Alarms and Leadership Toward Change | Re:co Symposium 2019

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Today, we’re very happy to present the second episode of “Cost of Production and Profitability for Coffee Producers,” a session recorded at Re:co Symposium this past April. Buyers and producers alike need to understand what it takes to produce specialty coffee so that it can be produced sustainably, so we convened experts to ask: Do we really know what specialty coffee costs? If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes in this series, we strongly recommend going back to listen before you continue with this episode.

In today’s video, Chad Treweck moderates a panel featuring Réne León Gómez, Herbert Peñalosa, Peter Dupont, and Michelle Bhattacharyya on the subject of farmer profitability. Beginning with the socio-economic impacts of lasting low coffee prices, the panel focuses on the further impacts of weakened and underutilized coffee processing infrastructure. Leaders–one producer and one roaster/retailer–tell of their own actions as businesses that drive toward positive change in spite of dominating free market forces that keep values for coffee low. Together, they conclude with an example of how the banana industry was able to feel safer engaging in critical dialogue that includes the entire value chain to address its challenges–which are parallel to our own in 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 Introduction by Chad Trewick
6:00 René León Gómez of PROMOCAFE presents numbers showing vast economic inequalities between companies in coffee consuming countries and producers in coffee-producing countries. Despite all the wealth generation in coffee consuming countries, this low period of low prices are making coffee production unsustainable for coffee producers.
13:00 Herbert Peñalosa on how LaREB helps give producers better margin by taking out many middlemen by each side, roasters and producers, working smarter and taking on more responsibilities.
26:45 Peter DuPont of how Coffee Collective communicates to their consumers the prices they pay to their coffee producers.
36:30 Michelle Bhattacharyya on her experience with the World Banana Forum experience and how focusing on the living wage helped protect the banana sector from anti-trust laws.
47:00 Outro