Need an answer to a crucial question about any of the competitions? Just drop us an email and we'll aim to get back to you in 24 hours. We've got a whole bank of past entrants to answer your burning questions, or have a read through our FAQ's – the answer may already be there!
The machines are supplied by our machine sponsor San Remo. The Verona TCS is one of Sanremo’s flagship machines, incorporating design led aesthetics with cutting edge technology and functionality. The Verona TCS is a platform from which to produce the very highest of standards in espresso based coffees and associated hot drinks. At its heart is SanRemo’s innovative TCS system (Temperature Stability Control).
The group head temp is pre-set at 93.5oC. You should work with your blend at this temperature during your practice.
Yes. Grinders are provided but we know sometimes people like to stick to what they know. You will be able to take it onto the stage in your set up time. You can take a maximum of 2 grinders on stage.
You need to develop your own drink for the competition. Copying someone else’s is a bad idea – we want to see that you have the skills to develop your own, and understand your blend enough to know what will work well with it. Also, the judges may have tasted the copied one before! If you do need some inspiration you can look online. There are also a few books on the subject that may be useful:
Our Platinum sponsor, Arla, provides Cravendale milk which many baristas prefer, but you are of course welcome to bring your own. We wouldn’t want Daisy to be upset...
Each entrant has an official 15 minute slot to practise on a machine back stage before their 15 minutes set up time on stage. This is when you can get your grinder set, lay your table, and make any last minute tweaks.
You will lose a point for every second you go over your 15 minutes – up to 16 minutes – and then we're afraid you are disqualified.
San Remo are based in Devon and are opening up there training room to anyone wanting to use the machines. They can be contacted on 01364 644445.
There are a number of people offering use of the machines around the country. Drop us an email and we will put you in touch with your nearest one.
For this competition you need to bring everything you want to use other than the machines, and the grinder, unless you want to bring your own grinder. So, your beans (of course!), cups, table settings, water glasses, tampers, cloths...refer to the rules.
It’s up to you! As long as you hone your skills, and READ THE RULES thoroughly you should be fine. The competitions are as much about learning as they are about winning, and of course about meeting people! You can speak to your coffee supplier, or other people you know in the industry for advice, or get in touch with past entrants and other UK baristas though the Facebook group and the many coffee blogs! The coffee industry is full of people wanting to spread the love and share their knowledge, tap into it and make some new friends!
There will be a number of barista training days taking place in the run up to the competitions – sign up at www.scaeuk.com to receive details as soon as they are announced.
Again, this is completely up to you. We recommend getting yourself used to your presentation, and then as you become more confident start presenting to your colleagues and friends. It can be daunting being on the stage in front of the judges and the audience, so the more use to this you are, and the more you have been through your presentation the better.
Remember, things can go wrong, past entrants have dropped all four cappuccinos on the way to the judges, broken a glass, or forgotten what they wanted to say. Think how you would cope if this happened to you and what you can do as back up before hand. Spare cups are a good place to start!
What you do in your 15 minutes competition time is up to you. If you have left your jugs in the training room (don’t worry, you won’t be the first!) you can run and get them, but the clock will keep ticking so be as quick as you can, and remember the room could be a long way away! And, remember; don’t talk to anyone as this still counts as your performance, even if you are not actually on stage!
If you completely forget to bring something with you – ask around before you start, someone may have what you are looking for and be willing to lend it to you. We know of people who have practised packing their kit! Lists of what you need down to water jugs and teaspoons as a key at this stage!
Yes and no. You need to talk through your presentation to tell the judges why you have chosen your beans, how your signature drink was developed etc. However, the judges will not enter into any conversation with you (not because they are mean, but because they are not allowed to!). If you need to ask a question during your set, you can only address it to the Head judge. You are also forbidden from communicating to anyone in the audience (e.g. can you run and get my jug...). This can lead to disqualification – so take note!
Have a think about things that go well with coffee – all the obvious ones like caramel, orange, nuts….think about drinks you may have tasted and expand on those. Look online and at previous entrants recipes to see what they have used – but don’t copy them – the judges want to see originality! REMEMBER the drink must taste primarily of coffee otherwise you will lose points – it’s what the competition is about! Try and chose ingredients that work well with the blend you have chosen. You should be able to tell the judges why you have chosen the ingredients you have, and why they work well with your blend.
Well, now that is a question! If you win, you will go on to represent the UK as our champion in the World Championships – which will be held in Vienna, Austria in June. You will receive the support and advice from the UKBC committee and the wider UK speciality coffee industry! You will also be asked to take part in PR occasions and other events for the SCAE UK and our Sponsors. Lots of people will want to talk to you, so be prepared for the offers to come flooding in!
Simply email email@example.com and one of the committee members will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.