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The 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide Has Landed


Courtesy photo.

The 2023 edition of the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide (SCTG) guide went live today, providing actors throughout the coffee chain a data-driven tool for green coffee price discovery.

The full guide, available in English or Spanish, is downloadable here

Focused on the global specialty coffee market, the 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide found that the median FOB (free on board) price for specialty coffee contracts in 2022/23 dropped by 3% to $3.40 per pound, down from $3.50 per pound in 2021/21.

By comparison, over that same period, the New York C Price for arabica coffee — as established by commodities contract trading on the Intercontinental Exchange — dropped 23% from an average of $2.25 to $1.73.

Additionally, the 2023 edition illuminates a continued trend in which average coffee prices at the highest end of the quality spectrum appear to be the less affected by the ebbs and flows of the commodities market, which cannot be said of the vast majority of the specialty market over the guide’s three-year research period.

The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide was originally launched in 2017 through the work of a small team at Emory University in Atlanta and a pool of “data donors,” including traders and roasters.

Since then, the guide has served as a free third-party resource for green coffee professionals. The SCTG is specifically designed to provide a data-driven alternative to conventional price-discovery tools.

In the 2023 guide, the authors wrote, “Prices reported here do show generally what recent FOB prices look like in a segment of the specialty coffee market where pricing appears to be less tethered to commodity prices.”

“With each additional year of data, we are able to provide more timely pricing insights for the people who sell and buy specialty coffees,” Emory University Professor of Organization & Management and SCTG Founder Peter Roberts told Daily Coffee News this week. “We also get to see how specialty coffee prices do and do not move with the New York C price. For these reasons, I am grateful to the 115 companies whose data donations make each Transaction Guide possible.”


Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide courtesy photo.

The 2023 iteration of the guide relies on anonymized data from 115 companies around the world, including specialty coffee importers, exporters and roasters. Contract data collected from October 2020 to September 2023 summarizes more than 50 billion contracts covering nearly 1 billion pounds of green coffee valued at almost $2.5 billion, according to the Guide.

As in years past, the 2023 Guide summarizes contract data based on key parameters, including: quality score; purchase volume; and country of origin.

Digging into each of these parameters, the Guide illuminates some interesting trends, such as how the specialty market responded to the downturn in the 2022/2023 average C price which dropped 52 cents from the previous year.


“The median price for a container of 83 point coffee fell from $2.74 to $2.20 per pound,” the guide states. “This 54 cent decline roughly matched the 52 cent decline in the New York C price. However, the median price for a 1,000 pound lot of 87 point coffee rose 21 cents to $4.91 per green pound.”

New to this year’s version is also a feature that might allow users to calculate an appropriate indicator for coffees, using a median price, then applying differentials based on cup score, location and/or volume.


Adjusted FOB Price differences across countries, all three harvest years.

The authors are also clear to point out that the guide does not reflect the entire specialty market, and that the median prices presented “do not — and should not — represent mandatory, correct, or appropriate prices in any interpretation of these numbers.”

“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,” 2023 Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide Research Associate and Cheap Coffee Author Karl Wienhold told DCN. “In that sense, the more market actors contributing to it, the better it gets.”

Download the complete 2023 guide here.

Comments? Questions? News to share? Let DCN’s editors know here.