A year-round competition to find Australia’s best coffee roaster—with a healthy dose of music, street food and, well, coffee.

Roaster Smackdown is made possible with the help of our sponsors past and present

In 2016, some friends with nothing better to do (other than roast) met for an ad-hoc comp to see who could roast best in the least time. Roaster Smackdown was born.

How does it work?

Roaster Smackdown runs all year and is comprised of monthly knockout events. Each event is composed of several elimination rounds that take place over one day.

The first round begins with sets of two roasters facing off against each other, with the winning cup in each round progressing to later rounds—until only one remains. The champion roaster then earns the right to duke it out in the final held in September, at the birthplace of Roaster Smackdown: ECRE Alexandria.

Competition Format

  • Each ‘event’ is a multi-round elimination tournament.
  • In the first round of a tournament, several sets of two roasters make coffee at the same time.
  • Competitors have one hour to roast, brew and present coffee.
  • Coffee is presented to the public via blind tasting.
  • Judging consists of each roast being evaluated by participants from the public, who go on to nominate their favourite roast.
  • Scores are tallied and the winning cup moves to the next round, until only one remains. 

The Rules

  • All roasters must use the same equipment, limited to: Ailio roaster, PUQ Press Tamper and Syncfo colour/density/moisture reader.
  • No other roasting or measurement equipment may be used in the preparation of coffee, but competitors are welcome to bring their own grinder, kettle and scales.
  • Green beans and water are the only ingredients allowed.
  • ECRE specifies (and provides) the green beans to be roasted and this is the only coffee that may be roasted.
  • Coffee not presented within the limit of one hour will be not be eligible for judging.


  • All coffee is subject to blind testing via the cupping technique of spoon, slurp and spit.
  • There is no scoring or formal judging criteria. Judges are asked which cup they’d prefer to drink.
  • Judges are not allowed to discuss samples with others.

What equipment do the roasters compete on?

Roaster Smackdown 2021 dates will be announced soon. Get in touch to participate