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The world of coffee is constantly evolving, and the US Barista Championship is at the forefront of this evolution. This highly anticipated event brings together the finest baristas from around the globe to showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for the craft. As we look ahead to the Barista Championship 2024, the excitement and anticipation among coffee enthusiasts are palpable. In this article, we will explore the evolution of the competition, discuss what to expect in the upcoming championship, delve into the competitors and their unique approaches, examine the judging process, highlight the challenges and tests faced by participants, emphasize the role of innovation, and discuss the coveted prize and recognition.

Latte art - a hand pouring froth milk into a cup of espresso

Dates and Locations for the 2024 US Coffee Championships Preliminaries

The dates and locations for the 2024 US Coffee Championships Preliminaries have been officially revealed by the organizers, the U.S. Coffee Championships (USCC). These prestigious competitions, endorsed by the global nonprofit Specialty Coffee Association, are aimed at enhancing local and regional opportunities for barista competitors.

The preliminary events play a crucial role as they offer guaranteed spots for two USCC qualifier events, from which the winners proceed to the national USCC. The national championship usually takes place alongside the Specialty Coffee Association's renowned Specialty Coffee Expo. For 2024, the SCA Expo is scheduled to be held in Chicago next April.

The preliminary competitions kick off from August 25th to 27th, with two concurrent events at Talitha Coffee in San Diego and Blendin Coffee Club in Houston. Subsequently, ten more dates are scheduled across the United States, concluding with the final preliminary event from October 20th to 22nd at a Los Angeles outpost of Counter Culture Coffee.

The schedule is the result of an application and review process managed by the U.S. chapter of the SCA and the SCA's U.S. Competitions Committee. However, it is worth noting that the preliminary locations do not cover the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest regions. The locations for the USCC qualifiers are yet to be announced.

Here's a comprehensive list of the preliminary dates and locations, along with the respective competition types being hosted:

  • Aug. 25-27 – Talitha Coffee (San Diego): Barista, Coffee In Good Sprits (CIGS)
  • Aug. 25-27 – Blendin Coffee Club (Houston): Roaster
  • Sept. 1-3 – Luce Coffee Roasters (Houston): Barista
  • Sept. 8-10- Origin Coffee Company (Tulsa, Oklahoma): Barista, Cup Tasters
  • Sept. 15-17 – Red House Roasters (Newark, New Jersey): Latte Art
  • Sept. 29-Oct 1 – Messenger Coffee and The Roasterie (Kansas City, Missouri): Brewers Cup, Roaster, CIGS
  • Oct. 6-8 – Black & White Coffee Roasters (Raleigh, North Carolina): Barista, Brewers Cup
  • Oct. 13-15 – Uncommon Coffee (Essex, Vermont): Barista
  • Oct. 13-15 – Brio Coffeeworks (Burlington, Vermont): Cup Tasters
  • Oct. 13-15 – Hawaii Coffee Association (Kailua, Hawaii): Brewers Cup, Roaster
  • Oct. 13-15 – White Rhino Coffee (Dallas): Latte Art, Cup Tasters
  • Oct. 20-22 – Counter Culture Coffee (Los Angeles): Brewers Cup
barista ending out an espresso

What to Expect in the US Barista Championship (USBC) Spring 2024

The US Barista Championship 2024 promises to be an exceptional event, showcasing the pinnacle of coffee craftsmanship. Scheduled to take place in a state-of-the-art venue on [date], the championship will feature baristas who have spent countless hours honing their skills and preparing their routines. This year's competition will revolve around a theme that reflects the current coffee culture, embracing new ideas and techniques. Spectators can anticipate witnessing tantalizing aromas, and the electrifying atmosphere that only a gathering of passionate baristas can create. The hosting location will be announced July 2023 and the preliminaries will take place between August and October.

For the 2024 season, each competition category has specific requirements:

  • Barista Championship: Competitors need staging areas separate from judges' areas. They require a minimum number of sensory and technical judges, espresso grinders and machines, dairy and non-dairy milk options, wares/supplies, coffees from multiple roasters, and volunteers.
  • Brewers Cup: Competitors need separate staging areas, cupping areas, competition stations with power, sensory judges, hot water towers, filter/bulk coffee grinders, coffees from multiple roasters, cupping/brewing equipment, and volunteers.
  • Coffee in Good Spirits: Competitors need separate staging areas, stage/mock stage areas, sensory and visual judges, hot water towers, filter/bulk coffee grinders, whiskey/vodka/rum, wares/supplies, ice, coffees from multiple roasters, cupping/brewing equipment, and volunteers.
  • Cup Tasters: Competitors need separate brewing areas, cupping tables, sturdy competition tables, cupping equipment, multiple types of coffee, and volunteers.
  • Latte Art: Competitors need separate staging areas, stage/mock stage areas, visual and technical judges, espresso grinders and machines, wares/supplies, smallwares, coffee and milk requirements, and volunteers.
  • Roaster Championship: Competitors need sensory judges, green coffee, batch brewing equipment, cupping equipment, and volunteers.

These requirements ensure that each competition category has the necessary space, judges, equipment, supplies, and volunteers for a successful event.

cupping - a coffee bean test

The Competitors

The heart and soul of the Barista Championship lie in its competitors and the competitors list will be announce Fall 2023. These talented individuals possess an unmatched dedication to their craft and a relentless pursuit of perfection. The 2024 championship will unite diverse baristas, each with a unique approach and style. From seasoned veterans with multiple accolades to rising stars ready to make their mark, the competition will showcase a mix of experience and fresh talent. Participants will share their stories, inspirations, and innovative techniques, offering a glimpse into their coffee journeys.

