Megan O’Connell judged and competed at the second qualifying event of the US Coffee Champs in Austin, Texas. She gave us the skinny on the weekend’s events.
[W]e had an action-packed weekend here in Austin, Texas. On day one, we shared the event space with the Starpower Talent Competition adding just the pizzazz and sparkle—believed by many people—the Coffee Champs Austin needed.
In between the taco breaks and BBQ comas, we watched a wide range of talented coffee professionals compete for their place at nationals. This was also the first year that Cup Tasters had a qualifying event, and that a Roaster Competition was included as an event. Something still new, but an essential element added to our platform.
Andrea Allen, of Onyx Coffee Lab, posted the top score for the weekend’s Barista competition. Tommy Kin of Andante Coffee Roasters bested the Brewers Cup field; Tim Masts, of Augie’s Coffee, posted the highest marks in the Roasters Championship competition; and Jon Allen, of Onyx Coffee Lab, turned in the highest Cup Tasters score.
All finalists from the Austin, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee competitions will meet in Seattle, Washington during the Global Specialty Coffee Expo for the final rounds of the US Coffee Championships.
What stood out more than any of the previous qualifying events was the amount of support and encouragement exchanged between competitors. Everyone was willing to share their opinions and advice to each other, because we’re all family and we’re all rooting for each other to do well and present our best self. In building people up, we’re able to move forward as an industry, and the competition continues to get stiff because we’re all learning and growing together.
Amidst the four competitions, we saw a bunch of newly popular brands representing the booths. From the bad ass girls of WINCC and Boss Baristas, to Department of Brewology, Sudden Coffee, and Third Wave Water, these innovative folks prove how far we’ve come and how much we’re growing.
The weekend went by fast, but definitely left us hungry for USBC.
Editor’s note: Megan competed in the Cup Taster’s competition and earned a score high enough to compete in the Seattle finals. Congratulations!