MEDELLÍN, Colombia – The announcement was met with a palpable sense of excitement: in 2023, Producer & Roaster Forum (PRF) would return to El Salvador for its sixth instalment. It provided the perfect teaser for what has been a successful two days at Plaza Mayor in Medellín, Colombia.
Cuppings, workshops, competitions, and keynote speeches filled both days, with a number of world-famous industry figures making appearances across the board.
On Stage One, three-time UK Cup Tasters Champion and author Freda Yuan delivered an enlightening talk on the value of blends alongside Tony Dreyfuss, while 2022 World Barista Champion Diego Campos pulled shots alongside 2017 champion Dale Harris in the afternoon, drawing a huge crowd of spectators.
“My experience at PRF has been excellent,” said Freda, who also ran a sensory analysis workshop. “I’ve met so many producers and roasters, and I think it’s an event that connects both sides together. It’s amazing that I’ve been able to share my knowledge here in Colombia.”
Competition winners & PRF 2023
The second day at PRF Colombia also produced champions for the event’s two competitions: the Cold Brew Championship by Toddy and the Barista Jam by Pergamino.
Former Colombian Barista Champion Mauricio Romero was crowned Cold Brew Champion following a hard-fought contest, while Breyner Palacio showcased his impressive latte art skills to become the first Barista Jam winner.
“It’s been an incredible opportunity to teach about cold brew,” said Julia Leach, the founder of Toddy, the company which sponsored the Cold Brew Championship. “But also to learn how our equipment and expertise can help others in the region.”
In addition to competition winners, PRF also picked up where it left off on Thursday with a number of deals between roasters, traders, and smallholder farmers, and a series of keynote speeches and panels across stages one and two.
Highlights included Edwin Noreña’s insightful talk on the value of experimental processing, Luke Schneider’s discussion about branding in the coffee sector, and Juan Felipe James’ insight on how to win in negotiations.
“This event is very important because producers are at the centre of it,” said Tony Dreyfuss, who spoke about the value of blends on Stage One. “It’s been a wonderful learning experience. I’ve felt a lot of community between everyone here.”
As the day came to a close, it was also announced that the next PRF event would be held in El Salvador, with details to follow in the coming months.
Producer & Roaster Forum Colombia 2022 biggest talking points
Henry Wilson delivered an opening speech about the importance of producer-focused events. The PRF founder spoke about the necessity of putting producers front and centre as he marked the event’s launch in Medellín, Colombia.
Freda Yuan’s cupping workshop offered an alternative approach to sensory analysis. The three-time UK Cup Tasters Champion and Head of Coffee at Origin Coffee Roasters captivated participants at her sensory analysis workshop, explaining how all the senses can be harnessed to “taste”.
The inaugural Cold Brew Championship & Barista Jam events took place. Toddy and Pergamino sponsored successful competitions which sought to discover the best cold brew and latte art talents, with Mauricio Romero and Breyner Palacio crowned the respective winners.
Attendees sit on the floor to hear Julián Cucuñame’s talk on controlling variables in coffee processing. CuBa BIOTEC’s scientific director gave an enlightening talk on Stage Two, which attracted more people than there were seats.
Diego Campos & Dale Harris showcased competition-level barista skills. The World Barista Champions pulled shots for excited spectators, showcasing the talents that secured their titles in 2022 and 2017 respectively.
El Salvador announced as host country for Producer & Roaster Forum 2023. The Central American country was unveiled as the host country for a second time, with the event having previously been held there in 2016.