The Judging Process

The judging process in the Barista Championship is a crucial aspect that determines the winner. A panel of experienced judges, comprising industry professionals and sensory experts, meticulously assesses each competitor's performance. To be certified as judges for the U.S. Barista Championship (USBC), individuals must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the competition rules. They are required to attend an online learning session and pass a Judges Certification Workshop before the event. Judges also need to participate in the morning calibration session of each competition day.

The U.S. Competitions Committee invites judges to the USBC, and they must meet one or more of the following qualifications: judging at the 2023 USCC Qualifiers, judging at a previous National Competition, or holding a current World Barista Championship judge certification. Head judges, chosen based on judging and professional experience, take notes on competitors' taste descriptions for reference.

During the competition, judges are looking for baristas who have mastered technical skills, craftsmanship, communication skills, and service skills. They should also possess a broad understanding of coffee knowledge beyond the drinks served in the competition. High-quality beverage preparation and service are crucial, and the judges value baristas who can serve as role models and sources of inspiration for others. It's important to review and learn more about the official rules and regulations.

Man weighting coffee beans

United States Barista Championship (USBC) - The Challenges and Tests

Competing in the Barista Championship is a challenging feat. Participants face challenges and tests that push their skills to the limit. The United States Barista Championship (USBC) is a competition where competitors have 15 minutes to prepare and serve espressos, a milk beverage, and a signature beverage for four sensory judges. During the competition, two technical judges assess the competitors' preparation abilities.

The equipment provided for the competition includes a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle 3 Group espresso machine, Mahlkonig E80 and Bentwood Vertical 63 grinders, Simonelli Double Baskets (16-18g), and Pentair water. Competitors also have the option to use The Cube Tamp by COMPAK Auto Tamper for tamping their espresso.

These high-quality equipment and tools are carefully chosen to ensure that competitors have access to reliable and top-notch equipment to showcase their skills and deliver exceptional coffee beverages to the judges.

The USBC is a platform for baristas to demonstrate their expertise, creativity, and ability to deliver outstanding coffee experiences. The equipment provided plays a crucial role in enabling competitors to achieve consistency and precision in their coffee preparation, allowing them to present their best work to the judges and elevate the overall coffee standards in the competition.

Competitor at the US Barista Championship

The Role of Innovation

The innovation lies at the heart of the Barista Championship. As the coffee industry evolves, so do the techniques, equipment, and ingredients utilized by baristas. The competition provides a platform for participants to showcase their innovative approaches, whether experimenting with alternative brewing methods, introducing unique flavor profiles, or exploring sustainable practices. The US Barista Championship inspires baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike to think outside the box, driving the industry forward and setting new trends that shape the future of coffee preparation.

The Prize and Recognition - The 2023 winners

The ultimate reward for the winner of the Barista Championship is not only the coveted title but also the recognition and opportunities that follow. The champion receives a significant cash prize and the invaluable honor of being acknowledged as one of the world's best baristas. This recognition can open doors to exciting career prospects, collaborations with industry leaders, and the chance to influence the coffee community on a broader scale. The Barista Championship serves as a launching pad for baristas to further develop their careers and make a lasting impact on the coffee industry.

The 2023 US Coffee Champions have been announced, and here are the first-place winners in each category:

Barista: Isaiah Sheese, Archetype Coffee

Brewers: Wenbo Yang, Artly Coffee

Cup Tasters: Jake Donaghy, Olympia Coffee Roasting

Latte Art: Piyapat Lapteerawut, Coffee Project NY

Coffee in Good Spirits: Sam Schroeder, Olympia Coffee

Roaster: Andrew Coe, Elevator Coffee

Congratulations to all the winners!

Attending the US Barista Championship

Attending the US Barista Championship is an unparalleled experience for coffee enthusiasts and industry professionals. The opportunity to witness the performances, interact with baristas, and immerse oneself in the vibrant atmosphere is a dream come true. Tickets for the championship can be obtained through the official website, and it is advisable to book early due to the event's popularity. Attending the tournament allows individuals to appreciate the dedication and talent of the participating baristas, gain insights into emerging trends, and forge connections within the coffee community.

Morgan Eckroth, the 2022 Barista winner, reviews her performance and explains in details what it is like to compete and participate at the USBC.


The Evolution of Barista Championships

Barista Championships have come a long way since their inception. What started as a humble gathering of coffee enthusiasts has transformed into a global phenomenon, attracting participants from every corner of the world. Over the years, these competitions have provided a platform for baristas to demonstrate their expertise, push the boundaries of coffee preparation, and exchange ideas with fellow professionals. Notable moments and trends, such as the introduction of signature beverage presentations and the focus on sustainability, have shaped the competitions, making them more dynamic and reflective of the changing coffee landscape.


As we eagerly await the Barista Championship 2024, the anticipation builds for a spectacular event celebrating the artistry, skill, and passion of baristas worldwide. This competition, steeped in tradition and innovation, is a testament to the coffee industry's constant evolution. The 2024 championship will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression, showcasing the heights that can be reached when coffee meets craftsmanship. So please mark your calendars, prepare to be inspired, and join us in raising a cup for the baristas who continue redefining coffee excellence's boundaries.

Meet the expert

Amélie has a dual Bachelor of Biological Sciences and Literature. She wrote a Master's Thesis on the importance of blending scientific knowledge with the arts to create a healthier culture. She also has a Bachelor of Education and has been teaching Biology and Language Arts since 2016. She is happily addicted to coffee and constantly learning.

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