Today, the Specialty Coffee Association released updated Rules & Regulations for the 2023 World Barista Championship (WBC), World Brewers Cup (WBrC), World Cup Tasters Championship, and Cezve/Ibrik Championship. The WBC and WBrC updates mark the largest competition changes since before the pandemic, opening up new service possibilities for competitors and major changes in how judges score and evaluate performances.
All World Coffee Championships (WCC) rules & regulations updates are overseen by the Competitions Strategic Committee – a volunteer leadership group focused on evolving the WCCs in line with strategic goals. Many of these changes introduced today were planned or in progress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the CSC’s work here.
The WBrC criteria for evaluation have undergone significant changes to refocus the competition on evaluating a competitor’s coffee brewing skills. These changes include expanded categories for barista evaluation as well as the decoupling of the competition’s structure from the existing SCA Cupping Form and Protocol. This includes the introduction of a new coffee evaluation scale more clearly aligned with the SCA’s ongoing work to evolve the existing cupping protocol and form into a coffee value assessment system, informed by research and sensory science best practice.
The WBrC competition format will also have major format updates–introducing a Semi-Finals round in 2023. Competitors will now give their open service presentation in Round One (with no compulsory). From there, 12 competitors will progress to Semi-Finals to present a provided coffee through compulsory service. Six competitors will then present open service in Finals, with compulsory scores carrying through from Semi-Finals.
The 2023 WBC updates introduce two new types of scoring scales, alongside the traditional 6-point scores. These scores will help our competitions better align with where our coffee value assessment systems are headed. There have also been efforts to adjust the weighting of different categories, to better reflect the skills and areas of focus for the competitions. In addition, two exciting new updates are being introduced to the WBC. The milk beverage course can now be prepared using plant-based or other animals’ milk. Additionally, world competitors will have the option of brewing their espresso using a range of group head temperatures. Details on the WBC Teams Competition and WBC Team Bar have been memorialized in the rules document, and the nine station layout options return in 2023.
Scoresheets for both the WBC and WBrC have been re-designed for clarity and ease of use. The World Cup Tasters & Cezve/Ibrik Championships updates focus on small language changes for clarity and consistency across the WCCs.
Alongside these rules updates, the SCA is announcing the expansion of the espresso machine sponsorship criteria to include allowing fully-automatic machines to bid for the 2024 World Latte Art & World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships, alongside traditional machines.
“We are delighted to see the competitions changing with the release of the rules & regulations for the Athens World Coffee Championships,” said Bart Deprez, Competitions Strategic Committee Chair. “These updates are rooted in the strategic objectives that the CSC envisioned to keep the competitions moving forward, and have been in place for many years. We look to seeing more innovation on stage in Athens, and continuing the pace of competitions evolution in the future”.
Full rule sets, summary of change documents, and scoresheets are available at the links below. We recognize that these are large changes for the competitions community, and we will be hosting a number of webinars to support and answer questions. If you have any questions about these changes, please email [email protected]