Just as the WBC wraps up, we’re back in a whole new competition season! Here’s a recap of the first three preliminary competitions, held in Chattanooga, Tenn., Amarillo, Texas, and Denver.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Daniel Mendoza
It’s official—it’s competition season! Kicking off in July, 10 cities across the United States will host preliminary competitions leading up to the United States Coffee Championships (USCC) national competitions. At these events, baristas and brewers will compete for spots in two qualifying events—one in Denver in December and one in Nashville in January—to determine who will compete for the title of the country’s best barista and brewer.
Three preliminary events have already taken place—one in Chattanooga, Tenn., hosted by Plus Coffee; one in Amarillo, Texas, hosted by Palace Coffee; and one in Denver, hosted by Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. Here are some of the highlights of the competition, along with a list of competitors from each competition who will be heading to the qualifying event.
Chattanooga was the very first stop on the coffee preliminaries tour. With just a month in between this competition and the World Barista Championship (WBC), this preliminary was small and intimate (only six baristas and eight brewers competed). Here are the results:
1. Cabell Tice—Orchard Coffee, Waynesville, N.C.
2. Austin Dryden—Spiller Park, Atlanta
3. Juan Diaz—Deeply Coffee, Orlando, Fla.
4. Jonathan Shea—Plus Coffee, Chattanooga, Tenn.
5. Tyler Sowrey—Mean Mug, Hixon, Tenn.
6. Christina Bellatoni—NEAT Coffee, Darien, Conn.
1. Wade Preston—Prevail Coffee, Montgomery, Ala.
2. Mark Stahlwood—Mad Priest, Chattanooga, Tenn.
3. Ken Johnson—Due South Coffee, Greenville, S.C.
4. Josh Hubbard—Dynamite Coffee, Cape Girardieu, Mo.
All photos courtesy of Gunnar Widowski
Palace Coffee hosted one of the most exciting preliminaries, attracting competition veterans like Andrea Allen and the 2017 U.S. Brewers Cup Champion Dylan Siemens in a competitive field of baristas and brewers from around the Midwest.
1. Nick Stevens—West Oak Coffee Roasters, Denton, Texas
2. Jerry Ponzer—Messenger Coffee, Kansas City, Mo.
3. Nicholai Elkins—Individual, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
4. John Ruben Medina—Palace Coffee, Amarillo, Texas
Photos by Daniel Mendoza
Lots of returning competitors from the 2018 competition circuit met in Denver to take part in a fiercely competitive event hosted by Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters.
We’ll be bringing you updates on upcoming preliminary competitions. Next week is a big one—we’ll have updates on the competitions in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Hawaii, and Canton, Ohio!