Over the next 4 days, the world’s best baristas—representing more than 50 countries—will be competing in Vienna for the title of World Barista Champion. The winner will become a global ambassador of Specialty Coffee and a representative of coffee at its best. This year’s champion will become the 13th barista to hold the title, following last year’s winner, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador.
The competition format is fairly straight forward to watch, but the specifics of judging are a bit more complex. In simplest terms, each barista has 15 minutes to serve three drinks to 4 sensory judges—a single espresso, a cappuccino and a signature beverage.
The drinks from each category can be presented in any order, but all drinks in a category must use the same coffee and be served to all 4 judges before the drinks from a different category can be served. There are also 2 technical judges who monitor bar cleanliness and the proper use of equipment, while a head judge oversees timekeeping and that all rules are properly followed. (Complete WBC Rules)
If you’re interested, you can watch the entire event for free on Livestream. Also follow @Sprudge on Twitter for the best text-based coverage of the event or visit Sprudge’s website for competition schedules and other frothy details.