Coffee Masters™ is a fast-paced, multi-discipline global barista tournament taking place twice a year (US and UK). The next competitions will be held at The New York Coffee Festival, October 6 – 8, 2023.

The competition sees some of the world’s best baristas compete head-to-head in a series of disciplines for the prestigious Coffee Masters title and a £5,000 cash prize in London, and $5,000 cash prize in New York.

Over four days of a knockout competition, the competitors must impress a panel of renowned judges by showcasing world-class skills, knowledge, talent and showmanship. This is a high octane, highly-skilled, entertaining contest that tests baristas in every discipline, from cupping to latte art.

The Disciplines

During the competition, the 16 successful competitors will undertake seven different challenges that emulate the busy working environment of a professional barista. These disciplines are designed to test a barista’s skill, timing and presentation as they compete head-to-head in each fast-paced battle.

The Cupping

The Cupping tests the barista’s ability to understand taste profiles in a highly-competitive time-pressed battle.

Each competitor is presented with six coffees set in a particular order. The competitors have three minutes to taste and memorize the order in which those coffees are placed on the table.  The coffee bowls are then shuffled randomly and competitors have two minutes to taste and return the coffee bowls back to their original order.

The Brewing

Chemex, AeroPress, Kalita or V60 – which coffee do you choose to match?

Baristas are tested on their grinding skills as well as their ability to select the right coffee to match a randomly selected hand brewing method to maximize taste. The baristas select one of the six coffees tasted in The Cupping round to brew. Judges will then make a call based on the correlation between the choice of coffee and brewing method, their presentation and the taste of their coffee.

The Latte Art

The Latte Art tests the barista’s mastery of milk, challenging them to create specific patterns in milk-based drinks against the clock.

Our head judge will roll a dice three times, this determines the three different coffee patterns that the competitors will have to replicate and present to be judged on the visual likeness of the pattern, milk quality and contrast.

The Order Challenge

A real-world test. Baristas are challenged to deliver an order of 10 espresso-based drinks, common to a quality café menu.

Baristas will be presented with an order docket, which they will be challenged to produce in nine minutes or less. The competitors will be judged on their technical skill, professionalism and time.

The Signature Drink

Baristas will need to replicate and present the same Signature Drink as per their online submission video.

A signature drink is a coffee-based mixed beverage consisting of three or more ingredients, as long as they are safe and legal to use.

The competitors will present three identical drinks to the judges and will be judged on taste, creativity, consistency and presentation.

The Espresso Blend

Baristas will create an espresso blend from the coffees used in The Cupping.

The ‘Espresso Blend’ discipline will only occur during the semi-finals.  The two finalists will need to replicate their bespoke blend during the final.

The Origin

The Origin
The Origin tests the barista’s ability to identify coffee origins by taste, in a highly competitive time-pressed battle. Each contender is presented with six coffees, and a table-top map of the world. The contender will have five minutes to taste the coffees and place them on the map in the correct geographical location from where they originate.

The Competition Format 

You’ve made it to the live rounds. Now it’s time to showcase your unique skill, talent, knowledge, showmanship and professionalism, all whilst impressing our world-renowned line-up of judges.

First Round
The Disciplines: The Cupping, The Brewing, The Signature Drink

This is the shortest round of them all, so be ready to make a showstopping first impression to get the judges on side and wow the crowd. Contenders will compete one-on-one in a high-octane battle format, aiming to gain maximum points. This is the only round that doesn’t adopt a knockout format.

The first round comprises The Cupping, The Brewing and The Signature Drink disciplines. This is a chance for contenders to showcase their knowledge, test their palette and nail their Signature Drink live on stage, all whilst withstanding time pressure, the live audience and questions from the judges.

The eight highest-scoring baristas will qualify for the Quarter-Finals, whilst the rest will be instantly eliminated.

The Disciplines: The Origin, The Brewing, The Latte Art, The Order

 From here on out, a knockout format applies; the contender with the highest score in each one-on-one battle will progress, and the other will be eliminated.

With increasingly longer time on stage and more disciplines to complete, the heat is on. These quick-fire back-to-back disciplines separate the world-class working baristas from the rest of the pack. Now is the time to dig deep; contenders will compete with professionalism and efficiency, showcasing their skill with panache.

One winner from each of four battles will proceed to the Semi Final.

The Disciplines: The Cupping, The Espresso Blend, The Latte Art, The Order

 The Final is almost in reach, with just 55 minutes of high-performance to go. Now is the time to step it up a notch.

Contenders will fight to up their game in disciplines they’ve now already completed at least once. They’ll show the judges how well they respond to feedback given in previous rounds. Top baristas learn quickly, so they must prove that they can adapt and improve.

As the championship intensifies, these two knockout battles are some of the most exciting moments of Coffee Masters, where four baristas give their all to qualify for the grand final.

The Disciplines: The Origin, The Brewing, The Latte Art, The Order, The Signature Drink

Two baristas have passed three days of tests with flying colors. It’s time to reset the scores and bring on The Final. The Coffee Masters title and cash prize are in sight; the moment is now to edge out the other barista and take the championship.

Contenders will go head-to-head one last time in a final act to impress the judges, who will be watching their every move, questioning and testing each element of their showcase.  The prevailing barista will have to show they have mastered coffee from ever angle.

It’s then down to the panel of expert judges, who will have the final say. The highest scoring barista will be announced as the reigning Coffee Master, taking home the trophy and a cash prize.