Kansas City Gets Lit for The Barista League USA Tour Stop

The Barista League USA Tour continued with its second stop on Saturday with an epic event in Kansas City, Mo.


Scandinavia’s beloved indie coffee competition The Barista League made its second stop on a four-city tour of the United States on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., to great acclaim and festivity, and featuring competitors who traveled from as far as Colorado, New York, and Arkansas to compete alongside baristas from Kansas and Missouri. [The Barista League USA Tour began on August 30 in Portland, Ore.—see photos from that outstanding event here!] Given the long-standing tradition of coffee community inclusivity and barista fellowship in the Kansas City area, this tour stop felt to be a sure-thing from the start—and that’s exactly how things ended up.

Hosted by Workbench Coffee Labs and About the Coffee at the historic Morton Hall in downtown KC, the Barista League Kansas City was the first of the four tour dates to fill the competitor roster—it took something like 15 minutes after registration opened for the list to be complete. And what a list it was! While there were some superstar competitors among the teams—U.S. Barista and Brewers Cup finalists by the handful—there were plenty of newbies, too, which is exactly what The Barista League is about: Welcoming folks from all levels of coffee experience to get their hands dirty, have fun with coffee, and build community for the betterment of the entire industry.

In the end, Washington, D.C.-based baristas Cassie Ash and Angela Ferrara—aka Team Timeliners—were the night’s big winners of not only repute but some killer prizes from sponsors Pacific Barista Series, Ally Coffee, Barista Magazine, BWT Water + More, Compak, Onyx Coffee Lab, Baratza, Urnex, Poursteady, Espresso Parts, Loveramics, Workbench Coffee Labs, Black Rabbit Service Co., and Ultimo Coffee.

If you’ve been following The Barista League USA Tour news, you know that the ginormous prize of the whole tour is a trip for the team with the overall highest score from the whole tour to join the Ally Coffee Champs Trip to Colombia in October! So far, our top teams are Team Tarbus and Wilbo, i.e., Travis and Wil, from the Portland event, and now Cassie and Angela of Team Timeliners. Up next: The Barista League USA Tour will light up Greenville, S.C., on Thursday, September 6, and the tour will conclude with the final competition in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 8.

Stay tuned to @thebaristaleague and @baristamagazine on Instagram for all the latest photos, and check out the hashtag #thebaristaleague to see galleries from friends at all of the events! Until then, here are some shots of all the awesomeness that was The Barista League USA Tour’s Kansas City event.

Rewind 12 hours: Former regional barista champion Tyler Rovenstein hosted a welcome-to-Kansas-City party and cupping at his gorgeous coffee bar, Monarch, the night before the official event.
KC Hipster Cow made a comeback just for The Barista League’s Kansas City competition!
The man, the myth, the legend: Barista League creator and mastermind Steve Moloney poses with the Americana-themed trophies (no, that’s not an actual Bald Eagle claw on top, of course).
Teams weren’t required to wear matching outfits, but wowza was it great that some of them did! We give the unofficial first prize for attire to Team Juicy Mouthfeel, featuring Sam Neely and Michelle Johnson, who drove all the way from Colorado to compete in these radical, amazing outfits.
The bar was stocked with more than enough beer (thanks, Lagunitas!) and Pacific chocolate hazelnut drinks so everyone could stay hydrated in HOT HOT KC.
This enormous team from Onyx Coffee Lab came in from Arkansas to cheer for not one but two teams from their company: Team Matt’s Purgers (Lance Hedrick and Elika Liftee) and Team Portafilter Slaughterfest (Dylan Siemens and Andrea Allen).
What would these events be without the awesome volunteers? Kansas City’s amazing gang of helpers made the whole event go off without a hitch.
Team The Fresh Millers (Kati Clair and Jerry Ponzer) stop by to chat with judge Pete Licata (left) during a break.
First-place finishers Team Timeliners (Cassie Ash and Angela Ferrara, in foreground) with pals and second-place finishers Jenna Gotthelf and Thea Heilbron have a blast playing with the Poursteady.
We have a special place in our heart for Team Konjobuna (Dawitt Debasso and Kris Carlson) who were competing in coffee for the very first time. They told Barista Mag that they had an incredible experience, lots of fun and learning, and they’re ready to take on more adventures in coffee now, thanks to The Barista League.
Team Guji Gang (Emily Orendorff and Melissa Vaiden) take a load off at the judges’ area while waiting to find out the winner.
Say hello to the youngest soon-to-be-barista-champ in attendance at The Barista League Kansas City event, Abishai Allen, pictured here with mom, Andrea.
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