The Specialty Coffee Association is bringing the preliminary round of the U.S. Coffee Championships – Barista and Brewers Cup to Atlanta, and we’re honored to be hosting Aug. 17-18.

The preliminary round of the US Coffee Championships circuit is designed to be “fun and community-driven,” according to the organizers. We’re excited to bring the competitions to our hometown, giving our guests, baristas, and fellow coffee professionals a front-row seat to one of the specialty coffee world’s most intriguing affairs.

Want to compete or volunteer at the event? Learn more here >

In this post, we’ll outline the schedule of events for the weekend, but before we do, let’s briefly summarize the two competitions in case this is new to you:

Barista Preliminary Competition

In the preliminary round, the Barista competition balances a routine of espresso preparation and detailed communication to serve a panel of judges two beverages –– an espresso and a milk-based espresso drink.

Other details:

  • Up to 24 competitors
  • Seven-minute competition round
  • Preparation of two espressos and two milk-based beverages
  • Two sensory judges, one technical judge, and one head judge
  • Top six baristas get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. Coffee Champs Qualifying Competitions
  • Full rules here

Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition

In the preliminary round, the Brewers Cup competition balances a routine of manual coffee brewing and moderate communication to serve a panel of judges a unique cup of coffee.

Other details:

  • Up to 16 competitors
  • Eight-minute competition round
  • Use of two individual brewers
  • Two sensory judges and one head judge
  • Top four Brewers Cup competitors get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. Coffee Champs Qualifying Competitions
  • Full rules here

Schedule of events: August 15-18

Throwdown: Thursday, August 15 | 7 p.m. – East Pole Coffee Co.

Let’s get the weekend started with a friendly latte art competition at our place. Come one, come all –– we’d love to see our out-of-town guests intermingled with our beloved fellow Atlantan coffee professionals, dropping back-to-back hot-milk bombs.

Cupping: Friday, August 16 | 9 a.m. – Taproom Coffee and Beer

Come hang with some wonderful Atlanta-area roasters at an Atlanta-only cupping. 

Check-in: Friday, August 16 | 1-4 p.m. – East Pole

Judges and Competitors arrive at 3 p.m. to check-in and be assigned appropriate designation.

Competitor Coffee Selection: Friday, August 16 | 1-4 p.m. – East Pole

Competitors will cup coffees in rounds to choose their competition coffee.

Judges Calibration: Friday, August 16 | 7 a.m.-12 p.m. – East Pole

Judges will begin their calibration alongside head judges.

Relax and Party: Friday, August 16 | 7 p.m. – East Pole

Take some time to relax and party alongside your friends, frenemies, and coffee professionals. Drinks, good times, and light food will be provided.

Main event: Lager Triangulation. We have selected some of the finest lagers in the state of Georgia to put your taste buds to the test! Compete in this fast-paced, silly, and relaxed competition to get your mind ready for prelims.

Competition Day 1: Saturday, August 17 | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | East Pole

Competition Day 2: Sunday, August 18 | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | East Pole

Closing Ceremony: Sunday, August 18 | 5:30 p.m. | East Pole