Congrats to 2024’s U.S. Coffee Champions! 

The U.S. Coffee Championships in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., crowned this year’s winners in the national Cup Tasters, Brewers Cup, and Barista Championships.

BY KATE VAN PETTEN
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

After a qualifying round in Houston, some of the nation’s best coffee professionals gathered in the foothills of California’s San Gabriel Mountains at Klatch Coffee for three national competitions of the U.S. Coffee Championships.

This is the first year that the U.S. Coffee Championships were hosted without the support of the Speciality Coffee Association, requiring more community-led support than ever. “This was not a business-as-usual year for this competition, and so the lift was so much harder,” says Debra Kaminski, director of foodservice marketing at Pacific Foods, the title sponsor for the event.

A wide shot of the warehouse holding the U.S. Coffee Champs competition.
Klatch Coffee was kind enough to host the U.S. Coffee Championships for no cost in their massive new warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Photo by Kenneth R. Olson.

With many community-donated resources, including Klatch Coffee’s new 15,700-square-foot warehouse, a diverse team of volunteers across judging, audio-video, time-keeping, and more, the U.S. Coffee Championships were hosted at a smaller scale than usual, independently from the Specialty Coffee Expo. There were many challenges ,including a limited two-bathroom capacity, missing necessary equipment such as proper competition tables, rolling carts, a proper sound system and audio-video team, and more. Despite the challenges, the coffee community came together to execute a beautiful event, which was miraculously live streamed through volunteer support on YouTube.

“It is very DIY. Like the zine of competitions,” says judge and renowned coffee professional Rachel Apple.

Without further delay, here are the results for the 2024 U.S. Coffee Championships.

Memhet Sogan celebrates winning the U.S. Coffee Championships Cup Tasters title.
Mehmet Sogan celebrates his win in the U.S. Cup Tasters Championship. Photo by Kenneth R. Olson.

CUP TASTERS

  1. Mehmet Sogan (he/him) – Memli Coffee Lab – San Diego
  2. Tom Bomford (he/him) – Black Fox Coffee – New York
  3. Ryan Sullivan (he/him) – Mostra Coffee – San Diego
  4. Sean Coyne (he/him) – Brio Coffeeworks – Burlington, Va.
Weihong Zhang talks to the judges during his performance at the Brewers Cup at the U.S. Coffee Championship in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Weihong Zhang in his finals-round performance in the U.S. Brewers Cup, which he went on to win. Photo by Kenneth R. Olson.

BREWERS CUP

  1. Weihong Zhang (he/him) – BlendIn Coffee Club – Houston
  2. Peace Sakulclanuwat (she/her) – Coffee Project NY – New York
  3. Pack Katisomsakul (he/him) – Newbery Street Coffee Roasters – Boston
  4. Hugo Cano (he/him) – Amberson Coffee – Indianapolis
  5. Andy Sprenger (he/him) – Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters – Lakewood, Colo.
  6. Marc Chiusano (he/him) – Flux Coffee – Farmingdale, N.Y.
Lem Butler, Bronwen Serna and Heather Perry all former U.S. Barista Champions side by side at the 2024 U.S. Coffee Championships.
U.S. Barista Champs of the past: From left, Lem Butler, 2016 USBC; Bronwen Serna, 2004 USBC; and Heather Perry, 2005 + 2007 USBCs. Photo by Kenneth R. Olson.
2023 U.S. Barista Champion Isaiah Sheese interviews Frank La after his performance at the 2024 U.S. Coffee Championships.
2023 United States Barista Champion Isaiah Sheese (right) chats with Frank La after the finals performance that won Frank the title of 2024 United States Barista Champion. Photo by Kenneth R. Olson.

BARISTA

  1. Frank La (he/him) – Be Bright Coffee – Los Angeles
  2. Morgan Eckroth (they/she) – Onyx Coffee Lab – Portland, Ore.
  3. Jason Yeo (he/him) – Saint Frank Coffee – San Francisco
  4. Kay Cheon (he/him) – Dune Coffee – Santa Barbara, Calif.
  5. Rafael Levy Diner (he/him) – Onyx Coffee Lab – Rogers, Ark.
  6. Meg Skop (she/her) – The Coffee Movement – San Francisco
Barista competitor Morgan Eckroth's signature beverage on a custom serving platform which includes fog.
Morgan Eckroth’s signature beverage, which included an orange blossom, peach, and bergamot aromatic fog executed through a custom-build fog distribution system. Photo by Niki Weegens of Onyx Coffee Lab.

Check back tomorrow to get to know some of the champions!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Van Petten (they/them) is a writer, musician, and coffee professional based in Seattle. They have worked in the specialty-coffee industry for years with a focus on creative storytelling through marketing. You can find their songs and poems in Coffee People Zine, and you can listen to their debut audiobook, For Someone, on cassette tape or online via Hello America Stereo Cassette. They are currently an editor and publicist for Poetry Northwest, the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running literary journal. If you want to share a story or connect, you can reach them at katevanpetten@gmail.com.

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