Barista Skills Challenge

Barista Skills Challenge

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

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

Whilst creating these drinks you will give a live commentary to the audience throughout the 15 minute slot to explain your work and demonstrate your knowledge.  The 2015 Barista Skills winner, Pariwartan Nepal of Imperial College says, "This has been the greatest moment of my career so far. The competition led me to new skills and techniques."

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

Entry for the 2016 competition is now closed, but why not come and support your colleagues by attending the competition?
Entry is free of charge, TUCO members click here to book your place and suppliers wishing to attend please click here. 

Click the link to see what to expect

Competition Rules

  • Produce four espressos
  • Produce four cappuccinos
  • Produce four espresso-based non-alcoholic specialty drinks
  • 15 minute live competition
  • You will be notified of the time at 5 minute intervals. Once your 15 minutes have run out you will then be given a further 30 seconds to finish. After this you will be asked to stop and your coffee will be judged (a penalty will be applied if you have not finished within your 15 minute allotted time)
  • We will provide the coffee machine, grinder and milk as well as one single power socket.(you will need to show evidence that additional equipment has been PAT tested)
  • If you wish, you can bring along your own grinder( you will need to show evidence it has been PAT tested)
  • Coffee beans will be supplied by the competition sponsor, Tchibo
  • Crockery will be provided for your espresso and cappuccino drinks, further details will follow after the competition closing date. Please provide your own crockery for your speciality drink. 
  • After the competition closing date you will receive further detailed information and tips to help you during the competition. 


Competition Machine

Sanremo will be supplying the coffee machines and grinders for this year’s Barista Skills Challenge; the machine will be Sanremo's Verde TCS.

Please find below links to the competition machine and grinders: The grinders have been setup as on demand.

Crockery will be supplied but you must bring your own crockery/glassware for your signature drinks.

Preparing for the Competition 

  • You will receive a supply of coffee beans from Tchibo to help you practice
  • Be sure to taste test your coffee
  • Develop a strict hygiene regime especially wiping, flushing and purging
  • Practice making coffee in timed conditions for your colleagues so you get used to making your beverages under stress. Give them mock score sheets and ask for honest scoring
  • Be confident when you are talking about how you are making the coffee and explain what you are doing 
  • Most of all, enjoy the preparation. Be open to new ideas and take the time to discover and learn as much as you can whilst preparing. There are lots of websites, blogs and access to videos online which will help you develop your skills
  • Speak to your coffee supplier, who will be more than happy to help and guide you


In advance of the competition, there will be a non-mandatory briefing session at the University of Warwick which will allow you to ask questions and use the equipment that will be used in the competition.

There will also be a briefing session on site. The session will cover the following areas:

  • Explanation of format of events
  • Introduction to the judges
  • Training on the coffee machine
  • Questions and answers


Judging Criteria 

  • How clean and tidy your competition area remains
  • Espresso evaluation including technical ability and taste
  • Cappuccino evaluation including technical ability and taste
  • Signature beverage including technical ability and taste
  • Safe and hygienic working practice
  • Working within the 15 minute competition time 

If you have any queries regarding your entry or booking please call the TUCO Competitions team on 0344 571 7281 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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