Barista Skills Challenge

Barista Skills Challenge

The TUCO Barista Skills Challenge has developed to be an exciting part of the Competition's event.  It's the perfect platform for you to showcase your skills, knowledge and talent in making perfect cup of coffee. 

You will compete in a live 15 minute competition and produce four espressos, four cappuccinos and finally four espresso-based, non-alcoholic specialty drinks.

Whilst creating these drinks you will give live commentary to the audience to explain your work and demonstrate your knowledge. 

The 2017 Barista Skills winner, Dana–Maria Danut says,
"It was an absolute honour to win, particularly since every competitor was well prepared and the standard of the competition was really high."

With the popularity of this competition, entries are restricted to two per member University or College.

Entry to the competition is open to all TUCO member Universities and Colleges.   Each University or College can enter a maximum of two candidates

A maximum of 22 finalists will be chosen from the entries received.  The competition will take place within the Butterworth Hall at Warwick Arts Centre on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th March 2018 at the University of Warwick. All finalists will be invited to attend the awards evening on Wednesday 28th March 2018.

The cost to enter is £275 plus VAT per entry.  

The cost covers Tuesday and Wednesday night accommodation all meals and attendance to the awards dinner.

You can click the links below to download the competition judging sheets to see exactly what the judges score you on:
 - Sensory judging sheet
 - Technical judging sheet


A Barista Skills compettion orientation day will take place on Tuesday 20th February 2018 for anyone already entered in the competition - or anyone considering entering.
This will go through all the key parts of the competition, allow you to get hands on with the equipment we will be using on the day and for you to ask anything you would like.

Held at:
Bewley’s Tea & Coffee
8 Century Point, High Wycombe HP12 3SL

Timings & Agenda:
10:30 am  -Coffees on arrival and introductions
11:00 am  -Overview of the competition
11:30 am  -Rules and Reg
12:15 pm –Dos and Don’ts
12:45 pm  -Lunch
1:15 pm – How to select your coffee
1:45 pm  - Equipment overview
2:15 pm – Practice
3:30 pm – Q&A
3:45 pm – End of day

To register your attendance, or ask any questions about the orientation day please email Clare Malyon - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Main Sponsor Tchibo             


Equipment Sponsor Bewley's

Competition Rules

Each competitor will be allowed the following 3 sessions to compete and produce the following:
1.    15 minute practice (this is off stage and not filmed or judged)
2.    15 minute setup
3.    15 minute live competition.

In the 3rd session you must produce

  • 4 espressos
  • 4 cappuccinos
  • finally the speciality coffee, which should be 4 espresso-based, non-alcoholic speciality drinks

As this is a live competition there will be spectators and you will be filmed with your work being shown on the main screens.

Key notes:

  • Introductions: Prior to the start, the Master of Ceremonies will introduce you and then ask if you are ready, then it’s over to you.
  • Competition music: You are allowed to bring along your own music on 1 CD to be played whilst you are competing. The music may not contain profanity.
  • After each set of drinks have been served and evaluated by the judges, a runner will clear the drinks from the judges. They will remove cups saucers spoons from the previous beverage course.
  • Milk: you can bring your own milk either full fat or semi skimmed milk will be available if you require.Crockery: You should provide your own for all drinks including the speciality.
  • Ingredients: For those competitors arriving on the Monday there will be refrigerated storage at the University if required. You will be expected to label and arrange for someone to collect as and when required.
  • Coffee Beans: You must provide your own competition beans.
  • Weighing of coffee: You may bring a set of scales to weigh your coffee during the competition. The scales are only to be used during the 15 minute competition.
  • Espresso machine: Competitors may only use the espresso machine supplied by the competition. The espresso machine is set to “FREE FLOW”. No other machine is to be used.
  • Disqualification: Competitors may not change, adjust or replace any element, setting or component of the espresso machine. ( the portafilters, insert baskets, temperature, pressure, steam wand tips)
  • Grinders: We will provide competition grinders, however, if you wish you can bring along your own.
  • Additional equipment: You may bring additional equipment. This must be PAT tested and you must let the competition organisers know what you are planning to bring ahead of the event.
  • Be on time: Competitors should be in the competition room a minimum of 30 minutes prior to their scheduled 15 minute practice time. Any competitor not ready to start on time may be disqualified.

The 15 minutes practice time will be off stage and is not filmed, this is your opportunity to practice and ask final questions.

  • 15 minute setup: During your setup period ONLY the competitor can work on the coffee machine and grinder. If they require any other assistance they must talk to a TUCO representative.
  • Tracking time during competition: The timekeeper will provide you with 5 minute, 3 minute, 1 minute and 30 second warning. The timekeeper is required to vocalize these warnings in real-time and may interrupt if you are speaking.
  • Running over time: if you run over the 15 minutes competing time, you will lose a point for every second you go over- up to a maximum 60 seconds (60 points ) after 1 minute you will be asked to stop.
  • No one other than the competitor is allowed in the competition area (a helper may carry equipment to the area for you). Only competitors are allowed to work the coffee machine and grinder. Failure to comply may result in disqualification.
  • Coaching: Instruction or “coaching” may not be provided to a competitor during the time of his or her competition under penalty of disqualification.
  • Leaving the Stage: If you leave the stage during your 15 minute competing time you will lose 20 points. Please ensure you check and re-check you have everything you need during your 15 minute setup period.
  • You will be required to clear down at all stages including the practice area, competition area, machines, drinks etc and ensure the area is left ready for the next competitor, you will be called back to clear down if not.
  • Costs: Each competitor will be responsible for all costs for their speciality drink as well as any other ingredients needed (with the exception of milk which is provided).

All competitors will be given a copy of the score sheets when further information is sent out

Written & verbal feedback will be given to all entrants.

If you have any queries regarding your entry or booking please call the TUCO Competitions team on 0344 571 8208 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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