Lanka Coffee Association, in partnership with Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF) and Jetwing Hotels, successfully hosted the second annual Sri Lankan Coffee Festival on 19 May 2023.
The coffee sector in Sri Lanka witnessed a notable transformation and attracted a multitude of market actors leading to significant growth in the industry. This surge in participation has propelled the industry to new heights. In this context the Lanka Coffee Association (LCA) was established, as Sri Lanka’s first coffee association that brought together a variety of stakeholders in the coffee industry to fulfill the goal of developing the speciality coffee sector through several initiatives conducted over the past two years since its inception.
A key activity that marked the comeback of the Sri Lankan coffee industry was hosting the first-ever Sri Lankan coffee festival in 2022. Following the success of this inaugural event, the LCA, in partnership with MDF and Jetwing Group, hosted the second Sri Lankan Coffee Festival on the 19th of May at Jetwing Colombo 07. The Colombo Coffee Company, Temple Grounds and Soul Coffee were gold, silver and bronze sponsors for the event.
Rinosh Nasar, Chairman, Lanka Coffee Association mentioned, “The Sri Lankan Coffee Festival hosted by the LCA, is a celebration of our rich coffee heritage and the incredible opportunities ahead. At the LCA, we are focused on pushing the growth of the Sri Lankan coffee industry from plant to cup and uplifting the livelihood of our coffee farmers.”
The 2023 Sri Lanka Coffee Festival not only showcased the quality and diversity of local coffee but also emphasised the importance of promoting investment in this growing sector. The event featured various activities, including panel discussions on the “Upward Journey of the Coffee Industry in Sri Lanka: The Challenges Faced and The Way Forward”. Moreover, the festival provided an excellent platform for coffee growers, processors, and roasters to showcase their products and network with potential buyers and investors.
The Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives, H.E. Paul Stephens, was the guest of honour at the festival and delivered the keynote address. He shared Australia’s commitment to supporting the growth of the specialty coffee sector in Sri Lanka and mentioned, “We are pleased to witness Sri Lanka’s continued commitment towards sustainable development of the coffee sector, and the Australian Government will continue to be a proponent to drive prosperity and inclusivity through our continued collaboration.”
At the mini exhibition, Colombo Coffee Company, Temple Grounds, Soul Coffee, Helanta Coffee, Elpitiya Plantations, Valli products presented their coffee, allowing the public to experience the unique taste and aroma of locally grown coffee. Concurrently, the finals of the LCA Barista Championship took place with the emerging winner being Suraj Nipunasiri from Butter Boutique (Regional barista championships were hosted in Dambulla, Galle and Negombo regions throughout April).
The audience experienced the unveiling of “Sri Lanka’s Coffee Renaissance: A Guide to the Speciality Coffee Industry” at the festival—a game-changing report by MDF. This report unlocks invaluable insights into the local specialty coffee sector and reveals key investment opportunities. To build on the synergies of coffee and tourism, Jetwing Group, Sri Lanka’s leading hotel chain, was the platinum sponsor for the event. Chairman of Jetwing, Symphony PLC, and The Lighthouse Hotel PLC, Hiran Cooray added, “Tourism and coffee are like two perfect blends, each complementing the other in creating a unique and unforgettable experience for travellers seeking to discover the beauty and coffee culture of Sri Lanka. Being a part of the 2023 Coffee Festival was a great opportunity to showcase the growing coffee culture and its link to tourism.”
The LCA hopes to further develop the coffee sector and to once again place Sri Lanka in the global coffee arena. With the support of its ever-growing membership, the association hopes to activate more programmes and initiatives targeting the a variety of stakeholders in the coffee value chain in Sri Lanka.