to a subject matter that would appear hopelessly superficial in other hands.

Ferraris' penchant for broad contextualizing is manifest almost immediately: it is not long before we realize that the scope of her inquiry transcends the mug's rim, that her search for the perfect cappuccino is as much practical as it is metaphorical. And she doesn't pull many punches either.

In just a few steps, we see the damning juxtaposition between Italy's cafe culture and our own. We bounce back and forth between shots of thick, dense cappuccinos served in pristine white ceramics and soapy, spit bubble hogwash that's been dumped into recycled paper to-go cups. The cause of the deficiency?
Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is neither a formal tutorial nor a detail scientific look at making great cappuccino. It is a wonderful personal and cultural journey about coffee.

I bought this not knowing what to expect, and rightly so. This documentary is unexpectedly personal, about the film maker's cappuccino obsession and independent cafe owners. This movie has uncanny depth and is probably achieved by making coffee-loving people as the center theme rather than the beans.

For those who like more coffee specific subjects, the DVD Extras are superb. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with 2 U.S. Barista Champions. The DVD Extras worth every penny i paid for.

Although, the documentary may start a bit slow, after 15 minutes, it quickly picked up the pace with more interviews, dived into the cultural and philosophy aspects. The author crafted this movie with 2 major countering points - Large Corporation vs. Small Privately Owned Cafes, and U.S. and Italian coffee cultures. Through this, the coffee's 3rd Wave is explained.

There are funny bits sprinkled all over the movie such as Amy's mother playing Starbuck's Howard Schultz.

Super! Love it!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first 15 -20 minutes was really good. It looked at the espresso / cappuuccino culture and traditon in Italy.

The next 30 minutes or so went back to the United States and complained that Starbucks cappuccino was really bad. This was probably right. But, why was this so long in a movie that was searching for the perfect cappuccino. Boring and irrelevant.

Then there was some 15 minutes devoted to good cappuccino in the United States at a place called DoubleShot. But this morped into a drama about how this little shop in the middle of the United States was being sued by Starbucks because of their copyright on the name "Starbucks cappuccino. A human interest story but boring again if you were looking to find out how to produce and find "The Perfect Cappuccino".

After a good start, there was very little time spent on the science and art of espresso / cappuccino.
The extras were interesting if you were interested in a description of the strategy needed to succeed at barista competitions. Again, we have to ask: "where was the coffee?"

update:
I just took a better look at the "extras" on coffee roasting and brewing.
The "extras" are more interesting than the movie and are worth 4 or 5 stars.
Definitely watch the roasting one that contrasts the very traditional Italian roaster who works with a wood burning roaster and describes the cracking stages as the "singing" of the coffee with the American Doubleshot roaster in Tulsa who is a modern craftsman trying to get the best out of the beans.
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