Barista Champs volunteers and general position information

Barista Champs Volunteer Positions

Emcee – Master of Ceremonies (2+)
Time Keeper/Runner (3) Station Maintenance (1) Scorekeeper (2) Social Media (1) Photographer (1) Music Desk (1) Camera person (1+) Head Volunteer (1) Stage Manager (1) Head Barista (1)

General rules for all volunteers:

Volunteers are an important element in barista competitions. Volunteers must adhere to these basic rules to avoid any conflicts during a competition:

  • Volunteers should only be in the backstage or competition areas when scheduled to work.
  • Volunteers are not allowed to touch or move any competitor’s belongings without permission from the competitor or the coordinator/head volunteer.
  • Volunteers cannot interfere with proceedings, modify equipment, or distract competitors at any time during the competition.
  • Volunteers must commit to being present for the entire time they are scheduled to work. No volunteer can leave or stop tasks without a replacement person to cover their position.
  • If a volunteer assists a competitor outside of the positions listed below, the competitor may be disqualified.
  • Volunteers should always find a coordinator/head volunteer for any issues or questions.

Emcee – Master of Ceremonies:

This position is responsible for announcing during the event. The emcee introduces each competitor in the competition. The goal of the emcee is to keep the audience informed and engaged about what is happening at the competition.

Time Keeper /Runners:

It will be the responsibility of this position to time each competitor’s setup/presentation/cleanup time with a stopwatch. This includes the preparation time on stage. You will be required to stand in the competition area near the competitor for the entire presentation time.

It will be the responsibility of this position to time each competitor’s 10-minute set up at regional and 5-minute prep time. The main NZ Barista Championship time of 15 minutes of competition time will all be timed with a provided stopwatch.

  • Stay on the competition station and stay near their competition benches for the entire stage time.
  • Instruct the competitor to let you know when they would like to begin.
  • Start your stopwatch (counting down from 15 minutes) at the moment the competitor begins to unload any materials or touch the station equipment. They may have their grinder/s and electrical equipment plugged in and tested before the prep start time.
  • Give audible cues to the competitor at:
    • 10 minutes remaining
    • 5 minutes remaining
    • 3 minutes remaining
    • 1 minute remaining
    • 30 seconds remaining

When the 5 or 15 minutes are up, give an audible warning to “stop”. The competitor should step back and refrain from touching anything at their station.

Competitors are allowed to walk away from their stations during this time. If the competitor forgets any materials they need, the competitor must be the only person to go retrieve it, in their time. The prep timekeeper cannot move anything on or from the station or assist the competitor with any set-up. If there is an obvious technical problem and the barista steps away from the equipment to request assistance, the prep timekeeper should stop the time and instruct the barista not to touch anything. The prep timekeeper should stay at the station and attempt to hail the coordinator. If any issues arise during the preparation time the prep timekeeper should hail the coordinator without leaving the station.

Start competition time:

The emcee will ask the competitor when they are ready to begin. Once all judges are present and in place on stage, the head judge will signal that they are good to start. The moment to start the stopwatch is when the competitor replies “yes” or starts to touch anything in their competition area. Or raises their hand and says time.

  • Start your stopwatch (counting up from 0) right on cue! The stopwatch should not be stopped before the end of the competition unless instructed by the coordinator or head judge.
  • Give cues to the competitors at the following intervals. You will announce these times unless the competitor gives you their own time warnings to read, written down. You must never say “time’s up” during competition time.
    • 10 minutes remaining
    • 5 minutes remaining
    • 3 minutes remaining
    • 1 minute remaining
    • 30 seconds remaining
    • DO NOT SAY Time’s UP

The competitor may ask for specific time warnings, ultimately it is their responsibility to track the time

  • Pay careful attention to the competition to be ready to stop the time when the competitor has completed their presentation.
  • The competition time should stop when the competitor raises their hand or says “time” out loud.
  • The recorded time should be left on the stopwatch and shown to the head judge.

