These Are the Baristas and Brewers Competing at CoffeeChamps

The Specialty Coffee Association has released the dates and locations for the U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions. Here’s a complete list of all the baristas and brewers moving on from the preliminary events.


Cover photo by Nathanael May

Last week, the Specialty Coffee Association announced the location of the two U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions—one will be held in Reno, Nev., the other in New Orleans. These events will determine the 36 baristas and brewers (along with the roasters and cup tasters) that will move on to the United States Coffee Championships in Seattle in 2018. The event in Reno will take place first on December 9-10, while the competition in New Orleans will happen February 3-4.

CoffeeChamps will take place in Reno, Nev., and New Orleans. The top eight and four competitors from the barista competition and Brewers Cup, respectively, earn automatic spots. These are the top eight barista competitors from the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., event. Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee.

Over the past two months, eight cities hosted preliminary competitions for baristas and brewers—truncated events where competitors were given coffee from the event hosts and asked to present drinks to judges in a shortened format. From each competition, the top eight baristas and four brewers earned spots at the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competition of their choice. Each event will host 60 baristas and 36 brewers for a total of 120 baristas and 72 brewers. These events will also host the first round of the Cup Tasters and Roaster competitions.

Eli Ramirez preparing for his performance at the Tulsa, Okla., preliminary event. He’ll be competing in the CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competition. Photo courtesy of Austin Leith.

Registration opens on October 25, and there are still 64 spots for baristas and 44 spots for brewers available for those that either didn’t qualify in the top eight during the preliminary events or did not compete in a regional. Much like CoffeeChamps last year, baristas will only be required to present an espresso course and a signature drink to a panel of four judges in 10 minutes. At the United States Barista Championship in April, the format will include a milk course and competitors will be given 15 minutes.

There will be four judges at CoffeeChamps during the barista event at the Qualifying Competition. Baristas will be required to serve espresso and a signature drink. Photo courtesy of Bailey Arnold.

Baristas and brewers who placed in the top eight or top four, respectively, at the preliminary events will have the choice of which Qualifying Competition they’d like to compete in. Here’s a complete list of the baristas and brewers you’ll see at one of the two events:


Brandon Acuña, Fleet Coffee
Andrea Allen, Onyx Coffee
Bailey Arnold, Gregorys Coffee
Macallie Atkinson, Verve Coffee Roasters
Nicholas Balcer, Barista
Matthew Barahura, Intelligentsia Coffee
Adam Berge, Seattle Coffee Works
Lucas Bermejo, Independent
Joel Bigelow, Messenger Coffee
Sam Brandvein, Dillanos Coffee Roasters
Simeon Bricker, Splitlog Coffee Co.
Kay Cheon, The French Press
Diane Contreras, Vigilante Coffee Company
Conor Dolan, Cherry Street Public House
Austin Dryden, Spiller Park Coffee
Jon Fiedler, Grateful Brew
T. Ben Fischer, Elixr Coffee Roasters
Jenna Gotthelf, Everyman Espresso
Dakota Graff, Airship Coffee
Brad Hartman, Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse
Katie Hatch, Caffe Medici
Penelope Hearne, Counter Culture Coffee
Steve Holm, Stovetop Coffee Roasters
Jared Holt, Black & White Coffee
Andrew Iverson, Cherry Street Public House
Paul Johnson, Mission Coffee Co.
Won Jong, Gimme! Coffee
Hana Kaneshigo, Verve Coffee Roasters
Tae-Wan Kim, Kindness & Mischief
Naida Lindberg, Verve Coffee Roasters
Suzy Lippmann, Augie’s Coffee
Morgan Macinnis, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters
Mike Marquard, Blueprint Coffee
Andrew McCaslin, Kaldi’s Coffee
Jen McElroy, Klatch Coffee
Josh McNeilly, Black Black Coffee
Alex Medina, Methodical Coffee
Alexandra Mireles, Klatch Coffee
Sam Neely, Switchback Roasters
Joel Norman, Chattahoochee Coffee Company
Evan Pollitt, Summit Coffee
Eli Ramirez, Halfwit Coffee
Levi Roye, PT’s Coffee
Daps Salisbury, Blue Bottle Coffee
Sam Schaefer, Mighty Good Coffee
Matthew Scott, Lemonjello’s Coffee
Brian Seaver, Anchorhead Coffee Co.
Dawn Shanks, Peregrine Espresso
Isaiah Sheese, Archetype Coffee
Dylan Siemens, Onyx Coffee
Michael Slomzenski, Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
Amy Trompeter, Ultimo Coffee
Robert Uribe, Cherry Street Public House
Shep Wadley, Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
Derrick Wessels, Beagle Coffee Company
Stephan Witchell, Tempest Coffee Collective


Ali Abderrahman, State Street Coffee
Jonathan Bonchak, Slingshot Coffee
Cruz Conrad, Pachamama Coffee
Jacob Cordie, Menagerie Coffee
Matt Foster, Kaldi’s Coffee
Kaley Gann, Messenger Coffee
Dut Goodman, Revelator Coffee
Mike Greene, Stovetop Coffee Roasters
Alex Hanson, Spyhouse Coffee
Kelly Hill, Temple Coffee
Omar Hossain, Brownsville Roasters
Argus Keppel, Goshen Coffee
Matt Leberman, 3 Bean Coffee
Sebastian Legner, Café Pomarrosa
Avery Leith, Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
Elika Liftee, Onyx Coffee Lab
Cody McGregor, Ultimo Coffee
Sam Miers, Kaldi’s Coffee
Zach Perkins, Water Avenue Coffee
Wade Preston, Prevail Coffee
Nick Rivera, Portola Coffee Roasters
Ben Silkes, Elixr Coffee Roasters
Blair Smith, Augie’s Coffee
James Spano, Cup to Cup
Nick Stevens, West Oak Coffee
Andy Tan, Equator Coffees & Teas
Sloane Wachob, Novo Coffee
Joe Yang, Case Study Coffee

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