Barista competitions were established in the United States in 2002. The very first competition was titled the North American Barista Championship, and the winner was Dismas Smith, the coffee legend who is now the head roaster for Caffe Ladro in Seattle. There are many baristas who, like Dismas, have made names for themselves through coffee competitions, and now hold leadership positions throughout the coffee industry.

Though competition is used as a springboard for baristas’ careers, coffee drinkers who attend these events rarely have the opportunity to taste the competition beverages prepared by their favorite baristas.

In November at the Big Western regional barista competition, fourteen baristas from the Northwest region competed for the top five spots to earn entry into the United States Championship taking place in Long Beach, CA February 19-22.

The top Northwest finishers who will compete in Long Beach are:

1st- Sam Schroeder, Olympia Coffee Roasters

2nd- Brady MacDonald, Olympia Coffee Roasters

3rd- Maxwell Mooney, Spotted Cow Coffee Company

4th- Brandon Paul Weaver- Slate Coffee Roasters

5th- Sam Brandvein- Cherry Street Coffeehouse

We’re excited to cheer on this bunch as they travel to the US competition later this month, but before they go, we hope you’ll join us for a sendoff celebration on Thursday, February 12 from 2PM to 5PM at La Marzocco USA , during which you’ll have the opportunity to try the espressos and signature beverages these competitors will be serving during competition.

With a great sendoff, we’re hopeful that one of them will succeed in taking the Championship, and moving on to compete at the World Barista Championship, taking place in Seattle in April.

Please RSVP to the event here.