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Adam Pesce

Reunion is one of North America’s largest and most sustainable coffee roasters. It is a second-generation, family-run business that roasts out of a bullfrog-powered facility in Oakville, Ontario, and has a consumer-facing café on Roncesvalles in Toronto.

Reunion’s business includes Reunion-branded specialty coffees that are roasted in-house and private-label coffee supplied for companies globally. It began as a B2B company and has grown over the years to reach consumers directly as well.

Tell us about yourself?

Reunion is a family business, and my father, Peter, has been in the coffee industry since the late 70s, so it’s safe to say I was born into it. Peter was a pioneer in the Canadian specialty coffee industry and really paid attention to the quality of coffee he was roasting.

I started at Reunion after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Politics. I worked at Reunion while also going to culinary school at night and eventually working in kitchens, unsure of what I wanted to do. When I left school, I knew I wanted to do some good in the world, but it wasn’t until I started travelling to coffee origins as a buyer that I saw the inequity in the supply chain and the exploitation that existed inherent in the coffee trading model. From that point, I understood that coffee could be the conduit with which I could do something positive.

Since joining the business, I have been a vocal advocate for improving sustainability standards within the coffee industry, while focusing on making Reunion the best version of itself in both sustainability and quality.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

We’ve made so much progress in the past 12 to 18 months. Honestly, if I could go back, I would just convince myself to start sooner! I’ve gotten caught up with letting ‘perfect be the enemy of good’. When you start getting the work done, you realize how quickly progress can be made, and the paralysis that can come with trying to be perfect is harmful, especially when you’re trying to improve things for your staff and your environmental impact. It’s another reminder that a lot of small steps of progress can really add up very quickly.

Reunion Coffee Roasters

What problem does your business solve?

Reunion Coffee Roasters provides specialty coffee that is both sustainable and accessible to any and all consumers. “Specialty” coffee, by its very nature, is the best of what the coffee world has to offer, so for many consumers, it can feel a bit intimidating to approach it if they’re used to more commercial coffee. We are trying to bridge the gap for consumers to find better coffee with sustainable initiatives behind it that is just a better version of what they’re used to.

Reunion has been making impactful strides for a more sustainable business over the years as well. We are proud early adopters of the Bullfrog Power and the B-Corp Movement and work closely with incredible partners like Fair Trade Canada and Rainforest Alliance to ensure sustainability within the supply chain.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The coffee industry is notorious for being unsustainable. We are working to change this as much as we can by providing coffee that is sustainably, ethically, and responsibly sourced and produced.

With an accessible price point, we want Reunion to be the go-to coffee for all Canadians. We have a variety of specialty blends to suit different tastes.

What is your magic sauce?

I think that where we have set ourselves apart is in our long-term relationships. We are still family-owned, and as we change and grow, knowing this is important to our customers, vendors, and staff. With multi-generational relationships, we can create an environment of trust across our supply chain and with everyone involved in the business. There has been a lot of consolidation and private equity money coming into our industry that can but doesn’t necessarily de-personalize the day-to-day.

I love to stay involved on all levels, and with our level of flexibility being a virtue to many of our customers, it feels more important than ever to stay involved and work closely with the team.

Reunion Coffee Roasters

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

From a business growth standpoint, we are focused on growing our presence in the retail market while maintaining our core strengths in food service, hospitality and office coffee. It’s a tricky balance, but if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that having a diversified product lineup and set of capabilities is the key to resilience and prosperity.

From a sustainability standpoint, the next frontier is achieving true Net Zero emissions status. It’s a journey we are on now, and it will be a long road, but we are committed to getting there as soon as possible. We are working on some major carbon reduction strategies now that are really exciting for us. There have been so many advancements to help businesses do better on this front, so diving in on these projects is just a joy for us!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic notwithstanding, I think it’s always been a challenge to balance growth and sustainability, especially in the days before sustainability was something most people cared about or even knew about. Thankfully, it’s just become a huge part of who we are. It is what we are known for and what everyone expects out of us. So, it’s less about the balance now and more about figuring out how the growth can push our impact and vice versa.

Thankfully, we have stayed steady over the years, really maintaining who we are as specialty coffee roasters that fundamentally believe in sustainability. We have moved into different markets and formats and gone through many operational challenges, but at our core, it’s just really great coffee done well.

How can people get involved?

Visit or follow us at @reunioncoffee