The 2020 World Coffee Championships are officially no more. In breaking news coming from World Coffee Events and the Specialty Coffee Association, the seven competitions scheduled to take place at World of Coffee in Warsaw, Poland in October as well at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo have now been canceled due to COVID-19.
The announcement came today, Tuesday, July 28th, with the WCE citing concerns regarding “the impact of pandemic-related international visa and travel restrictions.” The coffee competitions—the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup at MICE and the World Coffee In Good Spirits, World Latte Art, World Cup Tasters, World Coffee Roasting, and Cezve/Ibrik Championships at WoC—were among the global high points in the coffee event sphere and are two of the last to officially be called off. And indeed the competitions had already been postponed once previously in order to try and make it work, MICE originally from May to November and WoC from June to October.
Per the press release, the cancellations will have downstream effects on next year’s events as well. Most notably, only one competitor from each country will be allowed to compete in each of the 2021 events, and this spot will be given to 2020 national champions who have earned their way. In the statement, the WCE cites “logistical challenges [associated with] locating these events and accommodating overflow competitors.”
This means that 2021 champions, should any competitions be held, will not be invited to the 2021 World Coffee Championships if someone from their country has already won that event in 2020. The winner from the 2021 US Barista Championship, for instance, (again, assuming one will be held, which is scheduled to take place in New Orleans in April, but who can really say if the pandemic will have subsided by then), will not be invited to the 2021 World Barista Championship; that spot belongs 2020 USBC champion Andrea Allen.
Looking ahead, the next World Coffee Championship will take place in June of 2021 in Athens, Greece at the World of Coffee Expo, which will host the World Barista Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, and Cezve/Ibrik Championship.
The remaining 2021 competitions—the World Coffee in Good Spirits, World Latte Art, World Brewers Cup, and World Coffee Roasting Championships—will take place at a location to be determined later and to happen no sooner than June 2021.
For more information or read the FAQs about the cancellation, visit World Coffee Events’ official website.
Top photo by Charlie Burt for Sprudge.
Correction: An earlier version stated the World of Coffee event in Poland was also canceled—it is still, as of July 28, scheduled to take place. The WCE/SCA announcement explains, “the SCA is working with partners at the Warsaw PTAK venue to cancel the 2020 World of Coffee trade show and postpone the contract to a future year — more information on this will be available in the coming weeks.”