A group of dedicated industry professionals review and update the World Coffee Championships Rules & Regulations each year, with the goal of reflecting the high standards of the coffee industry. This process seeks to improve the competitor experience, increase fairness, and honor the support of our community and our sponsors, so the World Coffee Competitions can continue to grow with our industry.
Changes this year have focused on the World Latte Art Championship. The Art Bar portion of the Preliminary Round has been streamlined to focus on core bar skills, and as a result will have reduced competing time. To further focus on bar skills, in all rounds where food colouring can be used in designer drinks, competitors will only be able to use one colour. A number of workflow and process clarifications have been made around the provision of milk and coffee, with longer competitor performance times introduced as a result of new minimum shot extraction times. Together these changes should bring an increased focus on competitors’ free-pour skills, and better reflect bar service and the drinks that are served in a café environment.
The World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship rules have received only minor updates to synchronize with the other competitions, including moving to gender-neutral language, and some vocabulary and grammar clarifications. The full rule-sets that will be in use in the 2018 championships as well as a summary of all 2018 changes are available below:
- 2018 WLAC RULES AND REGULATIONS
- 2018 WLAC SUMMARY OF CHANGES
- 2018 WLAC – TECH SCORESHEET – FINALS
- 2018 WLAC – TECH SCORESHEET – PRELIM
- 2018 WLAC – TECH SCORESHEET – SEMI FINALS
- 2018 WLAC – TALLY SHEET – HEAD JUDGE with ART BAR
- 2018 WLAC – VISUAL SCORESHEET – PRELIMINARY
- 2018 WLAC – VISUAL SCORESHEET- SEMI AND FINAL
- 2018 WLAC – ART BAR SCORESHEET
- 2018 WLAC – HEAD JUDGE SCORESHEET-STAGE PRESENTATION
- 2018 WCIGS RULES AND REGULATIONS
- 2018 WCIGS TECHNICAL VISUAL JUDGE SCORESHEET – PRELIMINARY ROUND
- 2018 WCIGS JUDGE SCORESHEET – SPIRIT ROUND
- 2018 WCIGS HEAD JUDGE SCORESHEET
- 2018 WCIGS TECHNICAL VISUAL SCORESHEET – FINAL ROUND
- 2018 WCIGS TASTE JUDGE SCORESHEET – PRELIMINARY ROUND
- 2018 WCIGS TASTE SCORESHEET – FINAL ROUND
A new Alternative Roasting Competition format has been introduced for use by national bodies if they chose, which gives greater flexibility in producing the event, while maintaining the core focus of the competition. The specifications for the exact type of roasting machine required for competition have also been made more flexible and easier to source.
Evaluation has been made more rigorous and directed, starting with the specification of the desired qualities of the World Coffee Roasting Champion: someone who produces the best quality roast with the coffee provided; demonstrates the ability to evaluate green and roasted coffee, use and master roasting equipment, and develop a roast to meet a planned taste; and can accurately describe the final roasted product as defined in their roast plan.
Roast evaluation has been updated based on protocols developed by the Roasters Guild, giving much greater specificity to the cupping and scoring process. This includes a complete cupping protocol specification, and overhauled production roast scoring based on the key aspects of roast development. Scoring of quakers and roasting defects has also been clarified.
Fans attending the World Coffee Roasting Championship this year will get new chances to try the coffees being roasted by the competitors, and to share their thoughts in a blind “audience choice” section. It’s sure to be a great competition this year, so don’t forget to mark your calendar for 12-14 December, in Guangzhou, China.
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Rules & Regulations
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Summary of Changes
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Roast Plan Score Sheet
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Product Evaluation Score Sheet
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Green Grading Score Sheet
- 2017 World Coffee Roasting Championship Overall Scoresheet
Yes! Join us during the Budapest Championships at the World of Coffee Budapest show for an in-person Q&A with members of the working group and WCE staff on June 13th.
Q. Will National Body Championships have temperature adjustment, multiple layouts, or tech judging modifications in 2017?
A: All National Body Championships in 2017 will continue with the existing temperature setting, single layout, and technical evaluation rules. There is a strong desire to minimize changes at National Body events this year to ensure an equally fresh playing field at Worlds for all competitors.
Evolving the 2018 National Body format will involve evaluating how best to transition evolutions over from the World Barista Championships.
