There will be 13 preliminary competitions across the country in advance of the USCC qualifiers.
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Photos by Sarah Allen
It seems like there were mere moments between when Andrea Allen was crowned U.S. Barista Champion and Elika Liftee was named U.S. Brewers Cup Champion in February 2020, and when we were suddenly living in a global pandemic. The year dragged on with no World Barista Championship or World Brewers Cup in sight, and the U.S. Cup Tasters, Coffee In Good Spirits, Latte Art, and Roasters Championships never even happened at all in 2020. While we did finally see world stages for Andrea and Elika—who placed second and third, respectively, in the heated international championships in Milan in October 2021—there were no preliminary comps or qualifiers to lead up to the 2022 U.S. Coffee Championships, which took place at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston in April of this year.
But with the 2022–2023 competition season, the U.S. Coffee Championships are back in full force under the leadership of longtime competition judge and volunteer Lauren Lathrop, who from 2021–2023 is the U.S. Competitions Committee chair, and Adam JacksonBey, the U.S. Chapter Competitions coordinator. With a new collaborative strategy in place that began with the 2022 championships, the competitions are now volunteer-run and led by the U.S. Chapter National Committee, with support provided by Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Community Experience Staff members Grace Freeman (press communications), Mansi Chokshi (regional director), and Sheila Magno (community manager).
U.S. Coffee Championship Prelims – 13 Dates and Locations Set
With the announcement of the 13 preliminary competitions to take place between August and October preceding the qualifiers, which determine who goes on to nationals, Grace Freeman shared the following: “U.S. Coffee Championship Preliminary competitions are community-driven events hosted entirely by the SCA USA Chapter and U.S. Competitions Committees alongside community volunteers, allowing community members the chance to host an official competition as an accessible, low stakes platform to introduce any newcomer to competitions. Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to connect with the Preliminary Host nearest them.“ Below we’ve linked to all the companies hosting events, so you can reach out to them for more information.
The coffee community is ready to go! “We’re excited to see member-driven, community-focused events return with this season’s prelims schedule. We hope these events bring new competitors, judges, and volunteers into the world of competitions and puts a spotlight on local roasters and cafés,” Lauren Lathrop told Barista Magazine. “We’re looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones at this years’ prelims.”
It was also announced that the qualifier competitions, while still not firm in date and location, will take place in the winter season. The national U.S. Coffee Championships are scheduled to take place at the Specialty Coffee Expo, which will be held in Portland, Ore., April 21–23, 2023. The winners of the 2023 U.S. Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, and Cup Tasters Championship will compete at their respective World Coffee Championships to be held in conjunction with the World of Coffee event in Athens, Greece, June 22–24, 2023. The winners of the U.S. Latte Art, Coffee In Good Spirits, and Roasting Championships will compete in their global championships at the Taiwan International Coffee Show November 17–20, 2023.
2022 U.S. Coffee Championship Preliminary Competitions
August 19–21: Hawaii Coffee Association (Kailua, Hawaii)—Brewers Cup and Roaster
August 26–28: Presta Coffee Roasters (Tucson, Arizona)—Barista, Brewers Cup, and Cup Tasters
September 2–4: Fluid Cooperative (San Francisco, California)—Barista
September 9–11: Black & White Coffee (Raleigh, North Carolina): Barista and Brewers Cup
September 9–11: Luce Coffee Roasters (Houston, Texas): Latte Art
September 16–18: Luce Coffee Roasters (Houston, Texas): Roaster
September 23–25: Houston Coffee Collective (Houston, Texas): Cup Tasters
September 30–October 2: The Crown (Oakland, California): Cup Tasters and Roaster
October 7–9: Blanchard’s Coffee Co. (Richmond, Virginia): Barista, Brewers Cup, and Coffee In Good Spirits
October 7–9: Tinker Coffee Co. (Indianapolis, Indiana): Cup Tasters and Roaster
October 21–23: Spyhouse Coffee Roasters (Minneapolis, Minnesota): Barista and Brewers Cup
October 28–30: Uncommon Coffee (Essex, Vermont): Barista and Latte Art
October 28–30: Brio Coffeeworks (Burlington, Vermont): Cup Tasters