After last year’s debacle of cancelling the regional barista competitions and subsequent impressive turnaround of then putting together a last minute mega-regional, the SCAA Competition Committee announced their plans back in July of having two regional events in 2017 and no less than six micro-regional events in the following years. But details on exactly what that looked like were still a bit fuzzy. Until now, with the SCAA’s official release of the 2017 competition schedule.
As promised, there are two regional events feeding into the US Coffee Championships taking place at the SCAA Expo on April 21-23 in Seattle, WA, the third time in four years the city has hosted the event. Known as “CoffeeChamps”, the competitions aren’t true regionals but are more of a pair of open borders qualifying rounds. According to the announcement, “anyone who resides in the U.S. can compete in either of the CoffeeChamps events, regardless of their region.”
The events are to be held in Knoxville, TN and Austin, TX on January 21-22 and February 11-12, respectively. Unlike previous qualifiers, where only Barista Championship and Brewers Cup competitors had to earn spots in the Nationals, this year competitors in all five disciplines—including Roasters, Cup Tasters, and the resurrected Latte Art—will have to win their way to the big show.
UPDATE: The available slots for this year's Barista Championship qualifying round have increased to 120 from 100. Similar to last year's super-regional, Barista competitors will have 10 minutes to complete their routine, but a new twist in 2017 format is that competitors will only be serving two courses: espresso and the signature beverage. The milk beverage course will reappear at Nationals when competitors have the full 15 minutes, which also means we are going to have to wait six more months to hear Lorenzo Perkins say “milkies”.
A total of 36 competitors will advance to the US Barista Championship this year. The top six from each of the CoffeeChamps are awarded byes directly into the semifinals, and the 12 highest scoring baristas from each regional not in the their respective top six earn spots in the first round at Nationals.
A full set of details about the just announced events along with information for those looking to compete can be found on the US Coffee Championships website here.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*top image via US Coffee Championships