Peter Roberts on Empowering Specialty Coffee to Look Beyond the “C” | Re:co 2019

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Today, we’re very happy to present the second episode of the “The Role of Innovation and Technical Advancement,” a session recorded at Re:co Symposium this past April. This session explored and evaluated advances in innovation positioned to make an impact within our industry as we work to resolve the coffee price crisis.

We are pleased to welcome Peter Roberts, Professor of Organization and Management at Emory University and Academic Director of Social Enterprise at Goizueta. Producers of specialty coffees face serious questions about whether and how the market values their products. These questions are symptoms of long-term, structural problems rooted in inequality and information asymmetry. For the specialty coffee industry to survive, these questions need to be answered. In this episode, “Empowering Specialty to Look Beyond the ‘C’,” Peter introduces The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide, which relies on an expanding group of roasters, importers, exporters, and others who donate contract data covering specialty coffee transactions from recent harvests.

Special Thanks to Toddy

This talk from Re:co Boston is supported by Toddy. For over 50 years, Toddy brand cold brew systems have delighted baristas, food critics, and regular folks alike. By extracting all the natural and delicious flavors of coffee and tea, Toddy Cold Brew Systems turn your favorite coffee beans and tea leaves into fresh cold brew concentrates, that are ready to serve and enjoy. Learn more about Toddy at

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Table of Contents

3:10 The story behind how Peter came to realize Central American coffee producers were not earning sustainable prices for their coffees
8:25 Specialty coffee needs a pricing benchmark for paying coffee producers, but it can’t be the C price.
11:55 Why the American Blue Book for comparing used cars prices is a good model for comparing specialty coffee premiums paid to farmers
20:15 Future considerations once the specialty coffee industry has this pricing data