Once the head judge has noted the time, then it is safe to reset the clock for the next competitor.

This position is also responsible for removing the dishes from each round of beverages served during the competitor’s presentation time. Competitors may request that the runner clear dishes in a particular way.

  • Stand at the side of the competition stage with a bus tub to be ready to clear dishes.
  • When the judges have had a chance to each take a couple of sips from their beverage, approach to collect dishes. Clear dishes on the Head Judge’s signal. Judges may request some additional time.
  • Collect the dishes (cups, saucers, spoons) very carefully and keep all the dishes from each competitor together.

The runners are not allowed to drink any of the competitor’s beverages or hand out any beverages for others to drink. The runners should be silent as they work. If necessary, the runner can quietly ask a judge if it’s okay to clear their dishes. The runner can watch the head judge for cues.

The stage manager locates the competitors when they are ready to prepare their carts and get them ready to head on stage.

Station Maintenance:

This position should be managed by a person with experience working on espresso equipment. This position is responsible for cleaning and preparing the competition stations. These tasks will need to be done for all competition stations before the start of the competition and throughout the competition as each competitor finishes using a competition station.

Approach the station with all appropriate cleaning supplies: blind portafilter, clean knock box, counter brush, grinder brush, dustpan, clean bar towels, and paper towels.

  • Backflush each group head on the espresso machine with the blind portafilter (without cleaner).
  • Remove inserts from portafilters and wash out thoroughly
  • Dampen a clean bar towel with hot water and thoroughly wipe down the steam wands on the espresso machine & purge the steam wands.
  • Wipe down the entire exterior of the espresso machine with a damp towel. Take special care in wiping the front side thoroughly. Use a dry towel to polish off the machine, if necessary.
  • Replace the used knock box with the clean knock box.
  • Move the grinder to the correct position (refer to competitor schedule) with assistance from the Stage manager
  • Check the water level of the water tank for the espresso machine. Fill or replace if less than half full.
  • Check the waste tank and empty it if more than half full.
  • Place any additional electrical equipment listed on the competitor’s schedule.
  • Empty bin.
  • Remove all cleaning items and leave the competition station very clean.

At no time should the station maintenance person remove or modify anything on any equipment. The station maintenance person should leave the stage area after preparing a competition station. After prepping each station, the station maintenance person should get a clean knock box and clean towels ready for the next station. This is also the best time to get any equipment from the next competitor.


This position is responsible for tallying scoresheets. This position should be held by a person with no conflicts of interest (i.e. not affiliated with any competitor in the competition).

  • Review the scoring procedure with the coordinator
  • Tally scores carefully with a system of double-checking.
  • Show complete discretion and avoid talking about scores with anyone. The person in this position must never reveal any score information to anybody before the entire completion of the competition.


Capture images of the event as per run list, competitors, sponsors, judges, volunteers, and general feel of the event. For those wishing to be a photographer, you will need to submit some of your previous work for selection to this role.

Music Desk:

In charge of keeping a list of the competitor’s music and cues as per their routine. Starts/stops music on cue from the barista.

Controls the main switchboard/AV desk as to music from competitors, microphone levels, and the switcher from PPT to live camera feed for the main screen.

Social Media:

Assists in uploading images and information about the championship throughout noting the association’s social media policy and not posting anything offensive.


On stage with live camera for feed to main screen and additional screens

Head Volunteer: 

Oversees and assigns tasks to all volunteers. 

Stage Manager:

  • In charge of ensuring the baristas are on time with carts ready on the side of the stage 15 minutes before their set-up time.
  • Assists and oversees that the station maintenance is completed, the correct grinders are in place on the stations, and electrical equipment is plugged in and tested before set-up time.
  • Ensures that each barista has the headset ready for presentation.
  • Communicate with the barista before set-up time that they are happy with the station setup.

Head Barista:

  • Overseas the barista station assisting in making coffee for the general public

Keen to volunteer at a regional event?




Expressions of interest in regional judging: