Scenes and Results from the First 2019-2020 U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifier

Here are all the Barista and Brewers Cup competitors from the first Qualifier in Sumner, Wash., advancing to nationals this February.


Photos by Paige Hicks

On the first weekend of December, coffee competitors from throughout the U.S.A. gathered in Sumner, Wash., for the first United States Coffee Championships Qualifiers, hosted by Dillanos Coffee Roasters.

The action-packed weekend featured two competitions: Barista and Brewers Cup. Competitors gained entry into the Qualifiers by passing through one of 13 preliminary events held earlier this year; finishing in the finals of the 2019 U.S. Barista or Brewers Cup Championship; or signing up for one of the limited number of open spots.

Demi Chacon, a participant in the Glitter Cat Brewers Bootcamp, competes in the Brewers Cup event at Qualifiers in Sumner. Demi would go on to place 10th in the event and advance to nationals.

In Sumner, 18 Barista competitors and 15 Brewers Cup competitors qualified for their respective national competitions, which will take place February 21-23 in Costa Mesa, Calif.—read on for the full list of those advancing.

The next Qualifiers event will take place at Track One in Nashville, Tenn., on January 11-12. The event will feature all five U.S. CoffeeChamps competitions: Barista, Brewers Cup, Coffee In Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, and Roaster.

Cole McBride, the 2018 U.S. Barista Champion, competes in the Barista Qualifier in Sumner. Cole placed sixth, advancing to the U.S. Barista Championship in February.

Here are the Sumner competitors advancing to nationals in Costa Mesa:

Barista Competition Advancing Competitors

1. Andrea Allen—Onyx Coffee Lab, Rogers, Ark.
2. Sam Neely—Amethyst Coffee Company, Denver
3. Isaiah Sheese—Archetype Coffee, Omaha, Neb.
4. Austin Amento—Augie’s Coffee, Redlands, Calif.
5. Kay Cheon—Dune Coffee Roasters, Santa Barbara, Calif.
6. Cole McBride—Ada’s Discovery Cafe, Seattle
7. Hugo Cano—Amberson Coffee, Indianapolis
8. Rodrigo Vargas—Elixr Coffee Roasters, Philadelphia
9. Kae Bonaguro—Collective Espresso, Cincinnati
10. David Castillo—Go Get Em Tiger, Los Angeles
11. Reyna Callejo—Olympia Coffee, Olympia, Wash.
12. Meg Skop—Independent, Oakland, Calif.
13. Reef Bessette—The Coffee Movement, San Francisco
14. Nathan Ngo—Dune Coffee Roasters, Santa Barbara, Calif.
15. Adam JacksonBey—Tell Coffee, Washington, D.C.
16. Juan Diaz—Santo Coffee Co./Devoción, Seattle
17. Topher Ou—Little Collins, New York City
18. Elisabeth Johnson—Hagen Coffee Roasters, Seattle

The top three Barista finishers at the Sumner Qualifier, from left: Sam Neely, second place; winner Andrea Allen; and third-place finisher Isaiah Sheese.

Brewers Cup Advancing Competitors

1. Paul Menefee—Archetype Coffee, Omaha, Neb.
2. Ken Selby—Blossom Coffee Roasters, Seattle
3. John Kruegler—Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company, Richmond, Va.
4. Lance Hedrick—Onyx Coffee Lab, Rogers, Ark.
5. Tommy Kim—Balrog Coffee, Los Angeles
6. Monica Sandoval—Augie’s Coffee, Redlands, Calif.
7. Aaron Stout—Oregon Coffee Board, Beaverton, Ore.
8. Josh Modisette—Narrative Coffee, Everett, Wash.
9. Mary Houston—Red Rooster Coffee, Floyd, Va.
10. Demi Chacon—Independent, Tampa, Fla.
11. Jerry Ponzer—Messenger Coffee, Raytown, Mo.
12. Jeremy Ecklund—Dune Coffee Roasters, Santa Barbara, Calif.
13. Caleb Lewis—Maiden Coffee, Asbury Park, N.J.
14. Jeremy Smith—Sons Coffee, Fort Worth, Texas
15. Chris Culler—Dillanos Coffee Roasters, Sumner, Wash.

The Brewers Cup winners at the Sumner Qualifier, from left: John Kruegler, third place; winner Paul Menefee; and Ken Selby, second place.
About Chris Ryan 262 Articles
Chris Ryan (he/him) is Barista Magazine's online copy editor and a freelance writer and editor with a background in the specialty coffee industry. He has been content director of Sustainable Harvest and the editor of Fresh Cup Magazine.