Photo: Elizabeth Chai for World Coffee Events

According to the Rules and Regulations, all competitors at the World Barista Championship are asked to compete on a shared set of equipment to give them a standardized starting point. In order to enable this, the competition’s Qualified Sponsors provide equipment for all competitors. This document outlines the procedures around the provision of espresso grinders. These procedures are supplemental information for competitors, designed to answer common questions about the equipment. For full information about grinders, please refer to section 4.4 of the WBC Rules. For information on the provided espresso machine, please see section 4.1.

Any questions may be directed to [email protected]

Grinder Procedures:

  1. Competitors may only compete in the WBC using the following Mahlkönig grinders: Peak, EK43, or the shorter EK43(S). Mahlkönig will provide grinders, based on the grinder model each competitor selects at registration.
    1. All grinders will be brand new.
    2. All grinders will have the standard factory-seasoned “Espresso” burrs installed, and will go through seasoning at the factory. Additional grinders will be seasoned on site before being distributed to competitors.
  2. During online registration, WBC competitors will be asked to select whether they intend to bring their own grinders, or use the provided grinders, and if they intend to use provided grinders, what model(s) they would like to use.
  3. If a competitor chooses to use a provided grinder, they will receive their grinder onsite before their scheduled practice time, at which point they become responsible for the grinder.
    1. Competitors may not take sponsor grinders off-site.
    2. Competitors will return their grinder(s) to Mahlkönig once they are done with their competition time.
    3. If a grinder is not returned, the competitor will be invoiced.
    4. Competitors may not internally modify their grinders or install any other parts.
  4. In the case of a competitor bringing their own grinder, that grinder must be one of the approved models, with the “Espresso” burr-set and only manufacturer’s original parts installed, with no other modifications or additions.
    1. All grinders that competitors bring themselves will have their status verified by Mahlkönig prior to competitor practice time. A sticker will be applied to seal the grinder, which may not be opened from that point.
  5. If it becomes necessary to open any grinder at any point, the grinder must be resubmitted to Mahlkönig for inspection and sealing.
  6. All grinders will have their seals inspected before they are allowed on stage.
  7. Competitors are responsible for ensuring that there is enough time for Mahlkönig to inspect and seal grinders before their competition time.

ADDENDUM On Personal Grinder Usage 3/21/2019:

WCE has received inquiries and feedback from multiple competitors, asking for clarification on how burr alignment processes and tools affect point #4 of the grinder procedures concerning no modifications of personal grinders.

The spirit of the rules on shared equipment in all of the World Coffee Championships is an intention to provide a level, accessible playing field for all competitors, which is why substituting non-factory standard components into machines is not allowed, nor is it allowed to add in new components that change the function of a piece of equipment. However, the intention is not to penalize people who bring their own equipment that they are already comfortable using. In this spirit, after consultation with volunteer leadership, WCE would like to clarify that burr-alignment procedures or components that competitors have already used on their personal grinders will not be considered  “modifications” under the rules. All personal grinders will still need to be inspected and verified to be using the manufacturer standard parts, including the Espresso burr-set.

Grinders for all competitors in Boston are being provided by Mahlkönig, the 2018-2020 Qualified Grinder Sponsor of the World Barista Championship, and these grinders may not be modified. Not only have the official Mahlkönig grinders for the 2019 World Barista Championship passed the WCE qualified product testing, but Mahlkönig has also implemented ongoing and rigorous quality control, before, during, and after product manufacturing. Due to this, Mahlkönig has absolute confidence in the performance of their grinders. For WBC-provided equipment in Boston, Mahlkönig will be adding an additional layer of quality control inspections in their Durham, North Carolina facility, as well as on-site prior to competitor assignment, furthering their commitment to providing the best equipment for the very talented group of coffee professionals on the world stage.