MEDELLÍN, Colombia – The Producer & Roaster Forum (PRF) was held in Medellín, Colombia, on 30th June – 1st July, with a blockbuster lineup of speakers, workshops, and exhibitors. The queues to enter the event on the first day stretched right across the length of the Plaza Mayor venue, which hosted dozens of exhibitors, booths, and workshops.
Producer & Roaster Forum (PRF)
“It’s a real privilege to be in a world-leading coffee-producing country surrounded by thousands of international guests,” said PRF founder, Henry Wilson, in his opening speech on Stage 1.
For each speech, workshop, and cupping session, attendees met to learn more about the supply chain and connect with other coffee professionals. Among the 5,000 attendees were coffee producers, roasters, baristas, traders, and industry leaders from more than 50 different countries.
“This is a great opportunity for us to learn about specialty coffee,” said a fourth-generation farmer from the coffee-growing region of Huila. “We are using our time here to learn about different varieties and processing methods so we can diversify the selection on our farm.”
A number of world-class speakers gave talks across two stages – one hosting talks in English, the other in Spanish – covering a range of topics, including emerging trends in the Middle East, the challenges of launching a coffee shop in a producing country, and the potential for Latin American coffee in Asia.
One highlight in particular was the talk by Julian Cucuname of CuBa BIOTEC who discussed the importance of controlling variables during coffee processing. A packed room saw attendees sitting on the floor to hear what he had to say.
Nicholas, a producer from Café Sativa, was just one of the people in attendance.
“In order for the coffee industry to develop and grow, it needs information, knowledge, and education,” he said. “The talks at PRF serve that purpose, helping producers of all sizes raise their standards and produce high-quality products.”
Direct economic impact
PRF Colombia is expected to bring a number of direct economic benefits to the local coffee industry, both in the short and long term.
In addition to directly employing more than 50 people from around Medellín over the two days, the event is expected to drive an estimated US $10.5 million (42,000 million Colombian pesos) in sales and bring more than US $300,000 (1,300 million Colombian pesos) directly to the city. Around 200 volunteers are also participating.
“PRF is crucial for connecting all the different actors across the coffee supply chain,” “In Colombia, it allows us to generate sales and also understand trends from abroad, because there are so many international visitors.
“However, it is also incredibly important for tourism here. It promotes the city’s reputation as an international coffee hub, not just in Colombia but around the world.”
While PRF has always had an impact on the local coffee industry in the host country, this year is particularly significant as it supports coffee professionals to recover from months of pandemic-induced turmoil.
The hope now is that the business relationships formed at PRF can help many more bounce back from what has been an undoubtedly challenging period. As such, attendees are looking forward to day two of this year’s Producer & Roaster Forum.