And so it begins. The 2018 Coffee Masters competition has officially kicked off here at the London Coffee Festival. Coffee Masters is a competition unlike anything else in coffee right now. It is a marathon test of coffee know-how across a variety of fields. Today’s action revolved around cupping, brewing, and signature beverages.

Groups of two competitors take the stage for an hour-long test of their abilities to cup coffees ordered one through five, then have those coffees scrambled up and have to use only their taste buds guide them in putting the cups back in the correct order. Following in short order, competitors would choose one of the six mystery coffees to hand brew for the judges as the second stage of Round One. Finally, competitors had 10 minutes to make a signature beverage of their own design. The action was multi-faceted and it was nonstop.

A sum total of 10 competitors were put through the ringer today, but they somehow found a way to come out the other side unscathed. So let’s look back at all the action from Day One and see how they did it, shall we?

Sprudge Media Network’s coverage of the 2018 London Coffee Festival is supported by Cafe Imports, Acaia, Assembly Coffee, Oatly UK, Faema, and Loveramics.

Jimmy Dimitrov, Clifton Coffee

After the cupping portion of Round 1, leads with two correct cups (out of 6) over Wallace, with one. Now onto the brewing.

. of explains his Chemex brew to judge Mikaela Wallgren of .

. grinding coffee for this sig bev here at Round 1 of

That sound you here is the buzzer for Round 1 going off right as finishes pouring his sig bev.

Claire Wallace, Brew Lab Coffee

A blindfolded Claire Wallace of during the cupping portion of Round 1 at at the

A lovely sig bev from Claire Wallace.

We don’t do a lot of fashion reporting here on Sprudge Live, but if your routine included cat knee jeans, as Claire Wallace’s has, then you better believe we’ll be here to cover it.

Max White, Small Batch Coffee Roasters

At the end of the cupping round, ‘s Max White has a 2-1 lead over ‘s Natanaél Stürenberg.

That’s not how blindfolds work.

The disembodied hand of judge Kris Shackman of reaching for Max White’s sig bev here here

Max White of shares an aromoment with emcee during White’s sig bev presentation at

Natanaél Stürenberg, Five Elephant

Cupping coffees is no joke. The look on Natanaél Stürenberg’s face tells the whole story.

Natanaél Stürenberg of explains the tasting notes of his brewed coffee with judge David Donde of .

Again, we DON’T do a lot of fashion coverage here on Sprudge Live, but I nonetheless feel compelled to draw your attention to the wonderful suspenders of ‘s Natanaél Stürenberg.

Natanaél Stürenberg AeroPressin’ his sig bev here at

Polina Vladimirova, Coffeemania

Polina Vladimirova of deciphering the six cupping bowls in front of her.

A lovely sig bev from ‘s Polina Vladimirova here at

Jaya Chingen, LP Cafe

beats out Polina Vladimirova 3-1 in the cupping portion of Round 1 of

. cups coffee, has a very keen side eye.

Blindfolded, waits while the judges mix up the cups she just tasted and has to put back in their correct order (she got 3 right). This cupping is no joke, y’all.

. shares a laugh and a copper cupped sig bev with Emcee Jordan Michelman.

Agnieszka Rojewska

What happens to literally every competitor when the blindfolds go on at

It’s unclear if the logo on ‘s shirt is her own, but we are going to assume that she is that AR.

Confirmed. That is an Agnieska Rojewska logo on Agnieska Rojewska’s shirt. Style points to the max.

Judge’s and Freda Yun uncappin’ and sluggin’ down ‘s delicious sig bev at

Kasey Headley, Trinity Street Coffee Bar

Objective coffee journalism dictates that I have no rooting interest at . But when a competitor is from your home country—that country being Texas—one can’t help but root for them. Especially when they are up against , a clear favorite to win it all

Texas’ own cupping some (maybe) floral coffee in a (definitely) floral shirt.

The bourbon barrel aged coffee sig bev for of .

Rob Clarijs, Dasawe Coffee Roasters/Beanspire

Rob Clarijs cupping coffees at .

Rob Clarijs of & Beanspire builds a lovely, herbacious and apple-y sig bev.

Petra Strelecka, Industra Coffee

LITERALLY. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

. describes her brew to judge Mikaela Wallgren here at

Layers of flavor in this gorgeous sig bev from of .

Tune in tomorrow as Day Two of Round One gets underway, with 14 new competitors taking the stage.