“We’re so much more than just a packaging company,” explains MTPak Coffee founder, Mark Zhou. “We’re part of the wider coffee community, and a committed part of the supply chain.”
This became abundantly clear at the Producer and Roaster Forum (PRF), which took place at the Salamanca Exhibition Centre in El Salvador from 16 to 17 March.
As a Gold Sponsor of the event, MTPak Coffee benefitted from a dedicated branded space at the event.
This allowed eager attendees to discover more about sustainable packaging and its importance to the future of the industry while networking with producers from across the globe.
Our founder, Mark, visited local coffee farms as part of the Sourcing Trip Experience to develop a greater understanding of the supply chain, as well as the importance of direct trade with farmers.
PRF: An event for the coffee community
Now in its sixth instalment, the world’s largest producer-focused event returned to El Salvador for the first time since 2016.
Drawing attendees from over 70 countries, including Serbia, China, the US, and Kenya, the event is committed to uniting the coffee supply chain.
As a platform, PRF has provided coffee producers across Latin America with opportunities to share insight and form relationships with key international stakeholders in face-to-face conversations.
CEO and founder of PDG Global, Henry Wilson launched PRF after noticing a lack of producer-focused events.
Marking the start of PRF El Salvador with his opening speech, Henry expressed his excitement in how the global scope of the event had developed.
“It is a privilege to host an event like this in El Salvador,” Henry said. “Each year, PRF has grown with the vision to connect and build meaningful business relationships between the most important stakeholders in the coffee industry.”
The action-packed two-day event consisted of insightful talks from several industry professionals, including Albert Scalla from StoneX, Sam Corra of ONA Coffee, and Lewis Harding from Coffee Exchange.
Educational workshops covered topics such as the importance of water in brewing, how temperature can influence extraction, and how sample roasting can be better adapted to producers.
Additionally, PRF hosted several exciting competitions, such as the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Championship and the Global Roasting Contest, as well as El Salvador’s National Barista and Brewers Cup competitions.
MTPak Coffee: Dedicated to creating a sustainable industry
Since launching in 2016, MTPak Coffee has been committed to not only driving innovation and sustainability in the coffee packaging industry but strengthening the roaster community as a whole.
We supply roasters and coffee shops worldwide with compostable and recyclable coffee packaging that can be used throughout the supply chain.
In addition, we offer valuable advice on how to move away from a “take-make-waste” approach to a more long-term strategy.
Over time, MTPak Coffee has become a trusted voice on some of the industry’s most important topics. Our Education Centre offers a range of perspectives and industry insight to help coffee professionals make more informed decisions and reach consumers more effectively.
In this sense, MTPak Coffee has the same overarching goal as Producer & Roaster Forum: to generate conversations in the coffee industry and bring awareness to innovation in everything from sourcing to packaging.
This year, we were able to showcase our range of sustainable packaging solutions at a spectacular booth at PRF. Designed by Salvadoran visual artist, Armando Márquez, our booth invited attendees to explore our packaging and takeaway options by scanning custom-printed QR codes.
This smart solutions approach has made it easier for clients to engage with the MTPak Coffee team and adopt eco-friendly packaging practices.
PRF also perfectly aligns with MTPak’s belief in direct trade, whether sourcing coffee or packaging.
“Direct trade is important because it allows roasters to communicate their needs to the people who are actually manufacturing the products,” Mark explains.
“It’s a simple concept, but very few packaging companies offer it. They prefer to go through large distributors who are often less equipped to handle client requests,” Mark concludes.
Visits to local coffee farms, like those facilitated by PRF are essential for coffee businesses. Origin trips allow brands to build closer working relationships with the farmers and meet new producers in the region.
By visiting farms, coffee businesses get the opportunity to sample a variety of coffees, discuss targets and goals in terms of quality and yield, and negotiate production volumes and sales prices for future harvests.
Face-to-face meetings with farmers and partners at origin are also invaluable. They can help break down barriers, build trust, and provide full transparency about any problems faced in the partnership.
A step closer to a circular economy within the coffee sector
MTPak Coffee has always been driven by a mission to promote a circular economy and create a more sustainable supply chain, from seed to cup.
As a result, we have launched The Circular Economy Grant: a scheme designed to recognise small, independent coffee roasters and coffee shops that are using their business as a force for good.
This also aligns with the intentions behind the Producer & Roaster Forum events: to create a sustainable supply chain that contributes to the long-term success of the coffee industry.
PRF is one of the industry’s most impactful coffee events held in a producing country. It is also a valuable opportunity for international coffee producers and roasters to network, establish business relationships and partnerships, and gain global market insights.
MTPak Coffee is incredibly excited to continue playing an essential role at PRF Colombia 2023, which will return to Plaza Mayor in Medellín, Colombia, from 14 to 15 September.
We hope that our continued commitment to this event will encourage more and more roasters to take part in the conversations it aims to ignite.