The eye of the US coffee competition world turn to Denver this weekend for the second and final US Coffee Championships Qualifying Event. Over the course of the two days, competitors across six disciplines—Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, Latte Art, and Roasters—will battle it out in hopes of punching their ticket to the national round of competition next month in Portland, Oregon. There they will be met by the first half of the field who earned their way via January’s first Qualifying Event in Baltimore.

It is an absolutely stacked field this year in Denver, with multiple national finalists—and some champions even—coming out of retirement to chase the ever elusive title. The Barista Championship alone is bringing back the likes of Jenna Gotthelf, Becky Reeves, Veronica Pearl, and Anthony Ragler, who is a must-watch competitor every time he takes the stage. Multi-time Brewers Cup finalist Blair Smith is back to compete in both Roasters and Cup Tasters, the latter of which she will take on none other than Andy Sprenger, a former champion in both Brewers Cup and Cup Tasters. And we’re just scratching the surface; the list of Finalists and Champions heading to Denver is frankly too long to enumerate.

There’s still a long and arduous road ahead, though. They don’t build rookies like they used to anymore. Every year a handful of first-timers come seemingly out of nowhere with a polished routine well beyond their experience. I’ve learned better than to make any predictions. I’ll way until the dust settles Sunday night to see who is moving on. But ahead of that, let’s take a look at the names new and old who will be competing this weekend at the 2023 US Coffee Championships Qualifying Event in Denver, Colorado.

Barista Championship

Day One

Heather McCullough (she/her) – Novo Coffee – Denver, CO
Keziah Hjellen (she/her) – Narrative Coffee – Everett, WA
Sergei Kutrovski (he/him) – Narrative Coffee – Bellingham, WA
Hyun Lee (he/him) – Civil Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
Tim Jones (he/him) – Liturgy Beverage – Durham, NC
Frank La (he/him) – Be Bright Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
Paul Malonzo (they/she) – Parable Parable – Columbus, OH
Jenna Gotthelf (she/her) – Counter Culture Coffee – New York, NY
Becky Reeves (she/her) – Creature Coffee Co – Austin, TX
David Buehrer (he/him) – Greenway Coffee Company – Houston, TX
Divya Raghavan (she/her) – Independent – Atlanta, GA
Cajal Rutti (she/her) – Steam Valve Espresso – Upperville, VA
Reyna Callejo (she/her) – Olympia Coffee – Seattle, WA
Maja Balabanova (she/her) – Novo Coffee – Denver, CO
Veronica Pearl (she/her) – Futura Coffee Roasters – Los Angeles, CA
Jason Yeo (he/him) – Saint Frank Coffee – San Francisco, CA
Adrian Gomez (he/him) – Independent – Chula Vista, CA
Suni Jade (they/she) – Independent – Los Angeles, CA

Day Two

Reef Bessette (he/him) – The Coffee Movement – San Francisco, CA
Manta Coffey (he/him) – Presta Coffee Roasters – Tucson, AZ
Kay Cheon (he/him) – Dune Coffee – Santa Barbara, CA
Christian Dennis (he/him) – Klatch Coffee – Covina, CA
Melissa Caballero (she/her) – Captain Jack’s – Fontana, CA
Anthony Ragler (he/him) – Black & White Coffee – Zebulon, NC
Ashely Williams (she/her) – Red Bay Coffee – Oakland, CA
James May Lee (he/him) – Broadsheet Coffee – Cambridge, MA
Nora Brady (she/her) – Blueprint Coffee – St. Louis, MO
Isaiah Sheese (he/him) – Archetype Coffee – Omaha, NE
Phillip White-Jackson – Little Lunch Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
Alex Sciarrotta (he/him) – Narrative Coffee – Everett, WA
David Ellis (he/him) – Crema Coffee – Aurora, CO
Gray Kauffman (they/them) – Caffe Vita – Seattle, WA
Luke Speers (he/they) – Amberson Coffee – Indianapolis, IN
Justin Mcmillan (he/him) – Procreate Coffee – Bronx, NY
Seidy Selivanow (she/her) – Kafiex Roasters – Vancouver, WA

