How exciting the last few days were over in Houston, TX! Chelsea and Paul took the time to chat with us about their experience at this year's US Roasters Qualifiers.
What was different in this year's US Roasters Qualifiers?
Paul: They changed the formatting of this event so it's more like World's. There's four roasters roasting at the same time, all the beans are supplied. I would say - three quarters of this field have made it to Finals before. There's 32 roasters and that's amazing. No one has an advantage, they're all roasting at the same time. They're bringing their talent and their skill. When you hang out with these guys, you'd never know they're competing with each other - it's like they're long lost friends. Its been an unbelievable experience. There's never been this much room for roasters, its been very comfortable, not squeezed together, not a lot of noise and its been really well done. The leadership has been amazing since this is the first time they've done it. I enjoyed it!
Savor Brands Chelsea and Paul

Chelsea Hayhurst and Paul Read (Mr. Coffee Bags)

How was your first time volunteering at the US Roasters Qualifiers, Chelsea?
Chelsea: For me, I haven't been to a lot of these where I was more involved with roasters. It was my first experience being knee deep in the roasters side of things. Its been so fun and interesting to watch the roasters and how they're doing the same thing but they all have such different methods from how they do something like sorting their green coffee and roasted coffee. They're so quick and meticulous at the same time - everything is so detailed and measured and it's so fascinating to watch when you're timing them. Everything has gone so smoothly and we heard feedback from the Barista Stages that the roasters have felt so taken care of and everything was going so smoothly. To give a lot of kudos to all the volunteers and especially to Aaron and Silvana for running the Roasters Competition. And also to Justin from Asip Coffee Roasters. The three of them have been so on top of everything and me coming in not knowing anything - I wasn't fearful to step in to do the time and instructions since they were so thorough.
Competitor cupping coffee

Savor Brands supplied packaging for the 2024 US Roasters Qualifiers

Any other fun things you want to share with us?
Chelsea: Fun Fact - there are three of our friends and partners that were couples. And all the guys participated in Roasters and the ladies participated in Cup Tasters: Shout out to: We also saw Mehmet from Memli Coffee Lab and he said he traveled just over 30 hours and his competition lasted three minutes so we were laughing about that. I also wanted to highlight and underline what Paul said about how you would never know the roasters were competing each other - they all hang out, watch each other, support each other, live stream each other, they all talk about it afterwards and they're all so excited for each other's success. The camaraderie is so high, its been a neat thing to watch. Its been amazing to watch them be in their element and do their own thing but also to watch them and how they interact and support each other is really cool.
Soonhee from Jejes Coffee Roasters with Paul (Mr. Coffee Bags)

Soonhee from Jejes Coffee Roasters with Paul (Mr. Coffee Bags)

2023 Roaster Qualifier Competition Rankings
1. Wenbo Yang (Artly Coffee) 2. Tio Fallen (Three Keys Coffee) 3. Hyo Jung Kim (Gabee Coffee Roasters) 4. Tony Auger (Goshen Coffee Roasters) 5. Michael Matthews (Alinea Coffee Roasters) 6. Brian Hensley (Indie Coffee Roasters) 7. Eduardo Choza (Mayorga Coffee) 8. Alix Nathan (Mark Spencer Hotel) 9. Eric Stone (Mudhouse Specialty Coffee Roasters) 10. Steve Cuevas (Independent) 11. Kimhak Em (Paircupworks) 12. Alex Huang (Aroma Craft Coffee) 13. Matthew Selivanow (Kafiex Roasters) 14. Dana Borque (J.rene Coffee Roasters) 15. Mark Kove (White Nene Coffee Roasters) 16. Zachary Steele (Talavera Coffee)
Wow! It sounds like the 2024 US Roasters Qualifiers has been quite an exciting experience. Thanks so much Chelsea and Paul for sharing! We're excited to see all the US Roasters Finalists compete this year at the 2024 SCA Expo in Chicago! Best of luck to the Finalists and see you guys all at Expo!

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