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"Cafiza is my favorite cleaning product because it has the greatest impact on the espresso extraction. It is also the most satisfying visually."

Sam Spillman

Coffee Education Specialist
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What is your current occupation and employer?

I am the Coffee Education Specialist for Dillanos Coffee Roasters.


List all the national and world coffee competitions you have competed in.
  • World Barista Championship 2019
  • United States Barista Championship 2015, 2018, 2019


When and how did you decide to pursue a career in coffee?

While in college about six years ago, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in coffee. I had just started working at a local café in Seattle and fell in love with the community and science that surrounded the craft.


How did you first decide to compete in a coffee competition?

My head trainer, 2014 U.S. Barista Champion Laila Ghambari, challenged me to try out coffee competitions. After that there was no turning back.


How does your professional experience as an educator and trainer help you succeed in barista competitions?

As a trainer, teaching individuals of all skill levels, I am forced to go back to the basics on a daily basis and communicate complex concepts in more simple terms. This helped tremendously in my technical and also communication to my judging panel.


What have been the benefits of having a coach, in Kyle Ramage, who has competed and been successful both on a national and international level?

First, Kyle Ramage is an awesome human! He has helped on so many levels with building my routine. He helped me take what I was passionate about and communicate it in such a way that the judges could digest easily.


Describe the importance of cleaning or clean equipment in making the best coffee beverages.

Every shot of espresso or espresso-based beverage deserves to have a fair chance in being the best it can be. Especially after so much thought is put into it by the barista. An unclean machine detracts from beauty and clarity of any given espresso drink.


What is your favorite Urnex product and why?

Cafiza is my favorite cleaning product because it has the greatest impact on the espresso extraction. It is also the most satisfying visually.


What is your favorite origin country, region or farm?

Because my first origin experience was in Colombia, I would have to say that Colombia is my favorite origin country.


What is unique about coffee culture in the US?

What is unique about the coffee culture in the US is how Americans utilize cafes as a space to work outside of work and home. Working in a café, so many of my regular customers would use our café space as a work space, with an unlimited supply of coffee.


Outside of coffee, what do you do for fun?

Outside coffee, I love to ride mountain bikes… or honestly, ride any bike of any kind.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

Five years seems so far, but I hope that I will still be growing my coffee career and assisting others in doing the same.