February 9, 2023

PRF announces the Global Roasting Contest


Last year, Producer & Roaster Forum (PRF) announced that it will return to El Salvador – where the first PRF event was held in 2016. On 16 & 17 March 2023, PRF El Salvador will take place at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre in San Salvador.

The two-day forum will attract thousands of international coffee professionals – including roasters, traders, and baristas, as well as producers. Alongside an extensive line up of lectures and panels, attendees can also take part in a number of workshops and cupping sessions.

Furthermore, for the first time ever at the event, PRF will host the Global Roasting Contest – a competitive, world-class roasting championship sponsored by European green coffee trader !FEST Coffee Mission.

Read on to learn more about the Global Roasting Contest, its unique judging format, and how you can apply.

Learn more about PRF El Salvador here.

A team of PRF baristas at PRF Colombia.

What is the Global Roasting Contest?

PRF is a world-leading coffee event held each year in Latin America. Its focus is to drive green coffee sales and highlight Latin America as a leading international knowledge centre for the coffee industry.

Each year, PRF hosts the two-day forum in a different origin country, and brings together thousands of coffee professionals from around the world.

As well as speeches, lectures, panels, workshops, cuppings, and more, PRF El Salvador will feature its first-ever roasting competition – the Global Roasting Contest.

Julio Guevara is the Director at PRF.

“The Global Roasting Contest will bring a number of coffee professionals together on a competitive yet accessible platform,” Julio says. 

The overall aim of the Global Roasting Contest is to create a coffee roasting competition unlike anything else the industry has ever seen. It will showcase the skills and talents of roasters and coffee professionals from around the world.

Its unique judging format – which includes a final assessment round where all PRF El Salvador attendees have the chance to vote for their favourite coffee – is unprecedented in the global coffee industry. Moreover, this one-of-a-kind setup will mitigate judging fatigue to assess samples more equitably and democratically.

Who can apply?

The competition is open to any coffee professional with a minimum of two years’ roasting experience. As well as head and assistant roasters, green coffee quality control and cupping professionals, Q-graders, traders, producers, and baristas are also able to participate – with a specific focus on encouraging women and professionals from origin countries to take part.

As both equipment and coffee will be provided, the Global Roasting Contest requires little upfront investment from competitors – making it more accessible to a broader range of people.

“It’s PRF’s aim to showcase not only the high-level skill of roasting, but to also encourage producers to utilise this skill, too,” Julio says. “Roasting can help producers to understand their product more, which can open up many more opportunities for them.”

PRF El Salvador will also host the 2023 Cold Brew Championship from 16 to 17 March, which will be sponsored by Toddy. As well as this, PRF will co-host the 2023 Salvadoran Barista and Brewers Cup Championships.

The !Fest Coffee Mission team at a coffee industry trade show.

Introducing the Global Roasting Contest sponsor

The Global Roasting Contest is sponsored by !FEST Coffee Mission, who will supply green coffee samples for the competition.

Dimitri Slukin is the CEO and green buyer at !FEST Coffee Mission.

“We are a specialty green coffee sourcing company from Ukraine,” he says. “We help to create direct trade relationships between producers and roasters.

“As part of this, we also provide full transparency on the prices paid for coffee and agricultural practices that farmers use, as well as all information about our coffees and the producers who grow them,” he adds. “We take a direct trade approach and value our long term working relationships, and PRF allows us to do both: to establish new connections and to strengthen our existing relationships.

“We want to act as a direct link between producers and consumers, so sponsoring the Global Roasting Contest was in line with our vision,” he continues.

The Aillio Bullet R1 V2 coffee roaster.

What are the rules of the Global Roasting Contest?

The Global Roasting Contest will be a high-level, accessible, inclusive, engaging, and interactive roasting competition open to a number of highly-skilled coffee professionals from around the world. This includes roasters, Q-graders, green coffee traders, cupping professionals, and producers.

“We want to highlight the importance of sample roasting – a skill that almost everyone working with green coffee needs to learn, including producers, Q-graders, exporters, importers, and roasters,” Julio says.

As part of the competition, participants will roast one 500g green coffee sample provided by !FEST Coffee Mission on Aillio’s Bullet Roaster R1 V2 – which the winner will also receive as a prize.

Who can participate?

  • At least eight coffee professionals will take part in the competition.
  • Participants need to have at least two years’ roasting experience, and also need to have experience working with a wide range of roast profiles.
  • The competition is open to international applicants.
  • Applicants should be able to cope well under pressure and in a competitive environment.
  • Participants need to have a PRF El Salvador ticket.

How does the competition work?

  • Successful applicants will be able to experiment with the Aillio Bullet Roaster one day prior to the event (on 15 March 2023) at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre.
    • Competitors will need to show venue staff their PRF ticket and confirmation of participation to gain entry.
  • The competition will take place on 16 and 17 March 2023, with all coffees roasted on day one and all coffees judged on day two.
  • Each competitor has 30 minutes to roast one 500g sample of green coffee supplied by !FEST Coffee Mission.
    • All green coffee samples provided are identical.
    • All competitors receive samples – and thereby know which coffees they will be roasting – before the contest takes place on 16 March.
    • PRF attendees can watch competitors take part in the contest.
  • For the second judging round, all roasted samples will be left to degas overnight.

How will the roasting samples be judged?

The Global Roasting Contest judges will be Dimitri Slukin, Ola Brattås, import and roastery manager at Kaffebrenneriet, and Marjorie Canjura, Quality Evaluation Programme lecturer at Coffee Quality Institute.

  • On the morning of 17 March, the judges will review all samples, then choose the best four samples to proceed to the next round.
  • These four samples will then be served at the Brew Bar from 15:00 to 17:00 using a ratio of 55g/l. 
    • The samples will also be prepared using the same brew temperature and method, as well as grind size.
  • As part of the competition’s unique final assessment round, all PRF attendees will be invited to taste all four samples at the Brew Bar.
    • Attendees need to show their PRF ticket at the Brew Bar to try the competition coffees.
    • Anyone who tastes the samples can anonymously cast a vote for their favourite coffee.
  • PRF will announce the sample with the most votes as the winner at 17:00 on 17 March 2023.
  • The winner will receive an Aillio Bullet Roaster R1 V2.

The unique judging format of PRF’s Global Roasting Contest is unprecedented in the global coffee industry – allowing all event attendees the chance to engage and take part in the competition. 

PRF attendees can also watch participants compete and roast coffee samples, creating an interactive competition experience for all visitors.

The founders of !Fest Coffee Mission at a coffee industry trade show.

How can I apply?

The Global Roasting Contest will be a groundbreaking coffee competition. Its unique judging format will encourage participation from a wide range of international coffee professionals, with a focus on highlighting and showcasing world-class roasting skills.

All PRF attendees with a minimum of two years’ roasting experience are welcome to apply. Applicants need to fill out this form, and must also ensure they are already attending PRF El Salvador.

A panel of industry experts will review all applications, who will select a minimum of eight successful applicants.

Customers observe baristas preparing coffee at PRF El Salvador.

PRF El Salvador will take place at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre in San Salvador on 16 & 17 March 2023.

To find out more about tickets for the Sourcing Trip Experience, a separate package which also includes a ticket to the two-day PRF event, you can find more information here.

You can stay up to date with all announcements for PRF El Salvador here, or by subscribing to the newsletter here

Photo credits: Sergio Gonzalez, Aillio, !FEST Coffee Mission

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