Portland coffee talent took home victories in two categories and runner-up status in two more at the U.S. Coffee Championships this year. At the Oregon Convention Center April 21 through April 23, Portland tied Olympia, Washington for the most winners, and led all American cities in the most total finalists.
Andrew Coe of Northeast Portland’s Elevator Coffee was awarded first place in the Roasters Championship category. Wenbo Yang won first place in the Brewers Cup category and runner-up in Latte Art, repping the west coast chain Artly Coffee. Additionally, 2022’s U.S. barista champion Morgan Eckroth of Onyx Lab nabbed runner-up in the same category this year, and Matthew Selivanow of Vancouver’s Kafiex Roasters took fifth place in the roasting competition.
“Finally, Portland’s back!” Yang said, celebrating the city’s return to competitive success at the last two championships. “We have such a great coffee community here in Portland,” Coe said, “with so many knowledgeable folks who contribute to each other’s success.”
Yang currently roasts for downtown Portland’s Super Joy Coffee and Less And More, and and serves as chief coffee officer for the robot barista-powered Artly Coffee. He used El Diviso Coffee Farm beans for the Brewers Cup competition. Yang has competed in the coffee championships since 2017, and this his first win.
Eckroth began competing in the barista category in 2019, winning the U.S. championships and international runner-up in 2022, and plans to compete again in 2024. They work as a content marketing specialist for Arkansas-based Onyx Coffee Lab and keep their barista skills sharp twice a week at Woodstock’s Keeper Coffee.
Coe co-owns Elevator Coffee, whose beans can be enjoyed at Lionheart Coffee in Beaverton, the Hinterland food pod, and other locations in Oregon and California. Coe placed 5th in last year’s Roaster finals and used that experience to inform his winning approach in the time-limited roasting competition this year.
Coe overcame the additional hurdle of muted taste and smell due to a lingering cold the weekend of the competition. He received several pounds of the beans used for the competition, and hopes to offer a limited edition version of his championship roast soon at Elevator Coffee.
Yang will next compete in the Brewers Cup World Championships in Athens in June, and Coe will compete at the Roasters World Championships in Taipei in November. “That is is super special to me” Coe said, “My dad is from Taiwan, and I’m gonna bring him with me as my translator and guide to get around when we’re there.”