The SCAA believes a barista is much like a bartender or a sommelier, a barista is a coffee professional who has the experience and training to deliver coffee and espresso-based beverages to customers that demonstrate craftsmanship and quality, creating a culinary experience for the customer. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is the governing body of the United States Barista Championship. SCAA's United States Barista Championship, through its focus on excellence, encourages and recognizes professional achievement in the art and skill of espresso beverage preparation and service.
Prior to the United States Barista Championship, SCAA hosts 6 regional barista competitions all across the country. The winners of each competition go on to compete in the United States Barista Championship. Regions include:
- North West: WA, OR, AK, ID, MT, WY
- North East: OH, WV, MA, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME
- North Central: ND, SD, NE, MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI
- South Central: KS, MO, OK, TX, AR, LA, MS
- South West: HI, CA, NV, AZ, UT, NM, CO
- South East: KY, VA, TN, NC, SC, AL, GA, FL, DC
Competitors at the United States Barista Championship prepare and serve 12 espresso based drinks: 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 signature beverages of their own creation all within a 15-minute timeframe.
Competitors have 45 minutes of actual competition time during the USBC, including:
- 15 minutes of station preparation time, adjusting grind, etc.;
- 15 minutes to prepare and serve four espressos, four cappuccinos and four
- signature drinks; and
- 15 minutes of clean-up time to ready the station for next competitor.