Manual Brewers competition at SCASA Coffee Competitions May 09 2014

Images Courtesy of Derryn Semple Photography


The Manual Brewers competition is a simplified version of the World Coffee Events "World Brewers Cup" competition, and is aimed at showcasing the skill and insight of brewing coffee using "manual methods" ie, any brewing device that is free of mechanical action and/or that is powered by electricity.  The hope is that by attracting more participants to Manual Brewing and running a successful series of Manual Brewers competitions in SA in 2014, SCASA may formalize the Competition in 2015, with a view to formally affiliating with the WCE's "World Brewers Cup" to sending over a South African Champion to the 2016 World Championship Event.

The format of the Manual Brewers competition this year in South Africa is:


A. The competition is divided into two rounds: Round One, and the Finals Round.

B. Round One consists a component called the "Compulsory Service"

C. The Finals Round consists of "Compulsory Service" between the finalists.

D. During each competition Service, competitors will be evaluated by three (3) Judges. Additionally a Head Judge will be present, but will not be tasting the cups served.

E. During each Service, competitors will prepare and serve three (3) individual and separate beverages, one for each Judge.

F. Competitors may utilize any set of brewing devices of their choosing, so long as they qualify according to the definitions in these Rules.

G. For each Round, there will be 3 (three) competitors per Service and each Competitor will have ten (10) minutes of Practice Time to in the competition area in preparation  for and prior to the Service. Thereafter competitors will have 7 (seven ) minutes of Competition Time to prepare and serve their Beverages, without any presentation or demonstration. Competitors will be limited to utilizing only the whole bean coffee provided by the Manual Brewers competition.  

H. All three beverages within each competition service must be prepared using the same whole bean coffee.

I. Competitors may produce as many beverages as they like during their competition time. Only the beverages served to the judges will be evaluated.

J. Coffees may not have any additives, flavorings, colorings, perfumes, aromatic substances, liquids, powders, etc. of any kind added at any point between the time the coffee is presented to the competitors to when it is extracted into beverage.

K. The provided Compulsory Service coffee will be a medium to medium-light roasted fully-washed specialty-grade coffee



A. The beverage must be an extraction from particles of whole bean coffee, using water as the solvent. No other additives of any kind will be allowed, aside from those contained within the relevant definitions of whole bean coffee, brew water, brewing devices, and service vessels. Additional water may be added (“bypass”) to the beverage before serving to alter concentration.

B. The beverage should have a total dissolved solids content of less than or equal to 2.00% or 20,000 ppm. This is to limit the beverage to the realm of what is commonly referred to as “filter coffee,” distinct from espresso or other categories of coffee-extracted beverage.

C. Competitors will prepare and serve three individual coffee beverages, one to each of the three judges.

D. Each of the three beverages should be between 150 and 350 mL. If a beverage served is found to be less than 120mL or more than 375 mL, that particular beverage (cup) will be disqualified and receive no score.

E. It is not necessary to serve the entire quantity of beverage produced during the coffee preparation.


A. Competitors may utilize the water provided by the competition, or utilize their own brew water.

B. Provided water will be available both at room temperature and heated to between 96.0 and 98.5°C.

C. If a competitor chooses to use their own water, they must also provide their own device to heat the water to the desired temperature. Electrical power provided to power such devices will be limited to that provided by the competition.


A. A grinder is a device that grinds whole bean coffee into smaller physical particles without changing the chemistry of the coffee, aside from that directly related to the grinding of the coffee (friction, heat, etc.), and does not add any additives to the coffee.

B. Within the competition area and during competitors’ competition time Competitors may use any grinder including the provided sponsored grinder. Competitors may use the grinder provided by the competition or a grinder that they have provided for themselves outside of the competition area or in advance of the competition time.


A. A brewing device is any item that a competitor uses during, and is involved in, the beverage extraction.

B. Brewing devices must be “manual” in nature, and may not include or involve mechanical action powered by supplemental forces (i.e., electricity) other than those exceptions below:

i. Mechanical action powered by the competitor’s manual action (i.e. hand and/or arm action), by gravity, or created by the act of coffee brewing itself (i.e. pressure in vacuum brewers, movement in balance brewers) is permitted.

ii. Heat sources are allowed (electrical, magnetic, or liquid fuel), provided they are used to heat water or the coffee beverage and not to power any additional mechanism.

iii. A machine or mechanism that supplies the competitor with brew water is allowed, though if it involves any automated and/or portioning mechanism (i.e., a machine programmed to dispense a specific quantity of water), it may not be used directly on the coffee. For example, an automatic water delivery machine could dispense into a pouring vessel, but not directly to the coffee.

C. Competitors must utilize their own brewing devices. While sponsors may make certain brewing devices available for competitor use, competitors are ultimately responsible for supplying their own brewing devices (including filtration media if applicable). Competitors using those devices should thoroughly test and inspect them.

D. Competitors may utilize as many or as few brewing devices as they wish in order to produce the required three preparations within the allotted time.

E. Brewing devices may not add any additive substances to the beverage whatsoever.


Competitors may bring up to two pieces of additional electrical equipment to be used during their coffee preparation and/or presentation. Competitors must notify the Event Manager prior to arriving at the Event of any additional electrical equipment they are bringing (i.e. hot plate, water kettle, etc.). Total power requirements for the additional electrical equipment must be accommodated by a single single-phase circuit which will be shared with the grinder(s).

It is the competitors’ responsibility to ensure the provided electrical service is sufficient to power the competitor’s additional equipment. No “technical appeals” will be accepted due to excessive electrical needs for a competitor’s additional equipment.

There is no restriction on additional equipment that does not require use of the provided grounded electrical service, provided such equipment is otherwise permitted by these Rules.


The competition area will be equipped with the following:

• Equipment Table (For hot water machine and grinder)

• Work Table(s) (for competitor use)

• Service Table (Judges’ table)

• Hot water machine / kettles

• Official Coffee grinder

• Standardized Service vessels

• Cleaning brushes (for grinder and counter)

• Trash can and/or compost bin

• Bucket for discarded liquid


Competitors are required to bring all supplies necessary for their presentation.

Competitors MUST bring the following:

• Brewing devices

• Coffee filtration media

The following are optional:

• Spare brewing devices

• Additional Electrical Equipment (Maximum two items)

• Brewing device stands

• Brewing device accessories

• Scales (for mass measurement)

• Thermometers (for temperature measurement)

• Timers (for time measurement)

• Additional coffee filtration medium

• Service vessels for Open Service (at least three plus spares)

• Cleaning cloths/rags


For more information regarding the Western Cape Regionals Competition click here.