A barista carefully brewing a cup of coffee

What does it mean to be the best barista in the world? How can one become the best? Who decides it? All of this and more!

This article contents:

To better understand the Coffee competitions around the world first I will give you an idea of the organization behind these events.


World Coffee Events or WCE is an organization founded in 2011 by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) and the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), who merged in 2017 and became known as SCA.

The current events held on a yearly basis all over the world are:

Their mission is to develop events that engage the specialty coffee community and promote coffee excellence. As you can see, this international organization hosts events all over the world, from China to South America, promoting high-quality coffee and its different methods.


The World Barista Championship also known as WBC is a competition that is held on an annual basis and that is organized by World Coffee Events to determine who is the best barista in the world that year. This year (2019) it will be held at Boston at the SCA Expo.

This barista competition was introduced in Norway, and its first event took place at Montecarlo in 2000. And it was held in Europe and America until 2007 when it was hosted in Tokyo.



To decide who will be the world’s best barista there are three judging stages held over two days. This year’s first round will consist of 42 participants from all over the world who will have to advance to the semifinals round (16 participants)  and then to the finals which will comprise the top 6 scoring baristas who will compete on the last day.


In every round, the participants will perform a 15-minute drill in which they have to serve a total of 12 beverages to each of the four judges:

  • 4 Espressos
  • 4 milk-based beverages
  • 4 Original Signature drinks

There are two types of judges; Sensory and Technical. Sensory judges will award points based on different factors such as presentation, flavor, and the drink’s balance. Technical Judges will award points based on the techniques used by the baristas and the cleanliness of the process. Baristas usually will perform the same routine in all of the rounds that they compete, this is because normally these routines have taken months of preparation and are well studied, so it makes sense that the barista feels comfortable and sure that the result will be positive.

The judges awarded points are then added to produce a final qualification at the end of each round, thus eliminating those with the lower scores. The baristas with the higher scores will advance from the first and second rounds to finally decide who will be the year’s champion.

WBC 2019 competitors


The world of coffee competitions is really exciting and growing every year, more and more people are starting to recognize coffee as a premium beverage rather than just an uplifting drink. These kinds of competitions show us how sophisticated and delicious coffee beverages can be, the Essense team is really excited to watch this year’s Championship, what about you? If you have any comments please share your thoughts with us, we are eager to hear what you have to say!

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