Coffee Knowledge Hub

Plant based drinks and coffee: get ready for competition season 2023

Put some plant-based ingredients into your championship milk beverage microfoam

Written by Andrew Tolley
Posted in News on March 7, 2023

The 2023 update to the world barista championships (WBC) came with a long-awaited rule change. Plant-based beverages will now be accepted as an ingredient in the milk beverage round. As far as rule changes in the WBC’s go this is a ‘6 for extraordinary’. The biggest change since the milk beverage became the new category, replacing ‘cappuccino’. It reflects the widespread adoption of plant-based beverages in the out-of-home food service settings. What does this mean for competitors and how can they put some plant-based ingredients into their microfoam?

The world barista championships is composed of 3 rounds, an espresso course, a milk beverage course and a signature beverage. Until now, the milk beverage course could only have 2 ingredients – dairy milk and espresso coffee. Now competitors will be able to serve their espresso topped with plant-based drinks such as soy, coconut, oat, almond and rice.

Finding the right plant-based drink for your coffee will be a new skillset for competitors. To assist with this, the Coffee Knowledge Hub and Alpro are adding a new module to our plant based drinks and coffee course. A practical guide to choosing the best plant-based drink for your coffee. We have developed a methodology for testing and scoring different ingredients. While we are launching this for competitions, it is also highly applicable to anyone who wants to find the best plant-based beverage for their coffee in a café or food service setting.

The world barista championships have been at the forefront of innovation in the specialty coffee industry. They have been the launching pad to many industry developments we now take for granted. Coffee innovations include, single origin then single farm, then microlot espresso, lighter roasted coffees, coffee processing (naturals, honeys, carbonic, anaerobic), varietals such as geisha and now of course new species such as eugenioides. We have also seen innovation in the milk beverage with careful milk sourcing down to single cow production and freeze distilling. Let’s see how baristas and companies will push the boundaries with plant-based beverages as an ingredient.


Alpro is kindly donating free spots for any national champions on route to World of Coffee Athens – get in touch by emailing or by DM on these Instagram handles.


For anyone else, get 50% off the course using code: *plantbaseddream *

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Author:Andrew Tolley

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