March 23, 2023

PRF El Salvador brings together thousands of coffee professionals in San Salvador


On 16 and 17 March, Producer Roaster Forum (PRF) – the world’s largest producer-focused event – returned to El Salvador for the first time since 2016. The two-day forum, which attracted thousands of international industry professionals, took place at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre in San Salvador.

Alongside a series of engaging lectures, panel discussions, and workshops, PRF El Salvador also hosted four competitions. These included the 2023 Salvadoran Barista Championship and Brewers Cup, as well as the second instalment of the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship and the inaugural Global Roasting Contest.

Moreover, PRF El Salvador was also the stage for the first-ever edition of the Global Coffee Awards: a new industry awards programme recognising excellence and innovation in the coffee sector.

Read on to find out what happened at PRF El Salvador this year.

Learn more about PRF El Salvador here.

Martin Mayorga and other coffee professionals speak to an audience in San Salvador.

Bridging the gap between producers and roasters

PRF is a world-leading coffee event, each edition of which takes place in a coffee-producing country in Latin America. Its aim is to drive green coffee sales and highlight Latin America as a leading international knowledge centre for the coffee industry.

At the beginning of PRF El Salvador, Henry Wilson, founder and CEO of PDG Global, welcomed attendees to the two-day forum. He spoke about the importance of holding world-class coffee events at origin.

“It is a real privilege to host an event like this in El Salvador,” Henry said in his speech. “Each year PRF has grown and grown, with the vision of connecting and building meaningful business relationships between the most important stakeholders in the coffee industry.

“We were delighted to see people travelling from Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, the UK, Serbia, China, the US – people from over 70 countries are attending,” he added.

Lectures & panels

Over both days, as well as an extensive trade show, there was also a series of lectures featuring some of the leading experts in the coffee industry. These included:

  • It’s time to change the standards for how we market and sell coffee (Martin Mayorga of PRF Diamond Sponsor Mayorga Coffee)
  • Circular economy: Implementing scalable coffee packaging solutions (Mark Zhou of PRF Gold Sponsor MTPak Coffee)
  • Curating green coffee: Matching production with consumption (Bram De Hoog of PRF Bronze Sponsor Ally Coffee)

Alongside insightful lectures, PRF El Salvador also hosted several panel discussions over the two days, which included:

  • Winning the World Barista Championship with WBC coach Federico Bolaños, Carlos Pola of Finca San Antonio & Las Brisas, and 2011 World Barista Champion Alejandro Méndez as panellists
  • The role of women in the Salvadoran coffee sector which featured María Pacas of Café Pacas, María Elena Botto of IWCA El Salvador, and Ana María Schmidt of Finca Montealegre
  • How can we make specialty coffee less elitist? with Jonathan Moral of Café de Finca, Ingrid Olivo of Finca Montagu, and Rodrigo Giammattei of Café Caté
Dale Harris speaks to the audience at PRF El Salvador.

Workshops and cuppings

PRF El Salvador also included a number of workshops and cuppings across both days.

The workshops covered a wide range of topics and were hosted by renowned coffee professionals, including:

  • World Barista Championship: How to develop your drinks & routine led by 2017 World Barista Champion Dale Harris
  • How can we make sample roasting more relevant to producers hosted by ONA Coffee’s Sam Corra
  • Educational roundtable for Mayorga Scholarship recipients (Becados) led by Martin Mayorga

Martin Mayorga is the CEO and founder of Mayorga Coffee, PRF Diamond Sponsor.

“One of the things that PRF is built around is including producers in the conversation,” he says. “But it’s not always realistic for producers to be able to afford the logistics, the meals, and the hotels to come to these events. 

“The Mayorga scholarship really allows them to join the conversation, which is critical to the future of coffee,” he adds.

Cupping sessions at PRF El Salvador, which were sponsored by Official Water and Cupping Sponsor BWT water+more, were run by some of the most innovative farmers and traders in Latin America, including:

  • Café de El Salvador
  • Café Pacas
  • Finca Santa Matilde
  • Café Tuxpal

BWT water+more also provided all of the water used to brew coffee at both the Espresso Bar (sponsored by Mixing Group) and the Brew Bar (sponsored by Pirómano Coffee Roasters).

A barista performs his routine at a Salvadoran coffee competition.

Competitions at PRF El Salvador

This year’s forum hosted several prominent coffee competitions. In partnership with Café de El Salvador, PRF held the 2023 Salvadoran Barista Championship and Brewer’s Cup. This is the first-ever PRF event to host official national coffee championships.

Across both days, competitors received support from 2017 World Barista Champion Dale Harris and 2017 Australian Brewers Cup champion Sam Corra.

On the second day of the event, Carlos Cubias was announced as the 2023 Salvadoran Barista Champion. Alejandro Méndez also placed first at the 2023 Salvadoran Brewers Cup. Both competitors will go on to represent El Salvador at the World Coffee Championships in June later this year.

Furthermore, alongside the two national coffee championships, PRF El Salvador also hosted two more competitions. These were the second edition of the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship and the first-ever Global Roasting Contest.

Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship

First held at PRF Colombia in 2022, the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship took place over both days at this year’s event. Hosted in partnership with the official Cold Brew and Cold Brew Bar Sponsor Toddy, on day one, competitors prepared their cold brew and were scored by a panel of technical judges.

On day two, competitors presented their drinks in three formats:

  • Pure concentrate (minimum 30ml)
  • Diluted concentrate (minimum 30ml, ratio at competitor’s discretion)
  • Designer non-alcoholic drink (must contain competitor’s concentrate)

The winners of the 2023 Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship were Juan Aristizabal from Colombia and Julia Dziadevych from Ukraine.

Global Roasting Contest

For the first time ever, PRF also hosted the groundbreaking Global Roasting Contest. Its unique judging format is unprecedented in the global coffee industry – allowing all event attendees the chance to engage and take part in the competition.

Julio Guevara is the Director at PRF.

“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,” he says.

On the first day of the event, all competitors had 30 minutes to roast one 500g sample of green coffee supplied by official roasting sponsor !FEST Coffee Mission. Eduardo Choza, Director of Coffee at Mayorga Coffee, also mentored and provided support to participants.

On 17 March, three judges selected the four highest-scoring samples to proceed to the next round. These four coffees were then served on the Brew Bar.

As part of the competition’s unique final assessment round, all PRF attendees were invited to taste all four samples at the Brew Bar and cast their votes.

The winner of the first-ever Global Roasting Contest, who received an Aillio Bullet Roaster R1 V2, was Shaun Aupiais from South Africa.

A winner is announced at PRF El Salvador.

The inaugural Global Coffee Awards

Finally, this year’s event in El Salvador also hosted the Global Coffee Awards – a new awards programme recognising and celebrating key innovators and leaders in the international coffee industry.

As part of the first edition of the Global Coffee Awards, four judges evaluated entries over a number of categories and selected a winner for each. This year’s judges included María Pacas, Dale Harris, Nicole Battefeld-Montgomery, and Tony Dreyfuss.

The winners of the PRF El Salvador Global Coffee Awards 2023 are:

The awards ceremony took place on the second day of the forum in the dedicated Competition Zone. Each winner received a digital and printed certificate outlining their respective award.

A barista volunteer pours coffee at PRF in San Salvador.

Following the success of PRF El Salvador, the event will return to Colombia later this year. On 14 and 15 September 2023, PRF Colombia will take place at Plaza Mayor in Medellín, and is expected to welcome thousands of international attendees once more.

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

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

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