PRF Colombia returns with three coffee championships

Earlier this year, Producer Roaster Forum (PRF) – the coffee industry’s largest producer-focused event – returned to El Salvador. The two-day forum brought together thousands of roasters, producers, traders, and baristas at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre in San Salvador.

As well as an extensive trade show, lectures, panels, workshops, and cupping sessions, PRF El Salvador also hosted several coffee competitions – including the inaugural Global Coffee Roasting Contest.

On 14 & 15 September 2023, PRF will return to the Plaza Mayor venue in Medellín, Colombia. The event will host three coffee competitions: the Cold Brew Championship, the second edition of the Global Coffee Roasting Contest, and the Olla Coffee Championship (or Campeonato de Olla in Spanish).

PRF returns to Colombia

Every PRF forum welcomes thousands of industry professionals to a prominent or renowned producing country in Latin America. Although many different supply chain actors and stakeholders attend, the event is one of few in the global coffee industry which focuses primarily on producers. 

The overall goal of PRF is to empower producers and place them at the forefront of conversations which discuss the most pressing and important issues that the industry faces today. Moreover, PRF drives green coffee sales in the host country, and champions Latin America as a global coffee knowledge hub – and thereby helps to retain more value in producing countries. 

Which competitions will take place at PRF Colombia?

This year, PRF Colombia will host three championships which will assess a broad range of competitors’ skills and expertise, as well as celebrating Latin American coffee culture.

Global Coffee Roasting Contest

Following the inaugural Global Coffee Roasting Contest which was held in El Salvador earlier this year, the second iteration of the event will take place at PRF Colombia. The unique judging format of the competition is unlike any other in the coffee industry, with one of the two winners chosen by PRF attendees.

Specialty green coffee sourcing company, !FEST Coffee Mission, is the Official Roasting Sponsor for the Global Coffee Roasting Contest. Dimitri Slukin, the CEO and green coffee buyer at !FEST Coffee Mission, commented, “We buy direct trade coffee and one of our main business values is developing long-term relationships with producers,” he says. “PRF gives us the opportunity to do both – to establish new direct connections and to strengthen our existing relationships. We want to be seen as a direct link between producers and consumers, so sponsoring the Global Coffee Roasting Championship at origin was the right thing to do,” he added.

The competition will take place on 14 & 15 September 2023, with all coffees roasted on day one and judged on day two.

Practice round (13 September)

  • Each competitor has 30 minutes to roast a 500g green coffee sample
  • All competitors receive identical samples supplied by !FEST Coffee Mission for both the practice and competition rounds, and will receive them on 13 September
  • Competitors must arrive at the venue at a scheduled time to practise using ROEST machines
  • Competitors will need to show venue staff their PRF ticket and confirmation of participation to gain entry

First round (14 September)

  • Each competitor has 15 minutes to correctly identify primary and secondary defects in their green coffee sample
  • Competitors then have 30 minutes to roast a 500g sample of green coffee using ROEST machines
  • PRF attendees can watch competitors take part in the contest
  • All roasted samples will be left to degas overnight for the second competition round

Second competition & judging round (15 September)

  • A panel of carefully selected judges will review and cup all samples according to Specialty Coffee Association cupping protocols (not according to the new Coffee Value Assessment protocols)
  • Judges will score all coffees based on flavour, aroma, and competitors’ timing
  • The five top-scoring competitors will proceed to the final round

Final round

  • While the judges decide on a technical winner, all finalists’ samples will be served at the Brew Bar
  • PRF attendees can taste all five samples and anonymously cast a vote for their favourite coffee via a ballot box
  • Attendees need to show their PRF ticket at the Brew Bar to try the competition coffees
  • Two winners will be announced: a technical winner based on the judges’ scores and a “people’s choice” winner

At least eight coffee professionals will compete in the Global Coffee Roasting Contest, which is open to international applicants. Participants need to apply in advance, and have at least two years’ roasting experience – as well as experience working with a wide range of roast profiles. Applicants should be able to cope well under pressure and in a competitive environment, and they must have a PRF ticket to take part.

The registration deadline for the Global Coffee Roasting Contest is 15 August 2023, and you can apply by filling out this form.

Cold Brew Coffee Championship

The third edition of the Cold Brew Coffee Championship will take place at PRF Colombia. Sixteen competitors will go head-to-head to prepare two cold brew-based beverages for a panel of judges.

