Dukale’s Dream

by

Editorial Policy

Published on

Last updated on

[D]ukale’s Dream, a film being released on demand this month, stars one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors—but it’s probably not what you’d expect.

Hugh Jackman launched Laughing Man Coffee, his Antipodean-inspired café, in Tribeca in 2011, following a trip to origin. Dukale’s Dream is a detailed documentary chronicling how the actor—a self-professed “coffee snob”—became involved in the industry at large, starting with his friendship with a farmer named Dukale.

The proverbial (and literal) seeds of the project were sown in 2009, when Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, both actors and native Australians, traveled to Ethiopia on behalf of World Vision Australia. The couple was invited, as donors and public figures, to witness first-hand the community development organization’s efforts to eradicate poverty in the coffee-growing country.

In Yirgacheffe, they met Dukale and his family. They developed a relationship with the young farmer while spending time on his farm, learning about the difficulties of a coffee grower’s life. Before they left, Dukale and Jackman planted seedlings together, naming them after Furness and Jackman’s children.

HJ & Dukale - Approved Image 2 (1)

Affected by the meeting, the actor returned to New York as an advocate for fair trade, eventually opening Laughing Man. The café buys Dukale’s beans at a fair price, and serves them to the steady stream of New Yorkers who cram into the tiny shop for flat whites. The young farmer’s story is prominent. At the end of last year, Laughing Man partnered up with Keurig, which now distributes Dukale’s coffees all over the world.

The film is special for a few reasons. The influences of fair trade are visible in Dukale’s day-to-day. His efforts to lower the farm’s carbon footprint through shade-growing, to keep his kids in school, and to keep his family fed speak to the plights of famers around the world, many who have been less successful. It’s a similar vision to other recent documentaries (A Film About Coffee, The Way Back to Yarasquin), but with Jackman’s involvement, its not just coffee professionals who are watching. In a recent interview with Time, Jackman compares his brand to the late Paul Newman’s, explaining that his efforts stem from advocacy as well as entrepreneurialism. And having a famous face on a cause can push it to the tipping point.

Dukale’s Dream took home a number of awards on the festival circuit last year, but the goal of the film, as with most documentaries, wasn’t to impress critics. The story is an important one, a heartwarming metaphor representing the greater issues behind fair trade. After airing in select theaters in June, it will be available for all on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Prime this month.

—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.

Share This Article

Regan Crisp

Join 7,000+ coffee pros and get top stories, deals, and other industry goodies in your inbox each week.

Other Articles You May Like

Let’s Talk About Coffee Certifications

B-corp, organic, fair trade: what do all the certifications gracing the shelves of coffee shops and grocery stores mean? We take a closer look.
by Anne Mercer | February 3, 2023

Sweet Companions: Creating The Perfect Coffee and Cheese Pairing

Its high fat content and overall creaminess makes cheese ideal for balancing coffee’s acidity.
by Madeleine Coghlan | January 24, 2023

Coffee Waste or Product Potential?

Thanks to innovative minds across the globe, coffee cherry excess is being repurposed in food products, merchandise production, and even as biofuel.
by Anna Brones | January 19, 2023

Grinding for a Purpose: Everything You Need To Know To Pick The Right Grinder

While espresso machines get most of the attention, grinders are the real workhorses of a café.
by Michael Butterworth | January 17, 2023