Q: So where is Tech Judging heading?
A: As skills & technique progress in competition, there has been consistent feedback that technical evaluation has tremendous value, especially at the regional and national level, but that technical evaluation needs to evolve along with the industry. Removing technical judging from semi-finals and finals of the WBC is a step in exploring the potential for more technical creativity, without substantially modifying the evaluation standards competitors are currently training for across all competition levels.
There is a strong desire to evolve technical evaluation and judging as part of the 2018 Rules & Regulations process, so that as competitors progress, technical evaluation can continue to promote best practices, technique mastery, and attention to detail.
Q: Can competitors request the setting of the espresso machine pressure, pre-infusion, or individual boiler/group-head temperatures?
A: Competitors may only request a single overall temperature setting of their machine, with all other parameters remaining fixed. Additional technical setting flexibility is a consistent request from competitors, and we are excited to be able to offer temperature setting on the VA388 Black Eagle, thanks to the support of WBC Qualified Sponsor, Nuova Simonelli. Further exploration of technical setting flexibility is definitely desired, within the realm of feasibility and fairness for World and National Body event production.
Q: Is music choice going away!?
A: Only in the preliminary round. Competitors will qualify by performing a focused routine to a shared soundtrack in the first round, and then in semifinals and finals, they give their routine to their chosen music. To learn more about the production tradeoffs that made this change necessary, you can read on below.
Q: What does “the flavor profile of the beverage served should support specialty coffee” language mean?
A: In last year’s rules, the “Accuracy of Flavor Descriptors” and “Taste Balance” scores for all beverage courses had the following sentence:
There should be a correlation between the coffee beans used in the [beverage] and its taste profile
The way this sentence was understood and applied was never particularly clear, and many people had questions about the subjectivity inherent in a judge’s preconceptions of how coffee bean should correlate to coffee beverage. To address this subjectivity head-on, that correlation sentence was replaced with “support specialty coffee.” Every competitor, judge, and fan is going to have a different preconception of “specialty coffee,” so this language clarifies that it is up to the barista competitor to serve and describe flavor profiles that support their creation of a positive experience of coffee quality for everyone with their routine.
We hope that by removing the “correlation to bean” language will also allow competitors to feel free to present a wider range of coffee origins, varieties, and styles. The “Accuracy of Flavor Descriptors” score should be focused on the clarity and accuracy of a flavor descriptor based on what is served to the judges. The score is not an evaluation of how much the Yirgacheffe coffee being served tastes like a Yirgacheffe should, or a Geisha a Geisha, or a washed coffee a washed coffee, etc.
Q: What is happening this year with the WBC Teams Competition and the wild-card semi-final placement? Which competitors are on each team?
A: We’re excited to be announcing the 2017 Teams composition at the WBC Q&A Session during World of Coffee (see above for more info). Teams are formed based on the number of confirmed national bodies competing, balanced with historical ranking data.
WBC competitors still prepare and deliver their own individual routines on stage. The scores of the individual routines factor into a team’s overall score, with the member of the winning team who has placed the highest in the main competition qualifying for the semi-final round. If the highest placing team member has already qualified for semi-finals, this wild-card position then defers to the second highest ranking member of the same team.
A goal of the WBC Evolution Group is promoting collaboration and support amongst team members without introducing substantial additional preparation needs for competitors. This informs the Team Bar shift at the WBC, where team members can work together to engage and serve the audience in fun ways, choosing from provided coffees, ingredients, and equipment.
Q: Can different station layouts be chosen for different rounds?
A: No, the competitor will choose a single layout for all rounds.
Q: What is the “balance” component added to visual evaluation of milk drinks?
A: “Balance” considers how the components of the design are positioned relative to the frame of the cup. Harmonious visual balance considers the relative placements of the design components, and the centering of the total design relative to the cup frame.
To open-up new service possibilities at the World Barista Championship, competitors will now be able to select from 9 new table configurations, with multiple height & seating options. To allow more espresso extraction control, competitors will be able to request the temperature their espresso machine is set to. The documents have been updated to be gender-neutral, to better support the diverse range of people that make up the coffee community. To accommodate huge growth in competitor numbers, multiple staggered competitors will now perform on stage in the preliminary round. In the semifinal and final rounds, evaluation will shift to sensory and service experience, with no separate technical scoresheet or judge, allowing a focus on the skill and creativity of the world’s top competitors.
