2020 World Coffee Championships Canceled Due to CO...

2020 World Coffee Championships Canceled Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Today, World Coffee Events (WCE) and the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) are announcing the cancellation of the 2020 World Coffee Championship events scheduled to take place in Melbourne and Warsaw, due to the impact of pandemic-related international visa and travel restrictions.

The ability to gather representatives from across the globe is core to the mission of these competitions. Given the current and projected travel environment through November 2020, WCE and the SCA have decided to cancel the 2020 events and focus on the 2021 championship season.

The 2020 World Barista Championships and World Brewers Cup were scheduled to take place November 3-6 at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) trade show which has now been canceled. The World Coffee In Good Spirits, World Latte Art, World Cup Tasters, World Coffee Roasting, and Cezve/Ibrik Championships were scheduled to take place during World of Coffee Warsaw October 15-17. 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.

We know that this is disappointing news to many, and we deeply regret that there is no feasible way to gather global competitors this year. We are excited to bring the World Barista Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, and Cezve/Ibrik Championship to the World of Coffee Athens trade show in June of 2021. While we are still exploring location options for the 2021 World Coffee in Good Spirits, World Latte Art, World Brewers Cup, and World Coffee Roasting Championships, they will be held no earlier than June 2021.

Given the logistical challenges of locating these events and accommodating overflow competitors, WCE is requiring that Competition Bodies only send one competitor to each 2021 championship. This means that National Champions who have already won their title in 2020 will participate in the 2021 championships. Additionally, 2020 sanctioning terms will be extended, to cover the 2021 competition year.

These schedule changes may have different effects according to different local circumstances. WCE and SCA’s Regional Community Directors will work with the Competition Body coordinators to navigate next steps as appropriate. We encourage anyone with questions to read the Frequently Asked Questions section below or reach out to us via email at We are very sad to be missing the incredible community of competitors, teams, judges, volunteers, and fans that make these events special, and cannot wait to see you in 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

General World Coffee Championships Questions

Q: When and where will the 2021 World Coffee Championships be held? Are they confirmed?

A: Three 2021 championships currently have confirmed dates, which will be hosted at the World of Coffee Athens trade show.

2021 Athens World Coffee Championships

  • World Barista Championship: June 23-26, 2021*
  • World Cup Tasters Championship: June 24-26, 2021
  • Cezve/Ibrik Championship: June 24-26, 2021
  • World of Coffee Athens trade show: June 24-26, 2021

*Please note: The World Barista Championship is a four-day event, and will begin one day prior to World of Coffee Athens.

We are still exploring location options for the 2021 World Coffee in Good Spirits, World Latte Art, World Brewers Cup, and World Coffee Roasting Championships, but they will be held no earlier than June 2021.

Q: What is the status of the Melbourne International Coffee Expo?

A: The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) will resume in September 2021. For more information, please visit

Q: Will future World Coffee Championship events be held at MICE?

A: At present, the World Barista Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, & Ibrik Championships are planned to be held at the World of Coffee Tradeshow in Athens in June 2021. All other locations for future World Coffee Championships have yet to be finalized.

Competition Body National Champion Questions

Q: May Competition Bodies send 2020 competitors to 2021 competitions? What happens if our Competition Body has more than one national champion before the 2021 World Coffee Championships?

A: We ask that Competition Bodies (CBs) plan to send their 2020 champions to compete in the 2021 World Coffee Championships. CBs will be required to send only one competitor per championship to the 2021 events. Therefore, if a CB had an incomplete competition year in 2020, they may still hold 2021 championships. If, however, the CB already has 2020 Champions, we require them not to hold any additional championships in 2021 that will lead to the 2021 World Coffee Championships. CBs are encouraged to reach out to their Regional Community Director for additional guidance:

Competition Body Sanctioning Fee & Admin Questions

Q: Do Competition Bodies need to pay a sanctioning fee for the 2021 Competition Season if our 2021 or 2022 national plans are changed due to the WCC cancellation?

