We recently announced that for the first time ever, PRF will host officially-sanctioned national coffee competitions that lead to the World Coffee Championships.
In an incredible act of fellowship and support, two of our prominent PRF El Salvador speakers have offered to guide and mentor the Championship competitors the day before the events.
Both Sam Corra, Director of Coffee at ONA Coffee in Australia and Dale Harris, COO of Hasbean and Ozone Coffee Roasters in the UK will share their knowledge and experience with Salvadoran baristas to help them prepare for these exciting challenges.
Read on to learn more about their contribution and why they’ve chosen to get involved.
Bringing genuine experience to the table
Both these mentors have had their fair share of experience in major coffee competitions. In 2017, Sam became the Australian Brewers Cup Champion, while Dale was crowned the 2017 World Barista Champion.
Since then, both professionals have delved deeper into the coffee industry, influencing many would-be Championship competitors along the way.
“I have come to realize that I have been privileged with exposure and access to resources that aided not only my own world competition in 2017, but also shaped me to be a better coach and to assist all the competitors I have been lucky enough to work with in my coffee career on a regional, national, and world level,” Sam explains.
He emphasizes that these competitions are about “so much more” than mere talent and a passion for coffee. As such, he’s volunteering his time to give El Salvador National Barista Championship and National Brewers Championship competitors insider knowledge that they might not otherwise have access to.
“Resources, access to knowledge, mentorship and the team behind a competitor often play such a huge role in their ability to achieve success,” he says. “We are playing a game and insider knowledge of what format works is paramount.”
He also believes that assisting those furthest from this “insider bubble” creates a better competitive standard in producing countries. Ultimately, this creates the possibility of seeing new champions who “just need the right tools and resources for them to reach their true potential”.
Sam witnessed this first-hand with two previous World Barista Champions: Agnieska Rojewska and Matt Winton. However, he says that for more independent Championship competitors to succeed, financing can no longer “be an anchor stopping us from seeing the next inspiration in our industry”.
“Look at Martin Shabaya in 2021, who came fifth in [WBC Milan 2021],” he continues. “Having that platform and exposure creates a strong pillar of inspiration and aspiration for future baristas. Seeing that they can also succeed is the positive reinforcement we as an industry need to try and provide.”
Standing up for Latin American coffee
Sam also believes that by elevating coffee competitions in producing countries, we’re “closing the loop” in the coffee supply chain. Specifically, he feels that the industry can only collectively push for excellence when everyone in the supply chain is included.
“To better understand excellence in coffees, it’s amazing for producers and people in producing countries to also have the understanding and ability of how coffees from their own countries are being prepared and utilized to get the most optimal expression,” he says.
That’s why he’ll be on hand to offer his direct support to competitors at PRF El Salvador. Although he’s still figuring out exactly how he’ll be helping, some early ideas include a short workshop on brewing theory and water and dialing-in open-service coffees backstage.
And, although his specialty is Brewers Cup, he’ll assist Dale wherever he can with barista competitors, too.
“I’d love to especially work with the brewers and baristas in first making sure their coffees are roasted to a standard that showcases honest expressions of the coffee they have chosen,” he adds. “I’ll have my Nucleus LINK roaster unit with me, so if anyone wants help in that area, I will happily help where I can.”
We can’t wait to witness the El Salvador National Barista Championship and Brewers Championship at our very own event. PRF El Salvador will take place from March 16-17 at the Salamanca Exhibition Center in San Salvador. Visit our ticketing page here to secure your place ahead of the two-day forum.
We’re also grateful for the opportunity to host these competitions in partnership with Café de El Salvador, our Official Partner at PRF El Salvador.