The COVID-19 pandemic brought unexpected challenges and uncertainties to every business activity across the globe. While Korea was seriously affected by the COVID-19 in early 2020 however, the country managed to keep the spreading of the virus at a relatively low level in the subsequent months which allowed the Seoul Café Show 2020 to be held at Coex, Seoul Korea from 4 to 7th Nov 2020 as it was originally planned.

The world-wide lockdown coupled with tightened travel restrictions and regulations made it impossible for the Fairtrade coffee producers to physically attend the Café Show. Since most of the domestic coffee buyers were expected to be present at the exhibition, Fairtrade Korea decided to participate in the show with necessary safety protocols and adjustments made to the program. Cafe Show Seoul is a global coffee fair known to integrate business, knowledge, and culture under one platform through its various Programs.

Pic: The booth was equipped with high-speed Internet connection, a laptop, a separate screen and camera, as well as a new pair of individual audio set for each meeting attendee. 

Since the Korean market is considered to be the gateway to the Asian market with the prediction of the Korean coffee market industry to reach 8.6 trillion won (7.18 million US dollars) by the year 2023 therefore Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) in coordination with Fairtrade Korea made arrangements for remote participation of the coffee producers so as not to lose out the opportunity of promoting the coffee profiles of Asia Pacific region at the growing market.

Pic: Visitors meeting at the booth

12 coffee producers from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam participated in the show remotely by submitting an application about the cooperative and sending coffee samples to Fairtrade Korea for buyer cuppings. Samples information were shared with the buyers before the show for selection.


All the coffee samples were received in advance, listed, and stored, like last year, however, instead of holding cupping events on site, buyers were encouraged to receive the samples at their own labs for cupping.

58 samples from Asia and Pacific Region was shared with 09  buyers.


Private cuppings were pre-arranged cuppings with individual buyers. The samples for the cupping were also pre-selected by the buyers from the samples list.

Public cuppings were held once each day with samples selected by FT Korea with recommendations from Producer Networks.

Online Business Meetings with the buyers

Pic: Meetings of Producers with buyers

Online B2B meetings were pre-scheduled and held in form of video conferences via ZOOM. The buyers were given a choice to attend the meetings from FT Korea booth at the show or from any other location of their preference.

A total of 49 business meetings were organized between buyers and producers from the 03 Producer Networks.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

The entire show was held in accordance with additional COVID-19 19 safety protocols. We are thankful to Fairtrade Korea for yet another great show despite the multiple challenges this year.


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