A: No, Competition Bodies do not need to pay a sanctioning fee for the 2021 Competition Season. The terms of the 2020 Sanctioning Fee will be extended, to cover the 2021 Competition Season. No additional fees will be required to participate in the 2021 Competition Season, apart from the 2020 Sanctioning Fee.

Q: What are the new protocols for national competitions for CBs?

A: CBs are suggested to use these published protocols as a starting point for their championships. Every CB should also consider the latest official advice from their own region and input from other stakeholder groups. Official advice, as it pertains to health, safety, and event gatherings can be obtained through local governments and health advisories (amongst other bodies). Protocols should be adjusted upon this advice, as may also come from other resources or individuals. These new judging protocols are in an early phase. We appreciate all feedback and suggested improvements. As CBs utilize and implement these adjustments, please send us any best practices to submit for inclusion with future updates to protocol.

Q: How can Competition Bodies run national competitions without support from a WCE Representative due to the travel ban? 

A: CBs are required to have a WCE Representative present at their final National Competition, in order to be sanctioned. If the CB is experiencing trouble finding a Rep who is able to travel to their location, please contact your Regional Community Director as soon as possible. Regional Community Directors are:

Q: Will any changes be made to the 2021 World Coffee Championship rules and regulations?

A: Any changes to the 2021 Rules & Regulations for 2021 would be due by December 24, 2020.

Q: Could orientations & debriefs be done virtually for competitions?

A: Competitor orientations and debriefings could be organized as virtual events, per the Competitions Body’s direction. The main consideration is that all competitors receive both the orientation and debrief in a reasonable time with respect to the competition. Orientation should ideally be delivered to all competitors of any given competition at the same time.

Q: We have canceled, or expect we may need to cancel, our national championship. What are our options?

A: Please discuss this with your Regional Community Director, who can support. Regional Community Directors are:

Q: We have already held our competition, but we are concerned our champion may not be able to compete. What are our options?

A: All 2020 National Champions have won the right to participate in the 2021 World Championships. If the Champion would like to step down, and prefers not to compete at all, they should notify WCE as soon as possible, by emailing If a competitor steps down, the CB has the option to send their second-place competitor from that same event to the WCC. If the National Champion would like to retain their right to compete and defer their candidacy to the following year, they must have a qualifying reason to do so. For details on qualifying reasons, please see here.

If the Champion has a qualifying reason to defer, they must fill out the Deferred Candidacy (DC) request, fulfill the DC Policy process, and be approved, in order to defer to the following year. In EITHER case (stepping down or deferral), the decision must be made by the competitor alone, without influence or input from the CB. Every National Champion has a right to determine their own course of action.

Q: Do we risk losing our competition license if we don’t hold an event in the 2020 WCC season? 

A: The 2020 sanctioning term has been extended to include the 2021 competition year. Every CB is required to hold a competition in a given sanctioning term. If a CB is not planning to hold any competition event in 2020 or 2021 that would lead to the WCC 2021, please contact your Regional Community Director as soon as possible, to discuss.

Q: I have booked flights/accommodation for the original Melbourne/Warsaw dates, that I cannot change. What are my options? 

A: Please contact your airline or accommodation company, to determine options for that reservation.

World of Coffee Questions

Q: Will World of Coffee be canceled?

A: We’re working with our partners at Warsaw PTAK to cancel the 2020 WOC event and postpone our contract with Warsaw to a future year. We hope to have more information to share in the coming weeks.

Q: What will happen to monies already paid for a stand, registration & classes already paid towards WoC 2020? 

A: If and when World of Coffee 2020 is canceled, all amounts paid for stand space, registration, etc. will automatically be transferred to World of Coffee 2021 which is scheduled to take place in Athens, Greece, June 24-26, 2021.

Q: Is there anything I should do now related to my 2020 World of Coffee stand space or hotel arrangements? 

A: No. To err on the side of caution, we suggest you wait on ordering any stand services or shipping any freight until such time as a final outcome on the 2020 show is determined. If you have booked hotel accommodations through the World of Coffee room block, these will be automatically canceled if the show is canceled.

Source: World Coffee Events