PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is known for its coffee, and two Portlanders are further cementing the city’s place on the map by taking top honors during a national coffee competition.
Morgan Eckroth from Keeper Coffee Co. took home the U.S. Barista Championship while Andrew Coe, part-owner and head roaster of Elevator Coffee, took fifth place overall in the U.S. Roaster portion. The competition was set in Boston and lasted several days.
Coe said he was shocked when learned he was a top-five coffee roaster in the entire nation.
“There were a lot of great coffee roasters there, so I felt humbled and honored to be able to be in the top five,” Coe said.
The Portland resident first qualified for the competition in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic canceled the event until 2022. He competed alongside 20 other people and was judged on evaluating the coffee before its roasted, a plan to roast the coffee and finally roasting the coffee for the judges.
“[The judges] don’t know who submitted any of the coffees, and they evaluate it based on different scoring criteria: sweetness, acidity, balance and body,” he explained.
After ending an eight-year career in civil engineering, Coe moved to Portland with his wife about a decade ago. He said Portland’s coffee scene was nationally recognized and decided to “give it try.”
He credits the city’s community atmosphere for getting him up and running in the industry.
With Eckroth also taking top honors in the competition, Coe said it’s no surprise as the Portland coffee scene encourages people to be the best in the industry.
“There’s just so many passionate folks in this town who care and pay attention to the details, and that’s the sort of thing that helps make a good competitor,” he noted.
Coe plans to return to the competition next year if he qualifies.