Pitched as a fast-paced alternative to traditional barista competitions, Coffee Masters tests baristas on a wide range of skills at various stages of the tournament, including cupping ability, brewing acumen, latte art skill, order processing abilities, origin identification, and signature drink development. Baristas who make it to the final stages of the competition are also asked to develop their own espresso blend from a range of compulsory coffees, while also being judged on their ability to consistently repeat shots.
Last year’s winner of Coffee Masters USA, Costa Rican barista Remy Molina, took home $5,000 cash, plus a prize package worth an estimated $15,000 that included an all-expenses paid trip to Seattle to hang with Slayer Espresso Founder Jason Prefontaine, a Slayer single-group machine and a Mahlkönig grinder.
While the first four Coffee Masters competitions in New York drew participation from baristas from all over the world, the move to Los Angeles for 2019 promises to dip into a slightly different pool of applicants, although only 16 baristas will ultimately be chosen to participate. Coffee Masters has also been held annually in London since 2015.
Like the U.S. Coffee Championships, Coffee Masters aims to be a career propellor for its winners by shining a light on a wide range of sensory, analysis, service and physical barista skills. Past winners of Coffee Masters USA include Remy Molina (Costa Rica, 2018), Erika Vonie (USA, 2016), Yuko Inoue (Japan, UK, Germany, 2015), and Ben Morrow (Australia, 2015).
Applications to compete for Coffee Masters Los Angeles are due by Sunday, Sept. 8, and require a 1-to-2-minute video that showcases a signature drink inspired by the theme “L.A. Lifestyle,” whatever that means.