Brewers Cup

Day One

Wenbo Yang (he/him) – Independent – Vancouver, WA
Chris Culler (he/him) – Dillanos Coffee Roasters – Sumner, WA
Sam Peyton (he/they) – Texas Coffee Traders – Austin, TX
Danesha Toro (they/them) – Greater Goods Roasting – Austin, TX
Jesus Iniquez (he/him) – Archetype Coffee – Omaha, NE
Jennings Hollister (he/him) – Methodical Coffee – Greenville, SC
Yudi (she/her) – Fellow – Los Angeles, CA
Eduardo Padilla (he/him) – Pair Cupworks – Mesa, AZ
Kellie Medlin (she/her) – Saint Frank – Redwood City, CA
Marissa Childers (they/she) – Tanbrown Coffee – Atlanta, GA
Daniel Teplitz (he/him) – Klatch Coffee – Los Angeles, CA

Day Two

Elliot Dunnwald (he/him) – Daydrink – Iowa City, IA
Tyler Duncan (he/him) – Coracle Coffee – Tulsa, OK
Zach Stamey (he/him) – Hex Coffee – Charlotte, NC
Heather McCullough (she/her) – Novo Coffee – Denver, CO
Korachai Silapavitankul (he/him) – Amberson Coffee – Indianapolis, IN
Will Johnson (he/him) – Messenger Coffee – Kansas City, MO
Joe Lacey (he/him) – Boxcar Coffee Roasters – Boulder, CO
Hugo Cano (he/him) – Amberson Coffee – Indianapolis, IN
Yung Chin (they/them) – Independent – San Diego, CA
Justin Bull (he/him) – Helm Coffee Roasters – Indianapolis, IN

Coffee in  Good Spirits

Day One

Garrett VanWambeke (he/him) – Independent – Atlanta, GA
Kebechet Moxen – (xe/xem/xyr) – Independent – Boston, MA
Gigi Craig (she/her) – Trvl Love Koffee – Birmingham, AL
Natasha Solowoniuk (she/her) – Caffe Vita – Seattle, WA
Leet Grady (they/them) – Independent – Atlanta, GA

Day Two

Kyle Hamlin (he/him) – Jubala Coffee – Raleigh, NC
Karina DesRoses (she/her) – Petty Herbalist – Los Angeles, CA
Linea True (she/her) – Boxcar Coffee Roasters – Arvada, CO
Edwin Gorritz (he/him) – Barista Squared – Orlando, FL

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Cup Tasters

Day One

Heat One
Mehmet Sogan (he/him) – Memli Coffee – San Diego, CA
Jake Donaghy (he/him) – Olympia Coffee Roasting – Olympia, WA
Alison Schommer (she/her) – JBC Coffee Roasters – Madison, WI
Andrew Shelley (he/him) – Brio Coffeeworks – Burlington, VT

Heat Two
Ryan Sullivan (he/him) – Mostra Coffee – San Diego, CA
Kristi Persinger (she/her) – January Coffee – Boulder, CO
Rooney (they/them) – Luce Coffee Roasters – Houston, TX
Kimhak Em (he/him) – Pair Cupworks – Tempe, AZ

Heat Three
Robin Newberry (she/her) – Blendin Coffee Club – Houston, TX
Jasmine Rangel Rodriguez (she/her) – Stereoscope Coffee – Arcadia, CA
Josh Taves (he/him) – Stovetop Roasters – Grand Rapids, MI
Lorena Saucedo – Independent – Ukiah, CA

Heat Four
Coulter Sunderman (he/him) – H&S Coffee Roasters – Laramie, WY
Hee Jeong (she/her) – Luce Coffee Roasters – Denver, CO
Sebastian Legner (he/him) – Coda Coffee – Denver, CO
Barbara Jordan (she/her) – Westbird Coffee – Bisbee, AZ

Heat Five
Sophia Taylor (they/them) – La Marzocco – Seattle, WA
Traci Hunt (she/her) – Black Oak Coffee Roasters – Ukiah, CA
Sean Coyne (he/him) – Brio Coffeeworks – Burlington, VT
Wenbo Yang (he/him) – Artly – Portland, OR

Day Two

Heat One
Ryan Jie Jiang – Less & More Coffee – Beaverton, OR
Blair Smith (she/her) Presta Coffee – Tucson, AZ
Genifer Ness (they/them) – BRC Inc – Manchester, TN
Charles Gonzalez (he/him) – Gruppo Cimbali – San Antonio, TX

