Breaking today, the Specialty Coffee Association of America have announced a new set of competition structure standards for the upcoming 2014 United States Barista Championship regional events. As previously announced, this year’s regional events schedule in the United States will take place over three large events – a Big Central, Big Eastern, and Big Western set of competition weekends. Within those weekends, competitors will still be divided up into 6 sets of regions – North East, South East, North Central, South Central, Northwest and Southwest. But here’s where the changes happen:

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All regional competitors will compete just once, meaning all three days of each “Big ____ Regional” will essentially be “Round One”. There’s no more Finals Sunday at the regional level; instead, judges will tally the scores from each competitor’s single comp routine run, and the top 6 scores will be announced at the end of the weekend.  This transition essentially turns each regional event into qualifying rounds for the national competition. However, there will still be a declared “winner” at each regional, and the winner will still receive flights and hotels to the national event, plus an automatic bid into the USBC Semi-Finals.

These changes ensure that a national championship have the integrity of having their competitors already “qualified” – there’s no more jumping in at the national level if you haven’t competed regionally, regardless of previous USBC experience. Everyone competing at the USBC national event will have to have competed in a qualifying round.

Here’s a link to the SCAA’s new competition structure for the 2014 season. Also, the hosting page for the first of these regional events, the Big Central Regional Barista Championship, is now live. This event happens from October 25th-27th in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and will take place at the Uppercut Boxing Gym. This event’s hosts are Cafe Imports and Wilbur Curtis Co., who we’re proud to announce will also be sponsoring Sprudge.com’s industry leading specialty coffee competition coverage. Get your @SprudgeLive “refresh” clicker ready.

Here’s some more official language from the SCAA, as distributed in a public press release sent out today:

Additional changes to the structure of the event include updates to the 2014 Rules & Regulations for the Barista Competition. Each regional Barista Competition will be comprised of one qualifying round. The top six (6) scoring competitors from each region, placing 1st – 6th, will move on to compete at the United States Barista Championship (USBC). The highest scoring competitor in each region will be named the first (1st) place regional winner, earning themselves travel and accommodations to compete in the semi-finals of the USBC on Saturday, April 26, 2014. The second (2nd) place runner-up will also be invited to compete in the semi-finals, (travel and accommodations are at the competitor’s expense). Third (3rd) through sixth (6th) place will be invited to compete in Round 1 at USBC on Friday, April 25th (travel and accommodation is at competitors’ expense).

More information, clarification, and contact information is available by visiting the United States Barista Championship’s official website. We’ll keep you abreast of any updates or new information as it happens.

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