A Brief Overview of The 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide

The eagerly awaited 2023 edition of the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide (SCTG) has officially been unveiled, offering a robust data-driven resource for participants across the coffee supply chain to navigate the intricacies of green coffee price discovery.

Available for download in both English and Spanish, the comprehensive guide delves into the dynamics of the global specialty coffee market. Noteworthy findings from the 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide reveal a 3% decrease in the median FOB (free on board) price for specialty coffee contracts in the 2022/23 period, settling at $3.40 per pound, down from $3.50 per pound in the previous year.

In stark contrast, the New York C Price for arabica coffee, established through commodities contract trading on the Intercontinental Exchange, witnessed a substantial 23% decline from an average of $2.25 to $1.73 during the same timeframe.

A significant highlight from the 2023 edition is the ongoing trend indicating that average coffee prices at the highest quality spectrum seem to be less susceptible to the fluctuations of the commodities market. This resilience stands in contrast to the broader specialty market, as observed over the three-year research period covered in the guide.

Originally launched in 2017 by a dedicated team at Emory University in Atlanta and supported by data contributors including traders and roasters, the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide continues to serve as a valuable free third-party resource for professionals in the green coffee industry. Positioned as a data-driven alternative to traditional price-discovery tools, the guide aims to provide timely and insightful pricing information.

Peter Roberts, the founder of SCTG and Professor of Organization & Management at Emory University, remarked, “With each additional year of data, we are able to provide more timely pricing insights for the people who sell and buy specialty coffees.”

Drawing from anonymized data contributed by 115 companies worldwide, including importers, exporters, and roasters, the 2023 guide presents a summary of more than 50 billion contracts covering nearly 1 billion pounds of green coffee, valued at almost $2.5 billion.

Key parameters such as quality score, purchase volume, and country of origin continue to guide the presentation of contract data in the 2023 guide. Notable trends emerge, shedding light on how the specialty market responded to the downturn in the 2022/2023 average C price, which decreased by 52 cents from the previous year.

Introducing a novel feature, this year’s guide allows users to calculate an appropriate indicator for coffees by applying differentials based on cup score, location, and/or volume to a median price.

It’s crucial to note that the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide, while illuminating industry trends, does not encompass the entire specialty market. The median prices provided are emphasized as not representing mandatory, correct, or universally appropriate prices. Instead, the guide serves as a valuable tool for stakeholders to understand prevailing prices, assess justifiability, and establish or interpret prices based on historical precedents. As Karl Wienhold, 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide Research Associate, affirmed, “It’s a tool to let everyone along the chain know what prices are being paid for what types of coffee, whether those prices are justifiable or not, and to know how to set or interpret prices based on precedent.”


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