PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Super Joy Coffee co-owners Christopher Ou and Joe Yang met at a coffee competition a few years ago and hit it off right away. But it took a leap of faith for Christopher to leave New York and join up with Joe in Portland.
“We found out we have quite similar vision about doing coffee business,” Christopher told KOIN 6 News.
“My English is not really well, so I saw another person who can help me and speak Chinese to, to help me translate something, maybe if I missed for judges,” Joe said.
Christopher said it was perfect. And he saw “a great opportunity here” to work with Joe at his coffee shop in Portland “and learn from him.”
Joe already had “In Joy Coffee” in downtown Portland near Portland State University for years and the pair decided to rebrand it, while also taking over a different spot at SW Yamhill and 14th Avenue. They called the second place a coffee lab. Super Joy emerged in the middle of the pandemic
“Most people, they don’t know. ‘Oh really? China has coffee?'” Joe said.
New recipes are often infused with their Chinese culture, born in the coffee lab, like Chinese Pepper Mocha.
“How many chilis to balance the flavor,” Joe said. “Yeah we did that a lot. We drink and ‘ugh!'”
The coffee lab looks like a coffee shop but in the back there is a lot of science that goes into roasting the coffee beans.
If you’ve got a particular preference on how your beans are roasted, he’ll do it.
“We need to use a scale to weigh the syrup or the ingredient we need to put into the coffee drink just to make sure every drink we serve, people are satisfied and meets our expectations,” he said.
Christopher and Joe take their flavors seriously.
“But I think the main thing,. we just love serving coffee and this is our passion,” Christopher said. “And this is the motivation – make us want to do better, every time.”
You can get your caffeine fix with some adventurous lattes, like red dates, the Chinese pepper mocha and sweet ginger.
And their regular customers, like Leah Sehact, love it.
“They’re so good,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought to try a red date latte or a chili mocha.”
Super Joy also has beans from places you would expect, like Ethiopia and Colombia. But they also have some from China’s Yunan province, which is another way they’re sharing their Chinese culture through their coffee.