Coffee shops and cafés around the UK are being visited by judges of the Beverage Standard Association’s (BSA) Awards panel.

As part of the Beverage Standards Awards, due to take place on 20 September, out-of-home retail outlets will be assessed on a number of criteria including the quality of drinks, standards of service and the development and training of staff.

Ranald Paterson, chairman of the judges, said: “The judges have started visiting outlets incognito. The standard of entries is very high this year and we will have a difficult job. We have found potential 5 Cup and Best Drink Award sites. They are offering customers a good choice of different coffees, teas and hot chocolates, just as they would have a choice of wines or food.

“We are seeing exciting menus explaining products clearly, with knowledgeable staff who are not just selling a drink, but encouraging the sale of more drinks and ancillary products.”

The BSA said judges will be assessing outlets not only by the quality of the beverages, but the service, facilities and atmosphere as a whole experience.

For the first time, entrants will be judged on environmental sustainability – for example, whether they use recycled materials and follow a strict environmental policy.

Businesses can additionally put forward three choices in the Best Drinks Awards category, including small espressos, cappuccino, lattes, flat white coffee, filter or cafetière coffees and teas.

Successful winners will be awarded with the BSA’s ‘cup’ rankings, between one and five cups in total, which can be displayed on doors or windows of outlets.