PRF Guatemala positions itself as a hub for coffee entrepreneurship and innovation

PRODUCER & ROASTER Forum returned to Guatemala on 7 & 8 March 2024.
  • PRF took place in Guatemala on March 7 & 8 2024
  • The event hosted its first-ever PRF Seed initiative with a total capital of US $26,000, three coffee competitions, and its Global Coffee Awards
  • The next event – PRF Regenerate – is confirmed to take place on 17 & 18 October 2024 in Santander, Colombia 

PRODUCER & ROASTER Forum returned to Guatemala on 7 & 8 March 2024. The two-day forum was held at the Anacafé headquarters in Guatemala City. It is one of the few industry events that places a clear focus on cultivating producer-buyer relationships and takes place in a coffee growing country.

“Hosting PRF in coffee producing countries in Latin America is very intentional,” says Henry Wilson, CEO of Producer & Roaster Forum. “We’re so used to trade shows taking place in the more traditional coffee consuming countries. Having it here (Guatemala) means more producers can attend, creating a more balanced platform for producer-buyer networking.”

Usual popular features like PRF Voices, Cuppings, and Workshops took place. But this year marked new developments that underscored disruptive entrepreneurship and innovation. The forum inaugurated the PRF Seed scholarship programme – which distributed US $21,000 to four entrepreneurs and community leaders in the coffee industry.

It also hosted the second edition of the Global Coffee Awards, which celebrates innovators and leaders in the coffee industry, and three coffee competitions.  

PRF Seed rewards innovators

PRF Seed seeks to foster entrepreneurship and support leading volunteers and scholarship recipients in bringing their community-focused initiatives to life. It forms part of PRF’s social commitment programme, and pooled a total capital investment of US $26,000.

“People who are innovating and putting in the work to positively impact the industry, and who put their community first, deserve recognition and motivation,” says Henry. “That’s what PRF Seed is all about.”

Martin Mayorga, CEO of Mayorga Coffee, (US $11,000), Henry Wilson, CEO of Producer & Roaster Forum (US $10,000), and Michelle Fish, co-founder of One BIGG Island in Space (US $5,000), allowed finalists to go home with seed funding for their enterprises.

Scholarship recipients included:

Isalia Martínez from Honduras. Isalia received US $6,000, and will use funds to set up a women-owned coffee co-operative in her rural community

Nickolle Sánhez, also from Honduras, who received US $5,000. Nickolle will allocate funds towards opening childcare facilities across some of Honduras’ coffee-producing regions

Fabián Zapata from Colombia. Fabián received US $5,000, and will use funds to set up barista training courses and invest in new equipment at a coffee shop in Quindío, Colombia

Víctor Rojas, also from Colombia, received US $5,000. Victor will dedicate funds towards expanding his coffee truck business, Café Chimila, across the Colombian-Caribbean coast

Champions, speakers and award finalists set the industry bar high

The PRF Voices speakers programme is designed to cut through the noise and spotlight topics that are meaningful and of strategic importance for industry stakeholders. The goal is to help entrepreneurs see the bigger picture so they can scale up and think long term.

“PRF has helped us see where the industry is heading and how to change our mindset from solely focusing on local sales to expanding our business,” says Gabriel Cordón, a producer at La Cabaña Estate in Colombia, who attended the event.

At this year’s PRF Voices programme, a total of 28 international speakers took part – including 12 lectures in English and 16 lectures in Spanish.

PRF Guatemala hosted the second edition of the Global Coffee Awards, which places international coffee industry innovators and leaders front and centre.

Brands and individuals who go the extra mile to participate in building a resilient and collaborative coffee community received awards, including:

Volunteer of the Year – Xilene Siquero of Copan Trade, Peru

Becado of the Year – Norlan Medina from Honduras

Speaker of the Year – Albert Scalla of StoneX, US

Booth of the YearOnyx Coffee in Guatemala

Partnership of the YearOne BIGG Island In Space, US for its Finca Terrerito project

PRF’s third Global Coffee Roasting Contest, fourth Cold Brew Coffee Championship, and first-ever French Press Championship took place alongside the rest of the activities, singling out outstanding technical performance. Winners included:

Global Coffee Roasting Contest: Technical winner, Carlos David Rivera of Charles Café in Honduras. People’s Choice winner, Charlie McIntyre of New Heights Coffee Roasters in the US.

Cold Brew Coffee Championship: Byron Meléndez of Luma Café in El Salvador, Luisa Santos of Coffeina Café in Colombia, and Julián Trejos of Cafeína Coffee Shop in Colombia.

French Press Championship: Brandon Hernández of Icoffee Solutions Guatemala and Andy Zoneta of Paradigma Coffee Roasters in Guatemala.

The next event – PRF Regenerate – is confirmed to take place on 17 & 18 October 2024 in Santander, Colombia.

woman cupping coffee

Coffee Intelligence

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