Highlights from the U.S. CoffeeChamps Preliminaries in Durham, N.C.; Atlanta; Denver; and South Plainfield, N.J.

We recap the winners from the latest U.S. Coffee Championships preliminary competitions.


We’re in the midst of the 2019-2020 U.S. Coffee Champs preliminary competitions, which kicked off in late July in Honolulu, Hawaii, and continue through October almost weekly in 13 different U.S. cities. The competition categories are Barista, Brewers Cup, Coffee In Good Spirits, Cup Taster, and Roaster. Those who ranked in the top six for Barista, the top four from Brewers Cup, and the top three from the other competitions will automatically advance to the qualifying competitions, which determine who goes on to the 2020 U.S. Coffee Championships. 

Check out the results of the first three prelims here, and stay tuned for our coverage of the remaining preliminaries.

Durham, N.C.
On August 17, Counter Culture Coffee hosted a preliminary event in Durham, N.C., for the Cup Taster competition.

Cup Taster
1. Sally Parlier—Independent
2. Chelsea Thoumsin—Counter Culture Coffee, Durham
3. Daryn Berlin—Jetplane Coffee, Durham

The top three Cup Tasters from the Durham prelims: Daryn Berlin (second place), Sally Parlier (first), and Chelsea Thoumsin (third). Photo by Ben Helfen.

East Pole Coffee Co. hosted a preliminary competition August 17-18 in Atlanta featuring the Barista and Brewers Cup events.

1. Chelsea Kallman—Stay Golden, Nashville, Tenn.
2. Sarah Barnett—Mama Mochas, Auburn, Ala.
3. Whit Hagemann—East Pole Coffee Co., Atlanta
4. Jimmy Truong—Epilogue Roasters, Birmingham, Ala.
5. Morgan Mooney-Honeychurch, Revelator Coffee, Atlanta
6. Laura Ostendorff—Due South Coffee Roasters, Greenville, S.C.

Brewers Cup
1. Wade Preston—Prevail Coffee Roasters, Montgomery, Ala.
2. Blake Nail—Seeds Coffee, Birmingham, Ala.
3. Marvin Duncan, East Pole Coffee Co., Atlanta
4. Alyssa Bell—Taproom Coffee, Atlanta

Atlanta’s top Barista and Brewers Cup competitors advanced to the qualifying championships. Clockwise from left: Jimmy Truong (Barista fourth place), Whit Hagemann (Barista third place), Morgan Mooney-Honeychurch (Barista fifth place), Laura Ostendorff (Barista sixth place), Alyssa Bell (Brewers Cup forth place), Marvin Duncan (Brewers Cup third place), Blake Nail (Brewers Cup second place), Chelsea Kallman (Barista first place), Sarah Barnett (Barista second place), and Wade Preston (Brewers Cup first place). Photo courtesy of U.S. Coffee Championships.

On August 24, the Rocky Mountain Craft Coffee Alliance hosted a preliminary event in Denver featuring the Roaster and Cup Taster competitions.

1. Corey Wall—Little Owl Coffee, Denver
2. Nathan Delacruz, Copper Door Coffee Roaster, Denver
3. Jillion Potter—Coda Coffee, Denver

The top three Roaster finishers from the Denver prelims: Corey Wall (first place), Jillion Potter (third place), and Nathan Delacruz (second place). Photo by Leo Sideras.

Cup Taster
1. Melissa White—Savaya Coffee Market, Tucson, Ariz.
2. Jake Heenehan—Edison Coffee, Flower Mound, Texas
3. Joseph Bloom—Switchback Coffee Roasters, Colorado Springs, Colo.

South Plainfield, N.J.
Royal New York hosted a preliminary August 23-25 in South Plainfield, N.J., with the Barista, Cup Taster, and Brewers Cup competitions.

1. Topher Ou—Little Collins, New York, N.Y.
2. Jenna Gotthelf—Counter Culture Coffee, New York
3. Anthony Ragler—Independent
4. Marsinah Hopkins—Ultimo Coffee, Philadelphia
5. Micha Riopel—Yanni’s Coffee, New York, N.Y.

Cup Taster
1. Eduardo Choza—Mayorga Organics, Rockville, Md.
2. Hiroki Kobayashi—95 RPM Coffee, Brooklyn, N.Y.
3. Sirada “Peace” Sakulclanuv—Starbucks Reserve Roastery, New York, N.Y.

The South Plainfield, N.J., Cup Taster preliminary winners: KT, Sirada “Peace” Sakulclanuv (third place), Eduardo Choza (first place), and Hiroki Kobayashi (second place). Photo by Zoey Thorson.

Brewers Cup
1. Mauritio Ruiz Giraldo—La Colombe Coffee Roasters, New York, N.Y.
2. Ben Phillips—Stumptown Coffee Roasters, New York, N.Y.
3. Brett Keller—La Colombe Coffee Roasters, New York, N.Y.
4. Caleb Lewis—Maiden Coffee Roasters, Asbury Park, N.J.

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Mark Van Streefkerk
is Barista Magazine’s social media content developer and a frequent contributor. He is also a freelance writer, social media manager, and novelist based out of Seattle. If Mark isn’t writing, he’s probably biking to his favorite vegan restaurant. Find out more on his website.