Community Spotlight · Dillanos Coffee Roasters, Seattle, WA
Sam Spillman may be best known in the specialty-coffee community for winning the 2019 United States Barista Championship, but that career highlight is just one accomplishment for the longtime coffee professional, who began working as a barista in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, when she was 17.
After moving to Seattle for college, Sam worked at area coffee companies such as Caffe Ladro—whom she represented in her first Barista competition in 2014—and Cherry Street Coffee House. Eventually she joined Dillanos Coffee Roasters, where she currently works as Head of Training Development.
Sam says her work at Dillanos varies from day to day, from educating people in the training lab to traveling to different cities to visit cafés that use Dillanos’ coffee. “Overall, I’m focused on consistently refreshing our training tools and resources for our internal staff and our wholesale customers all across the country,” she says.
Having worked in specialty coffee for close to a decade, Sam says she loves the career field so much that she hardly considers it work. “Coffee has given me the opportunity to meet talented coffee professionals all across the world,” she says. “Not only that, but through working in coffee, the learning never stops. There is always something new and interesting to discover.”
One coffee-related thing that Sam was happy to discover is Barista Series, which she used while working as a barista, and helped change her perception of how plant-based products can perform. “I used to dread when a customer would order a beverage with alternative milk … until I tried Barista Series,” she says. “It steams and pours flawlessly, unlike many other alternative milks. On top of that, the taste is incredible and pairs nicely with coffee. I now know that I can confidently serve a guest my best when using Barista Series.”
We wish the best of luck to Sam as she continues her career as a barista trainer and coffee competitor!