This world-class event has become one of the most anticipated events in the global coffee industry. Every year there are changes to the rules of the 2023 barista competition.

In December 2022, the Speciality Coffee Association released changes to the 2023 barista competition rules. These regulatory changes revolve around participants, judges’ scoring, and participant performance evaluation.

2023 Barista Competition (WBC) Rule Changes

Some of these rule changes were made in fairness for the 2023 world barista competition. The changes that have occurred have certainly had a big impact.

Regulation on the Use of Dairy Products

Participants can use commercially sold animal and plant-based milks. Previously, participants had to use cow’s milk.

This is the most visible change. Because previously, the use of milk other than cow’s milk would get a score of 0.

Barista Competition Rule Change: Judging Score Sheet

With the change in the rules for using plant-based milk, there were differences in the evaluation and rating scale sheets.

This change is based on standards set by the SCA. There will be 4 assessments, including:

  • Score yes/no (1/0) at the Evaluation Scale stage
  • Numerical score from 0-3 for ‘Accuracy’
  • Numerical score from 0-3 for ‘impression’
  • Numerical score from 0-6 for ‘experience’

Unlike the previous competition, the scoring ranged from 0-6. In addition, the judges may award half points.

In WBC 2023, the judges may not award half points. They can provide a scale ranging from 0 to 3.

This scoring scale is more concise and creates balance on the playing field. It also makes the judging process more streamlined.

Texture and Tactile Assessment

In the espresso course, one of the categories of ‘Taste Experience’ is the aftertaste assessment. This is also the reverse part of the tactile descriptor assessment.

This assessment seems more logical to some. Because the aftertaste is considered to be more representative of the flavor than the taste in the mouth.

WBC participants must also provide a description for the thickness and texture of the espresso. The description will get a score from the judges.

This assessment required participants to describe the espresso more accurately and precisely while in the mouth and afterwards.

Others are judged on percentage, barista’s coffee knowledge, use of space, and total impression.

Meanwhile, technical barista skills are also important for the WBC judges.

The participant’s score is an assessment based on several aspects of the performance.

Changes in Judging by Judges

There have been some changes to the way the judges assess these aspects. Among them:

  • Presentation: Judges look for originality in the concepts, methods, techniques and materials used.
  • Coffee Knowledge and Proper Use of Equipment and Space: Divided into sub-categories in rule 15.4. Competitors must demonstrate that they have mastered these capabilities.

Not only that, but the score of the impressions also extends, and should at least include answers to the following questions:

  1. Did her performance inspire a deeper connection with coffee?
  2. Is the experience immersive, thought-provoking, or essential for specialty coffee?
  3. Will the barista inspire me about specialty coffee?
  4. Does the show enliven the coffee artisan industry?

Thus, participants can score the highest quality coffee presentation. If you can’t, you can add a high score through your performance and concept.

Different Extraction Temperatures

All WBC competitors must use the same espresso machine. However, nowadays, the brewing temperature is also set between 90.5° and 96°C (or 195°F and 205°F).

In addition, individual group head temperatures can also be selected. Consideration of the amount of temperature greatly affects the extraction results.

As a result, it will have a great impact on the flavor, aroma and texture of the espresso. For this reason, baristas must be more innovative and creative.

So, those are the 2023 barista competition (WBC) rule changes that the SCA has made. This competition is the pinnacle of the coffee industry in the world. Source : (*)

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