Standards have tremendous educational value, and demonstrated excellence in technique is key to determining who should compete on the world stage. To affirm these values and ensure a level playing field and equal preparation opportunity for all competitors, National Body Barista Championships will be continue with standard layout and temperature, and technical judging in all rounds.
Please find more information about some of the major changes below, as well as the 2017 WBC Rules and a full side-by-side summary of changes.
Multiple Station Layout Option
All WBC layouts utilize a 7m diameter no media circle, a 1.8L x 0.9W x 0.9H (m) espresso machine table, and two interchangeable tables approximately 2.4L x 0.75 W x 1.0 H (m) for preparation and/or service. These tables can be put on either face, allowing competitors to select both 0.75m and 1.0m height preparation and service options. The competitor will also be able to choose table or bar height seating options for their judges. Judges may be placed at any table, and may also be asked to stand. Asymmetric layout options may also be mirrored left-right.
Staggered-Start Preliminary Round
Inclusivity and diversity are two of the World Barista Championship’s core missions. With an extensive preliminary round that spanned two near-twelve hour days in 2016, the competition continued a trend of the schedule becoming at odds with its mission, with competitors competing outside of show hours. In order to ensure that competitors get to run their entire three-course performance during the preliminary round – whilst simultaneously wanting to avoid lengthening the overall competition – WCE and the WBC Evolution Group conferred with past Champions and top 2016 competitors to find the best possible solution: staggered start times with multiple competitor routines being run on stage at once. The resulting running schedule is more accessible for everyone, including competitors, volunteers, spectators, and staff.
Each routine will be individually and simultaneously Livestreamed in full, with opportunities for post-routine interviews. To prevent undue live auditory interference, there will however be only a single carefully chosen soundtrack playing in the arena during preliminary round performances, with individual competitor soundtracks remaining as an option in the semi-final and final rounds.
Enabling the WBC to continue to grow sustainably requires hard questions about how to best preserve and balance the many things competitors have said they find important about the WBC experience—things like being able to give their full three-course service, having a video and stream of their routine for supporters, being able to compete at reasonable hours, having sufficient preparation & routine time, and having individual routine music. The WBC Evolution Group and WCE Staff understand that the simultaneous preliminary round presents substantial changes for competitors, and will continue to work on the best ways to maintain the integrity of the WBC experience, while encouraging competitors to embrace the opportunities that are being created for new approaches and new demonstrations of skill.
WBC Teams & Expanded Semi-Finals
At the WBC, an expanded semi-final round will include performances from the top 15 competitors, plus a 16th wild-card position awarded to the member of the winning team in the WBC Team Competition who has the highest individual score but is not already qualified for semi-finals. Each competing national body is placed in a team based on historical performance data, with each competitor giving their own individual stage routines, while supporting and working with each other off-stage. The composition of the 2017 teams will be announced in June at the Budapest Championships, along with more information about team collaboration and bar service.
Technical Judging & Shared National Body Championships Format
The scheduling, production, and equipment needs of national barista championships vary worldwide, and so a functional, shared national body championship format is critical to guaranteeing that at the World Barista Championship, every competitor will be walking onto an equally new stage. To ensure there are no unfair preparation advantages for a competitor based on the timing or format of their National Body Championships, a shared layout, temperature, and technical judging approach will be used for National Body Championships, with a separate set of updated template National Body Rules & Regulations being distributed for ease of use. For details on the the table height range, flavor descriptor language and other small changes in the 2017 National Body Rules & Regulations Template, please read the 2017 National Body Competition Summary of Changes here.
WCE Technical Judges play a critical role in communicating standards of performance across the globe, functioning as a very valuable differentiator of competitor levels, especially at the national body level. Technical Judging will remain for the 60+ competitors in the 2017 WBC preliminary round, and the World Coffee In Goods Spirits Championship and World Latte Art Championship will continue with technical judging in all rounds. Technical judging will continue to be supported through certification in the World Coffee Championships, as well as through the World Competitions Education Program (WCEP), and additional education initiatives.
There is every possibility that following the success of the 2017 changes, more changes will evolve and the national body competitions will continue to vary from the WBC. WCE and the Working Group are however very aware that the national body competitions are the road to the WBC and they have a huge scope. Analyzing the success, value, and production needs of the 2017 WBC format progressions will drive the consideration of how to continue evolutions in the 2018 WBC and 2018 National body competitions.
