The Barista League USA Tour Concludes in Philly

One of the most exciting barista events ever to hit the States, The Barista League U.S.A. Tour raged on in Philly as the fourth and final event unfolded Saturday.


More than a year in the making, The Barista League USA Tour concluded with a killer event in Philadelphia on Saturday night at Ultimo Coffee. The four-city tour, which crossed the United States from Portland, Ore., to Kansas City, Mo., to Greenville, S.C., and finally, Philly, was the first time the beloved Scandinavian event—part party, part fun coffee competition—had crossed the Atlantic, and it was a resounding, incredible success.

Created by Steve Moloney two years ago, The Barista League was designed to be the polar opposite of the traditional, formal, stressful barista competition. Mind you, he’s not a hater—he himself has been the Swedish Barista Champion not just once but twice, and he sees the value in the World Barista Championship and national barista competitions. However, he created The Barista League to offer coffee professionals a way to include folks who might not otherwise compete by creating an inclusive, community-based, and fun-driven event that would neither intimidate nor alienate anyone. And it’s free to participate.

Obviously the format was popular with North American baristas, given the fact that the 12 team spots in each of the four cities filled up almost immediately after registration opened. Our zany and lovable coffee community truly showed up for The Barista League in the United States, with creative team names, inventive costumes, and enthusiasm in spades. To see photos from each city stop, check out @thebaristaleague on Instagram, as well as @baristamagazine. And be sure to seek out #thebaristaleague posts from hundreds of baristas around the country.

The Barista League in Philly took place at Ultimo Coffee’s new and fairly raw space, which made a fantastic backdrop for the event that drew more than 100 baristas from across the Eastern Seaboard. Here are some photos from the competition and party. Be sure to check out our recaps of the Portland, Kansas City, and Greenville stops, too.

Square One Coffee co-owner Jess Steffy (right) enjoys hanging out with some of Square One’s Philly café baristas at The Barista League USA Tour’s Philly event.
Ezra Baker (striped hat) and Tymika Lawrence (behind Ezra) made up Team Blue Ivy. Here they are pictured dialing in the Poursteady during the Barista League USA Tour’s Mystery Round, along with Poursteady CEO Stephan von Muehlen.
The Barista League is grateful for amazing volunteers who help bring these events to life!
Emcee T. Ben Fischer kept the party going all night. (How could he not in this fierce get-up, and with a bottle of wine in the pocket?)
At the end of the night, Team Water Babies was named the champion!
All 12 teams at all four tour stops got amazing goodie bags loaded with sponsor swag, and one team per city was named the champion. Then there was the Overall Winning Team, which was the one with the highest score of all four cities: Team Timeliners’ Cassie and Angela, who won the Kansas City event! Angela and Cassie are the winners not only of bragging rights, but of an all-expenses-paid trip to Colombia courtesy of Ally Coffee, where they will take part in the Ally Champs Trip. It’s going to be an amazing experience! (Photo courtesy of The Barista League)
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