The Fourth Annual Cherry Roast Competition Returns to Denver

Cherry Roast is back! Now in its fourth year, Cherry Roast provides a platform for baristas not often seen in the competition circuit.


Cherry Roast is back! Now in its fourth year, the Denver-based competition—taking place November 12—aims to promote competitors not often seen on traditional coffee competition circuits. Look for a fun, inclusive atmosphere celebrating the talented coffee professionals not just in Denver, but across Colorado.

Cherry Roast is back for another year of competition, community, and commitment to promoting all types of barista competitors.

“This is year four of Cherry Roast, and I am definitely the most excited I’ve ever been for the competition,” shares Elle Jensen, co-owner of Amethyst Coffee and one of Cherry Roast’s founders. As always, the competition continues to evolve and change as Elle and the rest of the Cherry Roast team—Krystyn Wade and Breezy Sanchez—learn more about what works, what issues matter to baristas, and how to continually promote the values of inclusion, accessibility, and diversity.

Ellen Jensen (right) with designer and event organizer Breezy Sanchez, emceeing last year’s Cherry Roast.

This year, the competitors will face off in four rounds. “We changed things up,” Elle says, “so the rounds look like this:

1. Triangulation
2. Brewing
3. Timed Dial-In
4. Pandora’s Box Signature Drinks

We took out the milk round because of waste and we got to add the timed dial-in round that I’ve always wanted!”

Attendees are encouraged to cheer and rally for their favorite competitors—above is a sign for Loyal Coffee barista Abi Forgath, who would go on to win last year’s Cherry Roast.

Along with the shake-up in the format, Elle notes that the logo has undergone some changes. “Breezy Sanchez also reworked our logo this year to make it more inclusive and that was a big project. It required a lot of talks about preconceived gender notions and what it means to present a certain way,” she shares. The competition, which initially started with a female focus, has expanded its breadth to include members of other communities and expand its understanding of gender and identity along the way.

Camaraderie is also encouraged throughout the competition. Here, competitors read the rules of the next round together and strategize.

As Cherry Roast enters its fourth year, Elle is excited for the competition to come into its own. “The other big change this year is that our Cherry Roast organizational team is really coming together,” she shares, noting that, after four years of hosting the event, certain things have become easier. “It’s great to have people who are here to do the work and to check each other,” she says.

Cherry Roast 2017 Winner Abi Forgath of Loyal Coffee. We’re excited to see who will be crowned this year’s winner!

Cherry Roast will take place on November 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Copper Door Coffee in Denver. Along with the competition, there will be free drinks and lots of enthusiastic coffee professionals to help cheer on the competitors. We’ll keep you posted on updates from the competition as they come!

We’re committed to reporting on more local and inclusive coffee competitions. Please send notifications of events to

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at