Canton, Honolulu, Washington, D.C.: Continuing Coverage of Coffee Preliminaries

Coffee preliminary competitions continue in a jam-packed weekend featuring competitions in Canton, Ohio; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Washington, D.C.


Cover photo courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee

This past weekend, August 11 and 12, baristas and brewers from across the country (and across the Pacific!) competed in three preliminary events leading up to the United States Coffee Championships (USCC) national competitions. At these events, baristas and brewers vied for spots in one of two qualifying events—one in December in Denver and one in January in Nashville—to determine who will compete for the title of the country’s best barista and brewer.

The past weekend featured three different competitions spanning all corners of the country. Photo courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee.

We previously covered competitions in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver; and Amarillo, Texas. This past weekend, three preliminary events took place: one in Washington, D.C.; a brewers-only competition in Honolulu, Hawaii; and a barista-only competition in Canton, Ohio. Here’s what happened at these events:


Four of the top six barista competitors from Washington, D.C. From left to right: Cassie Ash, Steph Caronna, Anthony Ragler, and Jenna Gotthelf. Photo by Reggie Elliott.

The folks at the barista-driven organization DMV Coffee hosted an exciting and competitive barista and Brewers Cup competition at The LINE Hotel DC.

Baristas and brewers gathered at The LINE Hotel DC in a competitive event. Photo by Farrah Skeiky.


1. Cassie Ash—Small Planes, Washington, D.C.
2. Jenna Gotthelf—Counter Culture Coffee, New York City
3. Anthony Ragler—Vigilante Coffee Co., Hyattsville, Md.
4. Hannah Vered—Ogawa Coffee, Boston
5. Topher Ou—Little Collins, New York City
6. Steph Caronna—North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.

Brewers Cup

1. Johnny Costa—ReAnimator Coffee, Philadelphia
2. Tito Pena—The Wydown Coffee Bar, Washington, D.C.
3. John Krugler—Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co., Richmond, Va.
4. Matthew Leberman—Independent, Baltimore


The coffee farms of Honolulu served as the backdrop for the Brewers Cup competition on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee.

We jump from the East Coast all the way to the middle of the Pacific Ocean for our next competition, a Brewers Cup-only showdown hosted by HARCHala Tree CoffeeHonolulu Coffee Company, and Pacific Coffee Research.

Judges evaluated coffee from 10 competitors, all from Honolulu. The top four earned spots at the qualifying events later this year. Photo courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee.

1. Thomas Keisling—Honolulu Coffee Company, Honolulu
2. Madelenie LG—Independent, Holualoa
3. Douglas Yi Young—Honolulu Coffee Company, Honolulu
4. Justin Schiada—Roadcase Coffee, Honolulu

This competition was only for Brewers Cup and featured all types of home brewing devices. Photo courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee.


Some of the competitors from the Canton preliminary. From left to right: James Blanchard, Joe Dininger, Lindsey Overstreet, and Rachael Diaz. Photo by Kat Adams.

Muggswigz Coffee teamed up with Arts in Stark and Visit Canton to host a spectator-friendly competition, where baristas competed for spots in the qualifying event while local artists displayed and sold their work to interested guests.

Every preliminary event is made possible by the judges, who generously donate their skills and time. From left to right: Kat Adams, Audri Turley, Morgan Haas,  and Jason Gasper-Hulvat. Photo courtesy of Kat Adams.

1. Joe Burns
2. Joe Dininger
3. James Blanchard
4. Rachael Diaz
5. Sean Hreha
6. Lindsey Overstreet

(The scoresheet does not include the name of the businesses for which the baristas competed.)

We’ll be back soon with updates from Montgomery, Ala., and Seattle!

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