Rules & Regulations

UPDATE:The WBC Evolution Working group have compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on the feedback around 2017’s exciting WBC Rules & Regulations changes.

Q: Is there an opportunity to ask questions about these changes in person?

Yes! Join us during the Budapest Championships at the World of Coffee Budapest show for an in-person Q&A with members of the working group and WCE staff on June 13th.

Q. Will National Championships have temperature adjustment, multiple layouts, or tech judging modifications in 2017?

A: All National Championships in 2017 will continue with the existing temperature setting, single layout, and technical evaluation rules. There is a strong desire to minimize changes at Nationals this year to ensure an equally fresh playing field at Worlds for all competitors.

Evolving the 2018 National format will involve evaluating how best to transition evolutions over from the World Barista Championships.

Q: So where is Tech Judging heading?

A: As skills & technique progress in competition, there has been consistent feedback that technical evaluation has tremendous value, especially at the regional and national level, but that technical evaluation needs to evolve along with the industry. Removing technical judging from semi-finals and finals of the WBC is a step in exploring the potential for more technical creativity, without substantially modifying the evaluation standards competitors are currently training for across all competition levels.

There is a strong desire to evolve technical evaluation and judging as part of the 2018 Rules & Regulations process, so that as competitors progress, technical evaluation can continue to promote best practices, technique mastery, and attention to detail.

More Frequently Asked Questions

WBC Evolution Working Group Releases 2017 Rules & Regulations, Introducing New Format Evolutions At The Seoul World Barista Championship, Brought To You By Ediya Coffee

Recognizing excellence in techniques and performance standards is a core value of global barista competition. Celebrating innovative coffee-making and service is also a core value in competition, especially as rounds progress. To better balance these values and create new opportunities for competition progression, in 2017, for the first time, competition format changes are being introduced for use exclusively at the World Barista Championship level, with National Championships continuing with the shared common format.

To open-up new service possibilities at the World Barista Championship, competitors will now be able to select from 9 new table configurations, with multiple height & seating options. To allow more espresso extraction control, competitors will be able to request the temperature their espresso machine is set to. The documents have been updated to be gender-neutral, to better support the diverse range of people that make up the coffee community. To accommodate huge growth in competitor numbers, multiple staggered competitors will now perform on stage in the preliminary round. In the semifinal and final rounds, evaluation will shift to sensory and service experience, with no separate technical scoresheet or judge, allowing a focus on the skill and creativity of the world’s top competitors.

Standards have tremendous educational value, and demonstrated excellence in technique is key to determining who should compete on the world stage. To affirm these values and ensure a level playing field and equal preparation opportunity for all competitors, National Barista Championships will be continue with standard layout and temperature, and technical judging in all rounds.

Please find more information about some of the major changes below, as well as the 2017 WBC Rules and a full side-by-side summary of changes.


Multiple Station Layout Options
Staggered-Start Preliminary Round
WBC Teams & Expanded Semi-Finals
Technical Judging & Shared National Championships Format

All of these changes are part of a multi-year process of examination, consideration of feedback, and exploration of future potential, driven by the dedication of industry experts and competition veterans in the WBC Evolution Working Group. Evolution began in 2016 in Dublin with the move from a cappuccino to a milk beverage course, the specification of a common espresso machine and grinder set, and the introduction of the WBC Teams Competition, and based on positive feedback and a widely communicated desire for changes, the WBC Evolution Working Group is excited to bring these new format progressions to the World Barista Championship.

Come see all the excitement live yourself, 9 Nov – 12 Nov at Cafe Show Seoul, where the best coffee competitors in the world face-off at the 2017 World Barista Championship, with thanks to 2017 Title Sponsor Ediya Coffee.

2017 World Barista Championship Rules & Regulations Documents:

Interpreters Best Practice

All WBC interpreters must familiarize themselves with the following document prior to the WBC.

2016 Rules & Regulations

An updated 2017 Rules & Regulations template for National Championships is included in the release above, with minor changes to language and intent clarifications around flavor descriptors and table heights. The 2016 Rules & Regulations are being provided below as a reference to ease in the transition. Please see “Technical Judging & Shared National Championships Format” section above for full information.