The United States Barista Championship (USBC), is an annual American coffee-brewing competition designed to evaluate baristas on their skills in espresso-based drink preparation and service. Competitors prepare and serve three courses of espresso-based beverages consisting of straight espressos, milk beverages, and signature drinks. They are then scored on taste, presentation, and technical proficiency. The winner represents the United States in the World Barista Championship.



All USBC competitors must first qualify at a CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competition, which is an abbreviated version of the USBC. Two Qualifying Competitions are held each year, the top eighteen competitors from each Qualifying Competition move on to USBC. Places 7-18 move into Round One of USBC. The top six from each qualifying competition receive a bye into the semifinal round.

USBC consists of three rounds: Round One, Semi-Finals, and Finals. At the end of the first round, the competitors with the six highest scores advance to the semifinals round and join the twelve competitors who earned a bye from CoffeeChamps. Six competitors qualify for the finals and the champion is determined from this pool. The winner represents the United States in the World Barista Championship.

Presentation rules

Barista Jong Hoon Lee preparing coffee at the 2015 World Barista Championships while several judges are taking notes

At the Qualifying Competitions, baristas serve two courses of espresso-based beverages consisting of espressos and signature drinks for two scoring sensory judges, two non-scoring guest judges or judges-in-training, two technical judges, and a head judge. There is a ten-minute time limit.

At the USBC, competitors must make three courses of beverages within a fifteen-minute time limit and are judged by seven different judges. The judging team consists of four sensory judges, two technical judges, and a head judge. The role of the sensory judge is to score the competitor solely on the quality of the beverage served and customer service. The technical judges are not served drinks, but score the competitor on items ranging from cleanliness to consistency of shot times. Judges undergo a certification process before the competition.[1][2]


The competition started in 2002 and was initially referred to as the North American Barista Competition.[3][4] The 2021 edition of the competition was cancelled due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[5]

In 2015, the competition was the subject of the documentary Barista, which followed competitors in the 2013 USBC.[6]


Year Winner
2002 Dismas SmithA[3]
2003 Heather Perry[7]
2004 Bronwen Serna[8]
2005 Phuong Tran[9]
2006 Matt Riddle[10]
2007 Heather Perry[11]
2008 Kyle Glanville[2]
2009 Michael Phillips[12]
2010 Michael Phillips[12]
2011 Pete Licata[13]
2012 Katie Carguilo[14]
2013 Pete Licata[1]
2014 Laila Ghambari[15]
2015 Charles Babinski[16]
2016 Lemuel Butler[16]
2017 Kyle Ramage[17]
2018 Cole McBride[18]
2019 Samantha Spillman[19]
2020 Andrea Allen[20]
2022 Morgan Eckroth[21]
2023 Isaiah Sheese[22]

^A In its inaugural year the competition was known as the North American Barista Competition. Dismas Smith was the 2002 NABC champion.


  1. ^ a b "Pete Licata Wins 2013 United States Barista Championship and Erin McCarthy Takes the 3rd Annual US Brewers Cup | Specialty Coffee Association News". Specialty Coffee Association News. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "The 2008 US Barista Champion is Kyle Glanville!". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Sprudge Staff. "The 2018 US Coffee Championships Prelims: Weekend One". Sprudge Live. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  4. ^ Pawar, Saahil (27 August 2019). "A Caffeinated Competition". Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  5. ^ "2021 USBC & USBRC Cancelled, 2020 Champions Head To Athens". U.S. Coffee Championships. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Documentarian Rock Baijnauth tracks baristas' 15 minutes of foam in 'Barista' - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  7. ^ Allen, Sarah (10 April 2013). "The Very First Article About Barista Competitions". Barista Magazine Online. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  8. ^ Sprudge Staff. "USBC History: An Interview With Bronwen Serna". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  9. ^ Sprudge Staff. "PDX: Former USBC Champ Opens New Cafe". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  10. ^ Allen, Sarah (14 April 2013). "USBC Finalist #4: Charlie Habegger, Intelligentsia, Chicago". Barista Magazine Online.
  11. ^ "The 2007 US Barista Champion is Heather Perry!". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  12. ^ a b Specialty Coffee Association of America. "Michael Phillips Wins 2010 United States Barista Championship". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  13. ^ "A shout out to the 2011 USBC competitors". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  14. ^ Sprudge. "An Open Letter To The SCA Directors From 2012 USBC Champion Katie Carguilo". Sprudge Live. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  15. ^ "USBC – De'Longhi barista partner takes home 2014 United States Barista Championship". Comunicaffe International. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  16. ^ a b Barista Magazine (18 April 2016). "Lem Butler wins the 2016 United States Barista Championship!". Barista Magazine Online. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  17. ^ Cadwalader, Zac. "Kyle Ramage Is Your 2017 United States Barista Champion!". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  18. ^ Kubota, Lily (22 May 2018). "US Barista Champion Cole McBride on the Personal Nature of Pursuing Mastery". Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  19. ^ Sprudge Staff. "Here Are Your 2019 US Coffee Champions". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  20. ^ Cadwalader, Zac. "Here Are The Winners From The 2020 US Coffee Champs Orange County Event". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  21. ^ Sprudge Staff. "Here Are The Winners Of The 2022 US Coffee Championships". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Meet the 2023 US Coffee Champions". U.S. Coffee Championships. 2023-04-23. Retrieved 2023-11-20.