(l-r) Trunesh Kassaw and Bloomington native Brooke Bierhaus after filming a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for Bierhaus’ documentary, The Connected Cup. Photo by Mulugeta Workye

photography courtesy of BROOKE BIERHAUS

In an era where the most common way for people to stay in touch is on Facebook, it might seem unusual for a young woman to explore the intimate ways people can connect over a cup of coffee or tea. In her documentary, The Connected Cup, Bloomington native Brooke Bierhaus examines how sharing in the age-old ritual of making and drinking co ee or tea brings people together despite the seeming barriers of race, religion, ethnicity—even language.



See more photos from Brooke Bierhaus’s travels below.

In the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia, the atmosphere is illuminated solely by candlelight. Photos by Brooke Bierhaus
Wild coffee and garden coffee grow in the cloud forests of Kefa, Ethiopa. The landscape flourishes with a variety of crops harvested along with coffee on small scale farms. You can meet this farmer and more in The Connected Cup documentary.
A group of boys from ‘Unity’ in Samburu, Kenya smile after an afternoon swim and collection of water for cleaning back at the matriarchal village.
Chai is served on every street corner in Kolkata, India. It allows for daily conversations with friends and strangers alike while taking a break during the day.
Brooke stops at her friend’s book shop on College Street in Kolkata, India. The infamous College Street is lined with book stalls for the university students nearby, as well as for any genre of interest for book enthusiasts.  Photo by Prajna Dutta
Brooke, her guide Dickson, and porter Richard all share a tea together on Mount Kilimanjaro. 
Acacia trees in the Serengeti illuminated by the sunset in Tanzania. 
Brooke and the local wildlife team working on a short anti-poaching documentary in the western corridor of the Serengeti. 
A mother and her daughter prepare coffee in their kitchen in the Gela Wild Coffee Forest of Ethiopia.
The Connected Cup documentary follows the global language of coffee and tea around the world. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and is an integral part of the film. Photo by Mulugeta Workye
Japanese hand rolling of tea leaves is an ancient art form. 
The Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia is one of the eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in the ancient town.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland is a major tourist attraction. The timing of the sunset in November led to this array of colors reflecting off of the glacial waters.
Jerusalem, Israel discussing photography with a veteran war photographer.  Photo by Jakub Riha
A Vervet Monkey in the Serengeti National Park finds a water spigot to drink from on a hot day. 
Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador.
A porter on Mount Kilimanjaro carries up to 20kg of food and equipment for paid climbers over the course of a 5-7 day climb.
The flower bazaar in Kolkata, India is a sight to see. Thousands of marigolds, roses, hibiscus, sunflowers, and more line the streets under the Howrah Bridge. 
Porters walk up the steep trail on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Bus transportation in Kolkata, India.
Marigolds are sold outside of Khalighat Temple in Kolkata, India.