America's Best Coffeehouse Competition

Coffee Fest welcomes you to America's Best Coffeehouse Competition. We are confident that you will find this to be the most unique coffee competition produced at any coffee event anywhere.

Check out the finalists that will be competing at
Coffee Fest Portland!



America's Best Coffeehouse Competition has been developed to determine and acknowledge the three best coffeehouses regionally in North America. All coffeehouses in the U.S. and Canada, individual units as well as chains, may apply to compete. The competition is broken into three regions that will compete once per year. Click Here to see the Regional Breakdown.


To compete in America's Best Coffeehouse Competition at Coffee Fest, interested coffeehouses must complete an application. In addition to the completed application, each coffeehouse must submit either a three minute video highlighting the coffeehouse, the team members, and the attributes that they believe make them the best coffeehouse in North America or a picture of the coffeehouse and team members.

A maximum of up to 20 cafes will be selected for the preliminary “field qualification” based on the review of all information on the application and the video or photo submission by the selection committee.

Apply Here
To compete at
Coffee Fest
New York!
Deadline: January 8, 2016
Apply Here
To compete at
Coffee Fest
Deadline: April 3, 2016


Once the coffeehouses are announced by the selection committee, each coffeehouse, along with their video submission or photo for the competition, will be posted at to be viewed by the public and they will be able to vote for the coffeehouse they think should make it to the semi-finals at Coffee Fest.


Once named, the preliminary round competitors will begin a race against the calendar to see who can garner the most support (votes) from their customers, friends and fans over the 30 day period at Fan voting totals and Secret Shopper results will be used to determine the order in which the six finalists will select their competition date (Friday or Saturday) and time.


The competing coffeehouses will also be evaluated by secret shopper judges who will grade each shop on customer service, drink quality, ambiance, cleanliness, organization and efficiency.

A combination of popular vote results and secret shopper scores will determine six semi-finalist teams who will compete in America's Best Coffeehouse Competition at Coffee Fest.

Interested in becoming a judge? Apply Here!


For the on-site semi-finals and final round competition, dueling coffeehouse teams of three employees each will be filling roles such as barista, bar back, and greeter/cashier, who will serve attendees and judges. Each team member must have been on companies’ payroll for a minimum of 120 days.

Three of the selected semi-finalist coffeehouse teams will compete at Coffee Fest on Friday, and three semi-finalist teams will compete on Saturday. A combination of secret shopper scores and fan votes are used to determine the order that the coffeehouse teams select their competition date and time. At 4:55pm on Saturday, the three finalists to compete on Sunday will be announced. On Sunday, the three finalists will have one more 30 minute competition time at Coffee Fest to determine the Champion.

Semi-final and final rounds will feature each team working in the coffeehouse competition venue. Everything other than coffee will be provided. Teams may bring anything else they wish to support their competition time. Each team must be prepared to serve: espresso, cappuccino, latte, flavored latte, two manually brewed coffee options, and a daily special. All drinks must be no larger than eight ounces.

Coffeehouse teams determine and bring the ingredients, equipment (if necessary) and serving vessel to support their daily special.

America's Best Coffeehouse Competition is designed to evaluate teamwork, hospitality, aptitude, professionalism, presentation and limits. Coffeehouse teams will be judged by 30 carefully selected judges appointed by Coffee Fest. Coffeehouses will have 15 minutes to set up, 30 minutes of competition time and 15 minutes to clean up.


1st Place - $2,000
2nd Place - $1,000
3rd Place - $500


Competition Rules, Regulations & Details

On-Site Competition Schedule of Events

On-Site Competition Venue Blueprint

Equipment & Small Wares List

Competition Judging Score Sheets

Click on the pictures to enlage.
America's Best Coffeehouse Competition Venue
Click to enlarge.
Pop-up Cafe built by
Design & Layout Services.
Coffeehouse Competition espresso machine provided by
Nuova Simonelli: Aurelia II.
Espresso grinder provided by
Click to enlarge
Judging the drinks and service

America's Best Coffeehouse Honored Sponsors:



America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition is made possible by the generous support and sponsorship of the following companies: Design & Layout Services designed and fabricated the coffeehouse competition venue; Fresh Cup provides editorial and advertising support; Mahlkoenig has provided the whole bean and espresso grinders; Espresso Supply has provided all of the smallwares; and SelbySoft, Inc. provided the Point of Sale System.

Register to Compete