There’s still time—but not much—for competitors to enter the 2015 Coffee Masters event at the London Coffee Festival. This is the inaugural voyage of the Coffee Masters, “a fast paced, multi-disciplinary coffee competition” with a generous cash prize happening Thursday, April 30th in London, United Kingdom. Registration is open until 15 December 2015, and Sprudge.com is excited to announce that we’re partnering with the event to bring you coverage from London!
Coffee Masters was developed by Allegra Events, the organizers of the London Coffee Festival, with input from Rob Dunne and Vic Frankowski of the London-based coffee consultancy DunneFrankowski. (Mr. Frankowski is also a contributor to this website.) The event itself carries with it a £5000 cash prize—more than $8000 USD at today’s conversion rate—and entry is open to the global public, all by submitting a one-minute signature drink video. Learn more about how to submit your video here.
Current entries include a United Nations rogues’ gallery of barista talent from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Registration is still open worldwide. From their ranks, just 16 baristas will be selected to compete on the Coffee Masters stage at London Coffee Festival, in an event that includes these feats of coffee strength:
The cupping competition tests the barista’s ability to understand taste profiles in a highly competitive time-pressed battle. Each competitor is presented with 6 coffees set in a particular order. The competitors will have three minutes to taste and memorise the order of those coffees. Competitors then turn around while the coffees are rearranged. Competitors have got a further 2 minutes to taste and put the coffees in their original order.
Tests the barista’s ability to choose the right brewing method for a coffee of their choice, which they will select during The Cupping discipline. It also demonstrates their understanding of grinding and selecting the right method to maximise on taste. Competitors will choose their favourite coffee from The Cupping round to brew with a Chemex, AeroPress or Hario V60. They will have to choose a brewing method most suited to the coffee and dial it in using a Mahlkönig EK43. The competitors will need to explain to the judges why they chose the coffee and brewing method.
THE LATTE ART
Tests the barista’s mastery of milk, challenging them to deliver specific patterns creating milk-based drinks against the clock. In this round the winner will take all points in a competitive head-to-head latte art battle. The competitors will present three latte art patterns, which will be determined by the roll of dice. The presented coffees will be judged on visual appearance of the pattern, milk quality, and contrast.
A real world test. Baristas are challenged to deliver an order of ten espresso-based drinks, common to a quality café menu in seven minutes. Competitors will be presented with an order docket of ten espresso based drinks, which they will be challenged to produce in seven minutes or less in the most efficient manner. The competitors will be judged on their technical skill, time management, cleanliness and the time it takes for them to complete the order.
THE SIGNATURE DRINK
The contenders present a signature beverage, which they have created in their submission video. A signature drink is a mixed beverage consisting of three or more ingredients, thus allowing use of any ingredient as long as they are presented, safe and legal for use. The competitors will present three identical drinks to the judges and will be judged on taste, creativity and presentation.
THE ESPRESSO BLEND
Contenders are requested to create an espresso blend from the coffees used in The Cupping to create a bespoke espresso blend. This espresso blend will then be used in ‘The Order’ round and will be judged at that point. The ‘Espresso Blend’ round will only occur in the semi-finals.
More information about how to enter is available here, and remember, the cut-off date is 15 December 2014, with the event itself taking place in London beginning on Thursday, 30 April 2015. You can learn more by visiting the Coffee Masters page via London Coffee Festival, and by following the event on Twitter and Instagram.