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Coffee Equity Lab


The Coffee Equity Lab at the Wond’ry combines research, practice, and teaching to pursue meaningful and coordinated resolutions to equity challenges for all actors across the coffee supply chain.

The Lab also engages students in experiential learning opportunities through which they may learn about and engage in the pressing social and ecological challenges shaping our world through the lens of the global coffee sector.

The Lab carries forward the Vanderbilt Institute of Coffee Studies‘ 15-year legacy of coffee research. It is housed in the Social Innovation Practice at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s 13,000 square foot on-campus center for innovation.

REGISTER TO ATTEND our Fall 2021 Coffee Equity Conversation Series. Want to stay tuned for other opportunities? Sign-up to receive our newsletter here.



We work with industry to envision coffee’s more equitable future and the many steps we will each need to take to get there. Then, using equity-centered design and systems thinking, we collaboratively identify and develop meaningful opportunities to link together our unique roles, responsibilities, and resources in pursuit of a more equitable and sustainable coffee industry for all coffee actors, human and more-than-human. 


We facilitate publicly accessible and inclusive conversations about coffee’s greatest equity challenges. In these conversations, we strive to explore how we may collectively pursue more equitable futures for all coffee actors. In planning these events, we strive to pass the mic to individuals whose perspectives and experiences are not regularly included in public conversations about coffee’s greatest equity challenges.


We use systems research to advance understandings of the root causes and effects of coffee’s current equity and sustainability challenges. Through this research, which is almost always collaborative, we then identify levers of change and develop guidance on modes of action that may be undertaken by actors with different roles, responsibilities, and resources in the sector.


In everything we do, we strive to democratize access to research-driven educational resources, helping ensure that all actors in the sector–irrespective of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, or ability–are able to make informed decisions that guide them towards reaching their fullest potential as members of the global coffee community.


Upcoming opportunities to connect with us and get involved are listed below!



  • Register to Attendour Fall 2021 Equity in Coffee Lecture Series
  • Facilitate an in-person or virtual sensory workshop, Ongoing: More information coming soon.
  • Become a speaker or moderator in a future “Equity in Coffee” lecture series. More information coming soon.
  • Contact us to learn about sponsorship and partnership opportunities with the Coffee Equity Lab.




  • Fall 2020 – Third Wave Coffee, Maya Farmers, and the Creation of Value
    Presented by: Dr. Ted Fischer
    Watch Recording
  • Fall 2020 – On Being Black in Coffee
    Presented by: Alicia Adams & Phyllis Johnson
    Watch Recording
  • Fall 2020 – Coffee’s Interdisciplinary Intersections
    Presented by: Dr. Elizabeth Meadows, Dr. Peter Martin, Dr. Tiffany Patterson, Dr. Amanda Little, Dr. Holly Tucker
    Watch Recording
  • Recordings from the Spring 2021 Coffee Track at the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures Summit Coming Soon.


The work of the Coffee Equity Lab wouldn’t be possible with out partners in higher education and industry. More information on our current partners coming soon!


Are you a Vanderbilt faculty or center interested in partnering with the Coffee Equity Lab? Or, are you coffee industry professional, organization, or business interested in partnering with the Coffee Equity Lab to advance equity for all actors in the sector? Contact Hanes Motsinger, Co-Founder of the Coffee Equity Lab at to learn more about partnership opportunities.

Watch the brief video below to learn a bit more about the motivation for the Coffee Equity Lab.