Heat Two
Samuel Demisse (he/him) – Keffa Coffee – Baltimore, MD
Zachary Montandon – Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters – Lubbock, TX
Rachel Stanich (she/her) – Red Fox Coffee Merchants – Port Costa, CA
Erica Chade Jackson (she/they) – Onyx Coffee Lab – Kansas City, MO

Heat Three
Reuben Villagomez (he/him) – Paloma Craft Coffee – Brooklyn, NY
Thomas Chandler – Black Oak Coffee Roasters – Ukiah, CA
Andy Sprenger (he/him) – Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters – Lakewood, CO
Aaron Rollins – Caffe Ibis – Logan, UT

Heat Four
Tara Edens (she/her) – Methodical Coffee – Travelers Rest, SC
Steve Cuevas (he/him) – Black Oak Coffee Roasters – Ukiah, CA
Abram Nilsen (he/him) – Blendin Coffee Club – Rosenberg, TX
Scott Price (he/him) – Paloma Craft Coffee – Brooklyn, NY

Heat Six
Colin Van Bortel Buckley (he/him) – Novo Coffee – Denver, CO
Adam Walsh (he/him) – JBC Coffee Roasters – Madison, WI
Tim Jones (he/him) – Liturgy Beverage Company – Durham, NC
Hyo Jung Kim (she/her) – Gabee Coffee – Boulder, CO

Latte Art

Patrick Gibbs (he/him) – Luce Coffee Roasters – Houston, TX
Piyapat Lapteerawaut (he/him) – Coffee Project NY – New York, NY
Benjamin Parham (he/him) – Independent – Denver, CO
Wenbo Yang (he/him) – Artly Coffee – Portland, OR
Maricarmen Paz Hernandez (she/her) – Little Waves Cofffee Roasters – Durham, NC
Jade Greer (she/her) – Reveille Coffee Co – San Francisco, CA
Truc Ngo (she/her) – IO Coffea – Los Angeles, CA
Kayla Herrera (she/her) – Iconik Coffee Roasters – Santa Fe, NM

Roasters Championship

Day One

Heat One
Aaron Rollins (he/him) – Caffe Ibis – Logan, UT
Alex Spishakoff (he/him) – Aroma Craft Coffee – Walnut, CA
Alex Huang (he/him) – Equator Coffees – San Rafael, CA
Andrew Coe (he/him) – Elevator Coffee – Portland, OR

Heat Two
Daniel Hardy (he/him) – La Barba Coffee – Salt Lake City, UT
Erin Bloom (she/her) – Copper Door Coffee Roasters – Denver, CO
Frank La (he/him) – Be Bright Coffee – Los Angeles, CA
Hyo Jung Kim (she/her) – Gabee Coffee – Boulder, CO

Heat Three
Jacob Howard (he/him/they) – Coracle – Tulsa, OK
Jospeh Mastrangelo (he/him) – Zelie Beans Coffee – Sugar Land, TX
Kiara Freysinger (she/her) – Huckleberry Roasters – Denver, CO
Kimhak Em (he/him) – Pair Cupworks – Mesa, AZ

Day Two

Heat One
Kyle Hookstra (he/him) – Westrock Coffee – Little Rock, AR
Mark Kove (he/him) – White Nene Coffee Roasters – Kialua Kona, HI
Matthew Selivanow (he/him) – Kafiex Roasters – Vancouver, WI
Mike Mann (he/him) – The Roasted Record – Stuart, FL

Heat Two
Nicholas Berardi (he/him) – Mostra Coffee – San Diego, CA
Blair Smith (she/her) – Presta Coffee Roasters – Tucson, AZ
Oscar Pineda (he/him) – Reverie Coffee Roasters – Wichita, KS
Peter Shim (he/him) – Olympia Coffee Roasters – Olympia, WA

Heat Three
Rudy Altamirano (he/him) – Ilustre Specialty Coffees – San Diego, CA
Sam Larobardier (he/him) – Theory Coffee Roasters – Redding, CA
Steve Cuevas (he/him) – Black Oak Coffee Roasters – Ukiah, CA
Tony Anderson (he/him) – Three Story Coffee – Jefferson City, MO

For more information and a full schedule of competition times, visit the US Coffee Championships official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.