Vera Espindola Rafael on Markets in Producing Countries | Re:co Symposium 2019

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Today, we’re very happy to present the second episode of “Growing Consumption: Letting Go of Sameness,” a session recorded at Re:co Symposium this past April. We’ve grown accustomed to specialty coffee consumption growing at a fast pace, but some signs indicate it may be slowing. This session convened experts to ask: What could we stand to gain if we became more diverse in our approaches and offerings? 

If you haven’t listened to the previous episode in this series, we strongly recommend going back to listen before you continue with this episode. 

As the majority of specialty coffee consumption lies in the US, EU, and East Asia, “producing” countries have solely – and strategically – focused export, indenting to increase demand in “consuming” countries. However, the main cities of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Rwanda, have all seen an increase in specialty coffee shops and overall coffee culture, following the steps of the waves of the coffee industry. In some cases, with the current low coffee prices, it has become more attractive for coffee producers to sell their coffee on the national market, where the price they receive for their coffee is higher than or equal than that of exporting. Are these markets enough of an opportunity for specialty coffee growers? What is the real potential? Should producers invest their efforts in their countries, and what can the sector do to facilitate these opportunities? Vera Espindola Rafael shares the intriguing early results of a study into domestic consumption of specialty coffee. 

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

0:00 Introduction
3:00 Coffee producing countries need to grow their domestic consumption to keep more value of their coffee’s value within their countries
8:20 Brazilians, Mexicans, and Colombians are consuming a lot more of their own coffee
13:20 Specialty cafe owners in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico are motivated by offering their customers the best coffee their countries have to offer and pay sustainable prices to their producers. The producers find business is easier selling to cafes in their own country
17:50 Even though Brazilians, Colombians, and Mexicans have a GDP per capita of less than US$10,000 per annum, many are willing to spend their money on specialty coffee
22:00 Despite these strengths, coffee is still a niche segment with low volume. But Vera believes there is scope to develop these specialty coffee industries further