Scenes from the USCC Preliminaries—Seattle

Competitors battled it out in the barista-only preliminary at the Synesso Factory in Seattle. Find out who advanced to the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Event!


Photos by Sadie Renee.

This weekend, two of eight CoffeeChamps Preliminary Events took place. We covered the first barista/Brewers Cup event in Rancho Cucamonga, hosted by Klatch Coffee, and now we give you scenes and highlights from the barista-only event in Seattle, hosted by Synesso with additional sponsorship from Seattle Coffee Works, Camber Coffee, Royal Drummer Coffee, Visions Espresso Service, Stumptown Coffee, Anchorhead Coffee Co., and Fulcrum Coffee Roasters.

The incredibly creative competitor awards, courtesy of Synesso’s Sarah Palmer and Evan Hughes.


Every competitor received one of these awards, which were decked out with coffee gear appropriate for the event.


Competitor Adam Berge of Seattle Coffee Works, one of eight baristas who will be moving on to the to-be-announced Qualifying Event.


Head runner, Amanda from El Diablo Coffee, preps the next competitor’s station. One of the perks of the new preliminary format is that hosts can use whatever machines they have available. At this event, baristas competed on Synesso MVP Hydras.


Sam Brandvein of Dillanos Coffee Roasters preps for her performance. Sam will be advancing to the Qualifying Event.


Assistant head judge Dan Baumfeld preps the judges for the next competitor.


Head judge Ryan Willbur is joined by competitor-in-training Fitz.

In the last few years, we’ve seen coffee competitions hosted in large venues with lots of fanfare—baristas are mic-ed up, there’s a Livestream for those not in attendance, and dozens of volunteers are called on to judge, clean, calibrate, and keep the event moving. Simply put, these events took a lot of time and energy. The switch to more regionally driven events means competitions in smaller venues, shorter programs, and a larger focus on the local coffee community. There are six more competitions to go, so it’s still up in the air as to how this new format will be received and if the format achieves the goal of bringing in more competitors at a lower cost to baristas.

The top eight were not ranked at this event, so here’s a list of those baristas advancing, in no particular order:

Andrew Iverson – Cherry Street Public House
Conor Dolan –  Cherry Street Public House
Sam Brandvein – Dillanos Coffee Roasters
Brian Seaver – Anchorhead Coffee Co.
Robert Uribe – Cherry Street Public House
Nicholas Balcer – Barista
Morgan Macinnis – Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters
Adam Berge – Seattle Coffee Works

The next competition will be in Portland, Ore., featuring only the Brewers Cup competition, September 8-10, hosted by the Portland Coffee Social Club.

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at