The industry gathering will include sessions, interactive experiences, networking opportunities, and much more; registration is still available.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Each year, the specialty-coffee community gathers for the Re:co Symposium, an event from the Specialty Coffee Association featuring talks from thought leaders in and outside of the industry, discussion and networking opportunities, and much more.
While the symposium has traditionally taken place in advance of the Specialty Coffee Expo, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Re:co to become a digital event, last taking place in July 2020. This week—Wednesday and Thursday—Re:co returns for its latest incarnation, with a packed roster of speakers addressing pressing industry topics.
So what’s in store for this week’s Re:co Symposium? The program will feature four main sessions, the first of which, titled “A Glimpse of the Future,” will include SCA Executive Director Yannis Apostolopoulos, National Coffee Association President and CEO Bill Murray, Montana State University Associate Professor Selena Ahmed, and London Business School Associate Professor Ioannis Ionnaou. They’ll discuss what the industry can learn from the pandemic and what developments—such as the rise in home coffee consumption—can be leveraged in the future.
The second session, “Defining Specialty Coffee for a New Era,” will include SCA Chief Research Officer Peter Giuliano, World Coffee Research Communications Director Hanna Neuschwander, and Penn State University’s Allison Brown examining how specialty coffee is assessed, defined, and valued, and how that has been changing over time.
In the next session, “Innovating to Meet Opportunity,” Aleksander Robaszkiewicz of Nestlé, Vaughn Tan of University College London’s School of Management, Pauline Vicard of ARENI, and Jessica Yinka Thomas of Poole College of Management, NC State University, will explore the nature of innovation, and how the pandemic has bred new ideas.
Finally, the session “Understanding Specialty Coffee’s Value” will include 4.0 Brands Director Luis Samper, JNP Coffee Owner Jeannette Nyonzima-Aroian, ETH Zurich Post-Doctoral Researcher Janina Grabs, Lewis & Clark College Associate Professor Elizabeth Bennett, Thrive Farmers Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer Kenneth Lander, USAID Market Systems Specialist Melissa Schweisguth, Catracha Coffee Founder Mayra Orellana-Powell, and Bellwether Coffee Senior Manager, Sustainability, Grayson Caldwell. They’ll discuss how specialty coffee’s value can be distributed across the value chain and within companies with new business models and other methods.
Attendees who have already registered for the event have received Re:co Home Experience Kits, with which they can engage in interactive elements in the various symposium sessions.
In addition to the sessions, the Re:co Symposium will include several networking opportunities—both on-screen and in small group-discussions—which Peter of the SCA is looking forward to. “One thing I’m especially enthusiastic about this year is a new emphasis Re:co is making on helping coffee leaders—both existing and aspiring—get connected with each other after a disconnected and disorienting pandemic year,” Peter says. “It feels like a moment of rebirth for our industry, and the idea of engagement is really exciting to me.”
If you’re interested in attending Re:co, you can secure a digital-only registration here through the end of today. While you won’t receive the sensory experience kits, you’ll get a guide for creating the sensory and coffee experiences using your own materials at home.