Toddy is the Official Cold Brew Sponsor for PRF, and will supply the competition equipment: a set of three Toddy Cold Brew Cupping Kits, clean water, and two choices of filters (either paper or “tree free”). Competitors are responsible for their coffee, signature drink ingredients, and any other items not included on the final equipment list. Julia Leach, president at Toddy, commented, “We’re excited to connect with producers and roasters, to learn from them, and to understand more about how we can best support them,” she said. “We are proud to sponsor the Cold Brew Coffee Championship at PRF Colombia. Since most coffee from Latin America is exported, understanding how these coffees can be used as cold brew at origin allows us to tell the stories of these coffees more effectively,” she concluded.

Competition process

All successful applicants will need to attend a mandatory virtual preparation meeting with the contest coordinator on Friday 25 August 2023

Day one:

  • Each competitor prepares their batch of cold brew for a technical judge, who will assess brewing technique
  • All batches of cold brew will be securely stored at room temperature or below

Day two:

  • Competitors present their cold brew as two different beverages in a ten-minute routine for a panel of three judges
  • Cold brew concentrate or diluted concentrate (minimum 30ml)
  • Designer non-alcoholic drink which includes cold brew concentrate
  • The three judges include a technical judge, a sensory judge, and a customer service judge. The first will assess food safety in drink preparation and service, the second will score sensory quality, and the third judge will assess customer service skills

Scores from all three judges will be combined to create a final score for each competitor. Participants who place first, second, and third will each receive a Toddy prize package and a certificate at 16:00 on 15 September.

Participants must have at least two years’ professional coffee experience to compete. While the competition is open to international applicants, PRF also encourages Spanish-speaking presentations to honour and recognise Latin American culture. Prospective competitors must apply in advance and have a PRF Colombia ticket to take part.

The registration deadline for the Cold Brew Coffee Championship is 15 August 2023, and you can apply by filling out this form.

Olla Coffee Championship

In partnership with Colombian coffee company Amor Perfecto, PRF will host the third edition of Olla Coffee Championship (or Campeonato de Olla in Spanish). The competition celebrates and honours the traditional Olla coffee pot – a popular brewing method in many Latin American countries.

The Olla Coffee Championship consists of three rounds: elimination, semi-final, and final. Each competitor will have their own workspace which includes a kettle or other heating device, an Olla coffee pot, and three identical serving cups. Four hours prior to the competition, participants will receive 250g coffee. Competitors can then experiment with different recipes, but must keep some of this sample to brew coffee for the judges.

Competition process

  • Competitors have three minutes per round to prepare their workspace, ingredients, and utensils, as well as to test their equipment
  • During this time, they will not be able to brew coffee or prepare any drinks
  • Per round, each competitor will have six minutes to brew 500ml coffee using the Olla pot
  • Competitors must serve their brewed coffee in three identical cups and present these drinks to a panel of judges. Participants must also explain their brewing recipe
  • In all three rounds, a panel of three judges will each assess one beverage according to several categories: sweetness, flavour, aftertaste, acidity, and overall impression
  • Each category has a total of 20 points, with a total of 100 points across all five categories. This means the maximum score from all three judges totals 300 points
  • The top twenty highest-scoring competitors in the first round will proceed to the semi-finals, while the top four highest scorers will compete in the final round
  • Scores will not accumulate between rounds

Participants must have their own Amor Perfecto Olla coffee pot (which can be purchased at a discounted price from the company’s offices in Medellín or Bogotá), as well as a PRF Colombia ticket.

Applicants must also send a signed image rights agreement form to [email protected]. To find out more information visit the Amor Perfecto website and apply by filling out this form.

What else is happening at PRF Colombia?

As well as the three competitions that will take place at PRF Colombia, there will be an extensive trade show featuring exhibitors from across the global coffee supply chain. Visitors will also be able to attend lectures, presentations, speeches, and panel discussions hosted by some of the foremost experts and leaders in the industry. 

Additionally, there will be interactive workshops hosted by Mayorga Coffee, Toddy, StoneX, and Sigma Advisers. Moreover, PRF Colombia will include several cupping sessions led by Ally Coffee, !Fest Coffee Mission, Those Coffee People, Global Cafés, and Cata Cafe Export. 

On the morning of the second day at PRF, the No Filter panel series will take place. This groundbreaking discussion format serves as a platform for industry experts to have difficult and challenging – but also necessary – discussions.

This year, panellists can choose from the following three panel discussion topics:

  • Is the coffee industry moving forwards or backwards with exporters buying cherry rather than parchment?
  • What’s more important: Price per lb or cost of production?
  • Specialty vs commercial: Which makes more of an impact on producers’ livelihoods?

For more information about Producer & Roaster Forum, visit the PRF website here or email the team here.

Please note: PRF does not cover any travel, accommodation, or other costs for speakers and panellists.

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