Day One of the 2023 US Barista Championship is officially in the books! It feels like we say it every year, and every year it is truer than before, but the level of competition this year is just at an astronomically high level. It’s the first round of competition, but you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve already reached Sunday, especially with seasoned competition veterans like Becky Reeves, Reef Bessette, Kay Cheon, Meg Skop, and none other than current USBC champion Morgan Eckroth taking the stage today.
But don’t think for a second that it was a cakewalk for the known names. We watched with deep interest the performances of new competitors like Phillip White-Jackson and Maya Crowley, who brought robusta realness for the first time ever to the USBC.
From the initial field of 23 competitors, just six were able to move forward to tomorrow’s Semi-Final round, where they will be met by even stiffer competition from the 12 individuals who punched their ticket directly for Saturday by performing so well in the Qualifying Events. But the playing field is now leveled. It doesn’t matter how you got here. It only matters what you do now that you’ve arrived. And for the top six, that means one more run on Sunday, one final hurdle to clear in order to reach the ultimate goal of being crowned the 2023 US Barista Championship.
We’ve still got a ways to go before all that, though. For now, let’s see who all will be competing tomorrow at the Semi-Finals at the 2023 US Barista Championship.
Reyna Callejo (she/her), Olympia Coffee, Seattle, WA
Reef Bessette (he/him), The Coffee Movement, San Francisco, CA
Becky Reeves (she/her), Creature Coffee Co, Austin, TX
Frank La (he/him), Be Bright Coffee, Los Angeles, CA
Morgan Eckroth (she/they), Onyx Coffee Lab, Portland, OR
Jason Yeo (he/him), Saint Frank Coffee, San Francisco, CA
Hugo Cano (he/him), Amberson Coffee, Indianapolis, IN
Elisabeth Johnson (she/her), Dayglow, Los Angeles, CA
Addison Mathis (they/them), PERC Coffee, Decatur, GA
Anthony Ragler (he/him), Black & White Coffee, Zebulon, NC
Dakota Graff (he/him), Onyx Coffee Lab, Rogers, AR
Seidy Selivanow (she/her), Kafiex Roasters, Vancouver, WA
Gray Kauffman (they/them), Caffe Vita, Seattle, WA
Jenna Gotthelf (she/her), Counter Culture Coffee, New York, NY
Nora Brady (she/her), Blueprint Coffee, St. Louis, MO
Jake McFarland (he/him), Black & White Coffee, Raleigh, NC
Juan Diaz (he/him), KWC, Orlando, FL
Isaiah Sheese (he/him), Archetype Coffee, Omaha, NE
Finalist announcement at 4:30pm