The globe’s most prestigious barista and brewing competitions return to Australia for the first time since 2013.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Lanny Huang for World Coffee Events
All eyes in the coffee competition world will be on Melbourne, Australia, next week, as the city hosts the World Coffee Championships. Taking place September 27-30 in conjunction with the Melbourne International Coffee Expo, the championships will feature the 2022 World Barista Championship (WBC) and World Brewers Cup (WBrC).
This year’s WBC has 49 scheduled competitors from around the globe (see the full list here). Because COVID-19 restrictions caused some barista champions to miss the 2021 World Barista Championship in Milan, Italy, there are four countries—China, India, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia—with two entrants to this year’s WBC, with last year’s champion competing alongside this year’s. (China and Mexico also have two entrants each in the 2022 World Brewers Cup.)
Return to Melbourne
World Coffee Events (WCE), the organizing body of the World Coffee Championships and a subsidiary of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), will bring the WBC and WBrC to Melbourne for the first time since 2013—and the organization is excited to return to the top-tier coffee city. “One of the most exciting draws for past visitors has been experiencing a vast and mature coffee scene,” says Amy Ball, events officer for the SCA. ”Australia has a long-established espresso culture, and consumers have a high awareness of specialty. MICE was one of the first coffee-focused trade shows and has had a strong link to competition from its outset—including frequently hosting the Australian National Championships.”
With this year’s WBC featuring more competitors than last year’s COVID-affected Milan event, the competition will include overlapping performances in round one for the first time since 2019. “In-person audiences will be able to sit in one of three seating areas, with directional speakers providing sound for that competition station,” says Amy.
Watch from Anywhere
For those who will not be experiencing the event in person, the World Coffee Championships will be live-streamed on the event’s website; the WBC runs September 27-30, while the WBrC is September 28-30. “The livestream audience will be able to toggle between the three WBC competition stations in round one, each broadcast on a dedicated channel, while later WBC rounds will be on a single channel,” says Amy. “At the WBrC, competitors’ prepared Open Service presentations will be shown on screen and on the live stream.” WCE will also be posting competitor performances on the WCC YouTube channel and covering the competitions on WCC social channels.
WCE and the Melbourne coffee industry are especially excited for this year’s WCC, which has been delayed since its originally scheduled date of May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID-19 presented huge challenges to all trade shows, and MICE has been a fantastic partner in finding solutions and reinforcing their commitment to host the World Coffee Championships,” says Amy.
Ushering in a New Era of WCCs
The Melbourne WCC also marks the first event that WCE is working with many of the newly qualified sponsors announced earlier in 2022: Barista Attitude, Victoria Arduino, Cafetto, Brita, BWT, and Breville. Says Amy, “We look forward to working with them and seeing the innovations that these partnerships facilitate over the coming years.”
Best of luck to all competitors taking part in the festivities in Melbourne!