Coppola and the Art of Coffee

I am a cinema lover, a wine lover and a coffee lover. I’ve thought about the correlation of these passions and come to realize that each of them combines two of my lifelong interests — science and storytelling. I have always loved gadgets, and I vividly remember the first time Ernesto Illy came to visit me. He went directly to the espresso machine and proceeded to spend 20 minutes inspecting and adjusting. All the while, he was saying to me, “You winemakers are so lucky. After production, you just pour your wine into a glass. We have to achieve the perfect grind of the coffee, accurate temperature of the water, the exact pressure and the precise 
 rate of flow.”

That is the science of great coffee that appeals to me, the technical processes of brewing and preservation that the Illy family have mastered. Then, there is the story …Whether film, wine or coffee, the creative journey is really quite similar. You must start with gathering good raw material: grapes, coffee beans, or the scenes and fragments of the film. Then, from among them, you keep only the great and discard the not-so-good. Using skill and intuition, you must maximize what you have. It’s a special kind of alchemy. Finally, there is the finishing. In film, it includes things like the subtleties of sound and color that add polish to the final work. In wine and coffee it includes blending and packaging with utmost care. This is a process that I believe you can apply to almost any art.

By using technology to execute an artistic vision, we are able to create magic — on the screen, or in the cup.

In filmmaking, you are always working on a schedule. My journey in wine has forced me to adjust my thinking. Coppola wines are now 40 years in the making, and we are still improving and reaching higher. In this, I feel especially aligned with the Illy family. I think we have both come to realize that perfection is not something we must achieve in a year, or even a lifetime, but across generations. As family-run companies, we are able to make authenticity our primary goal. In our mutual love of wine, coffee and life, families like Illy and Coppola root for each other’s success. Our mediums may be different, but we are united in our aim to bring happiness to the world, in crafting pleasure without compromise.

— Francis Ford Coppola
Filmmaker and Winemaker

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