All of these changes are part of a multi-year process of examination, consideration of feedback, and exploration of future potential, driven by the dedication of industry experts and competition veterans in the WBC Evolution Working Group. Evolution began in 2016 in Dublin with the move from a cappuccino to a milk beverage course, the specification of a common espresso machine and grinder set, and the introduction of the WBC Teams Competition, and based on positive feedback and a widely communicated desire for changes, the WBC Evolution Working Group is excited to bring these new format progressions to the World Barista Championship.
Come see all the excitement live yourself, 9 Nov – 12 Nov at Cafe Show Seoul, where the best coffee competitors in the world face-off at the 2017 World Barista Championship, with 2017 Title Sponsor Ediya Coffee.
2017 World Barista Championship Rules & Regulations Documents:
2017 Rules & Regulations Released For World Brewers Cup, World Latte Art, Coffee In Good Spirits, and Cup Tasters Championships
The WCE Rules & Regulations Working Group is releasing the 2017 Rules and Regulations for the Budapest Championships: the World Brewers Cup, World Latte Art Championship, World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, and the World Cup Tasters Championship—taking place June 13-15, 2017 at World Of Coffee Budapest.
Updating the Rules & Regulations is a process undertaken every year by the working group, a global selection of experts who volunteer their time to ensure that the World Coffee Competitions reflect the highest possible standards for the coffee industry. This process seeks to improve the competitor experience, increase fairness, and honor the support of our community and our sponsors, so the World Coffee Competitions can continue to grow with our industry.
In the World Brewers Cup, new procedures are being implemented to improve the quality and consistency of the compulsory coffee brewed by all competitors, and to verify the integrity of the water and brewing equipment used. To allow for more creativity in service and better standardize judging, a new evaluation protocol that includes the ability to give instructions to Judges is also being introduced, inspired by the World Barista Championship (WBC) procedures.
To respond to the growing number of World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) competitors and better recognize the diverse array of technical and aesthetic skills involved in the competition, a new Semi-Finals round, focused wholly on free-pour lattes and macchiatos, is being created. The WLAC Final Round will consist of both free-pour and designer lattes.
The World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship’s handling of Sponsor Grinders is another rule being aligned with WBC procedure—to give every competitor equal opportunity and to minimize the need to travel with equipment, all competitors are now required to use standardized grinders for both Espresso and Filter coffee, which will be made available for practice and performance at the event by the sponsor. Additional time is being provided in the Spirit Bar, Stage Performance, and Finals preparation times, and competitors will now have the option to choose at which point in their service they wish to signal the end of their performance time.
A small but important quality-of-life change is being made to the World Cup Tasters Championship: You can now put your water on the table! The handling of sponsorship vis-à-vis water and spit cups is also being specified.
This is just an overview of the major changes being made to the competitions. To find out more, you can read detailed summaries for each competition, as well as the full Rules and Regulations, via the links below and on each competition site. If you have questions, please reach out to World Coffee Events via Facebook, or Twitter, or email.
World Brewers Cup
- 2017 Summary of Changes
- 2017 Rules & Regulations
- 2017 Compulsory Service Scoresheet
- 2017 Open Service Scoresheet
- 2017 Head Judge Scoresheet
World Latte Art Championship
- 2017 Summary of Changes
- 2017 Rules & Regulations
- 2017 Visual Scoresheet (Preliminary Round)
- 2017 Visual Scoresheet (Semis and Finals)
- 2017 Technical Scoresheet (Preliminary Round)
- 2017 Technical Scoresheet (Semi Final Round)
- 2017 Technical Scoresheet (Final Round)
- 2017 Head Judge Scoresheet (Stage Presentation)
World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship
- 2017 Summary of Changes
- 2017 Rules & Regulations
- 2017 Technical & Visual Scoresheet (Preliminary Round)
- 2017 Technical & Visual Scoresheet (Final Round)
- 2017 Judge’s Scoresheet (Spirit Bar)
- 2017 Taste Scoresheet (Preliminary Round)
- 2017 Taste Scoresheet (Final Round)
- 2017 Head Judge Scoresheet
World Cup Tasters Championship