"Coffee by Kings" Animation

Luísa Freitas

Overview

This fun and educational 2D animation project was a commission by Tales from Coventry Tables for a presentation on equitable coffee farming, presented by the Zimbabwean coffee business Coffee by Kings with sponsorship from Coventry City of Culture 2021. This presentation took place during the Supper Club on the 16th of November 2019, an evening event organised by Tales from Coventry Tables, dedicated to presenting food organisations and businesses that support humanitarian causes, while also introducing their wonderful tasty creations paired with performance.   

Coffee by Kings is one of such businesses that was created with the purpose of supporting a social cause, in this case promoting equitable coffee farming and trade to aid the small scale farmers in the Eastern Highlands District of Zimbabwe in receiving fair payment for their production, while also guaranteeing a high quality coffee product. All based on green friendly, organic and sustainable farming practices, that make use of local flora and fauna resources in every step of the way to avoid waste and pollution, avoiding automated manufacturing and chemical farming altogether.

Equitable Coffee Farming

The animation starts with our narrator, voiced by Hillary Chindodo CEO and Founder of Coffee by Kings, talking about various delicious coffee options and questioning the process of coffee making. If 80% of the quality of coffee is determined by the bean production in the beginning of the process at the farm, then that should mean that the majority of the price goes to the farmer correct? Unfortunately, that is not the case and instead from a £2,50 cup of coffee the value of the coffee itself amounts to 10p from which 1p goes to the farmer/grower. This is a result of the long coffee value chain that prioritises other sections of production over farming. 

In a simplified description of the value chain at the start would be the growers, then the processors who prepare the beans that are passed down to middle men – importers, traders and exporters – who then give the beans to the roasters, that later pass the final product to retail. From this chain the biggest margin of the earns go to the roasters who are the leading beneficiaries, though recently retail and shops are also taking most of the margin.

The solution proposed by Hillary Chindodo is to turn the growers into roasters as well, ensuring a fair payment is given to the hardworking farmers, resulting in 8p to be added to the initial 1p gain per coffee cup sold.

 

Visual Production

The main goal of this animation was to inform the audience who isn’t knowledgeable on this subject while simultaneously serve as a support for the Coffee by Kings’ live presentation at the Supper Club event. For such I took part in the creation and editing of the animation script as well as the selection of the soundtrack, to ensure that all parts would come together seamlessly in what results as a short informative tale.

Since the briefing specified the preference of the visuals to be designed in a story book format, I proceeded to create a series of digital illustrations resembling laser cut paper designs in a cut out style. This style pairs well with the strong and warm colour scheme, selected to induce the idea of comfort, joy and correlate both with the theme of coffee and the Eastern Zimbabwean culture which is the focus of this presentation.

To ensure proper representation of this foreign culture I researched the flora and fauna of the Zimbabwean Eastern Highlands District, as well as base all my designs from a compilation of photographs of coffee farms from that region, whilst introducing the portraits of the Coffee by Kings’ main farmers themselves.

 

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Working on this commission was an incredible experience and one of the most gratifying I’ve done due to creating a work that brings awareness to important causes such as fair trade. I want to give special thanks to Tales from Coventry Tables and Coffee by Kings for believing in my work and taking me in this amazing project.

Thank you for taking a look,

Luisa

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