Plant based milks for World Coffee Events! Let's start the conversation

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According to the 2019 World Barista Championship Official Rules and Regulations, competitiors must use cow's milk to create their milk beverage, and competitiors who choose not to follow this rule face disqualification from the competition. We think it's time that World Coffee Events (aka the guys who make the rules) update the rules to reflect the current state of the coffee industry, particularly given that worldwide more and more cafes and coffee professionals are embracing plant-based alternative milks.

Today, March 15th, marks Day 1 of the Canadian National Barista Championship, and my best buddy Chris Tellez will be one of 23 competitors battling it out for the title of Barista Champion. If the judges are good at judging, my buddy Chris will come last. In fact, he'll be disqualified. All because of his decision to use a plant-based milk instead of a cow's milk for his milk-based beverage.

Chris is no stranger to the competition circuit. In 2015, he was the Canadian National Latte Art Champion, and in 2009, 2014 and 2015 he was the Central Canadian Barista Champion. As well as obviously being good at coffee things, Chris is a vegan. He owns 2 incredible cafes and within these he serves a variety of plant based milks to a very welcoming audience. In Canada, as well as many other parts of the world, plant-based milks are on the rise, particularly with growing concerns over the sustainability of the dairy sector. So today, for the first time in his competition career, Chris will be competing with a plant-based milk, so that he can a) finally taste the beverages he's presenting to the judges and b) so that he doesn't have to compromise his ideals to participate in the National Barista Championship. 

We think it's time that World Coffee Events opened a dialogue about rule 2.2.2 that states that "a milk beverage is a combination of one single shot of espresso... and steamed cow's milk" and started talking about how the World Barista Championship rules could be updated to be more inclusive and sustainable going forwards. It would be pretty cool if Chris, and people like Chris, could compete and not be disqualified for using ethical, sustainable and delish cow's milk alternatives.