It has been two years since a US competitor has taken a Barista Championship stage—save for a second place run by Onyx Coffee Lab‘s Andrea Allen at the 2021 World Barista Championship at the end of last year—but if the first day’s action is any indication, the competitors haven’t missed a beat. Though somewhat truncated relative to the 40+ participants we are used to seeing in competitions past, the field of 22 coffee professionals that took part in the US Barista Championship this year picked up right where we left off in 2020 with a day full of interesting coffees, thoughtful drinks, and memorable performances.
This year’s roster ran the gamut of coffee professionals, from those with a decade-plus worth of competition experience like Greenway Coffee’s David Buehrer to USBC newcomers like Addison Mathis. There are Semi-Finalist vets like Meg Skop, Hugo Cano, and Elizabeth Johnson. There are independent competitors like Olivia Morris and those with the backing of perennially competing companies in Madcap and Novo, Rhianna Bennie and Maja Balabanov, respectively. There’s even a social media star in Morgan Eckroth, herself a seasoned competition vet. The amount of intrigue associated with these 22 names cannot be overstated.
And now that list has been whittled down to 12 with the announcement of those who scored high enough to move on to the Semi-Finals round. These 12 coffee professionals will take the stage to impress the crowd and judges alike with a second run of their routines, with the hopes of getting to take it for a spin a third and final time in the Finals round. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the 12 individuals (in no particular order) who will be competing tomorrow in the Semi-Finals round of the 2022 US Barista Championship.
Olivia Morris (they/them), Independent, Atlanta, GA
Brooke Wolfe (she/her), Elixr Coffee Roasters, Nashville, TN
Bryan Overstreet (he/him), The Coffee Movement, San Francisco, CA
Elisabeth Johnson (she/her), Dayglow, Los Angeles, CA
Morgan Eckroth (she/they), Keeper Coffee, Portland, OR
Addison Mathis (they/them), PERC Coffee, Atlanta, GA
David Buehrer (he/him), Greenway Coffee Company, Houston, TX
Gray Kauffman (they/them), Caffe Vita, Seattle, WA
Rhianna Bennie (she/her), Madcap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids, MI
Maja Balabanova (she/her), Novo Coffee, Denver, CO
Meg Skop (she/her), Independent, San Francisco, CA
Ben Martin (he/him), Madcap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids, MI
We’ll see you back here tomorrow for the Semi-Finals!