Ric Rhinehart on The Coffee Price Crisis: The Role and Responsibility of Specialty Coffee – Re:co 2019

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In his opening remarks at this year’s Re:co Symposium, Executive Director Emeritus Ric Rhinehart set the stage for two days of learning, collaborating, and acting to address the coffee price crisis with his “dire warning speech.” This talk has been a fixture at the event for the past ten years. Unfortunately, many of the things Ric has brought to our attention in the past are now happening and – to make matters worse – many of the systemic problems we face (climate change, market consolidation) haven’t gone away yet, either.

But there is hope! As he works through all of the challenges facing our industry, Ric also begins to introduce some of the individuals and ideas that took to the stage at Re:co this past April and that you’ll hear in the coming weeks.

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 http://www.toddycafe.com.

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Table of Contents

0:00 Introduction
2:20 The coffee price is prone by severe booms and busts driven by misaligned fundamentals
10:00 Coffee is in a bust crisis today
14:40 Climate change is real and getting worse, production has consolidated in Brazil and Vietnam (partly because they are so efficient) and there is now an oversupply of coffee
25:10 Specialty coffee is a quality, differentiated product that can garner a premium to help producers out of this boom and bust cycle
Suggestions for what coffee buyers can do to help
32:00 Changing the conversation between buyers and producers from a buyer-driven monologue to an equal dialogue.
36:00 Roasters switching from a Buyers Option Fixed Contract to a Sellers Option Fixed Contract
37:30 Align price and value
38:30 Baby boomers are leaving the coffee-drinking market; Millennials are becoming the majority and have a wider set of values to which roasters need to cater
40:30 What the SCA is doing to confront the problem of low prices
43:00 Outro