We continue our chat with this years U.S. Barista champ about their selected coffees, and how their rewarding experiences will shape both their life ethos and content moving forward.


Cover photo by Niki Weegens

Yesterday, we began a conversation with 2022 U.S. Barista champion Morgan Eckroth (she/they), a barista at Keeper Coffee and the content creator of Morgan Drinks Coffee, a successful profile on TikTok and other social media channels. We wrap up our conversation with them by chatting more about working with the team at Onyx Coffee Lab, how they chose their coffees, and what their followers can expect from Morgan Drinks Coffee this year.

Note: This interview has been condensed.

Morgan Eckroth is this years U.S. Barista champ. Photo by Niki Weegens.

Katrina Yentch: There are a lot of coffees to choose from and you picked Eugenioides, a rising star in the competition world. I’m curious how much your coach Lance Hedrick and the team at Onyx Coffee had inspired you to choose this coffee, and how much of your own influence went into the process of selecting your coffee.

Morgan Eckroth: This season there were a lot of constraints that don’t usually exist. Two months is not a lot of time to get coffees brought in internationally. It’s really difficult and time-consuming. In an ideal world we would’ve had time to go to origin and actually work very closely with the farm we’re gonna get coffees from, and we’d have time to taste everything. This year that just literally wasn’t possible, so Onyx came to me with two of the coffees that they thought would perform really well and were excited about and had enough of. Those ones happened to be the Eugenoides and Sudan Rume, which I used for my signature and my espresso.

They were like, “Here you go. Try these out! If you don’t love them we’ll keep exploring. You need to be in love with them, so let’s start from here and figure out what you want.” And so I tried the Eugenioides and I was like, first of all, it’s awesome to be able to talk about and explore a species of coffee that’s gaining more traction and sweeping the competition stages. But also it’s an opportunity to talk about this coffee to my audience, who very few knew about it. 

The Sudan Rume is kind of on the opposite side, whereas the Eugenioides was incredibly sweet—super low caffeine, and high sugar. The Sudan Rume is a much more tropical and high-acidity coffee and it’s wonderful and complex. I just fell in love with it personally, so the two of them coming together just made sense. Even though I had the flexibility if I wanted to try different coffees, it was really lucky. We just nailed these right away.

Morgan incorporated some accessible mixology techniques in their signature drink. Photo by Niki Weegens.

Your signature drink had some strong cocktail mixologist elements to it, like using oleo-saccharum and saline. I was curious how that came together and how much you were experimenting with mixology to influence your drink.

It’s funny because most competitors will say this when you’re developing your signature drink—you just crack open a cocktail book and just start pulling things. So this year a component of creating the signature drink was knowing that we wanted it to be something that people can make at home. Part of the routine was that we had released the recipe and encouraged people to make it alongside watching the livestream. So it’s like you have the same sensory experience as the judges are having; that was kind of a component of it. So that kind of limited a bit of what we could do because it had to be accessible. 

But we knew we wanted it to be chilled, something shaken. It’s a method for drinks that I really like and it’s simple. And then we were like, “Well now we have to put ingredients in!” … A lot of it is looking up cocktail recipes, and learning what those things are, just throwing things at the wall and eventually something tastes good.

What was the most fun part of putting the routine together? And what can we expect from Morgan Drinks Coffee in the future?

I think the most impactful part of this season’s competition was the amount of collaboration that happened. Both with the folks at Onyx, and I know that this is so cliche to say, but it really takes a village to put a competitor on stage, and I think most competitors would say that. There are so many people, so many folks at Onyx and Keeper and my family. Once we got to competition this year, there was a unique sense of camaraderie amongst the competitors. I came out of the competition with a lot of really valuable friendships in a really cool way. Honestly my favorite part this year was collaboration at every single level, from when we started forming the routine to getting to Boston and being with competitors. But we aren’t competing against each other; we’re just doing the best we can in every single way. In that way everyone was supporting each other, which was a very cool experience.

And moving forward, that’s the million-dollar question. Going into this year I just thought that I was gonna do the best that I can do. In a pipe dream, I was like, I’d love to win. You don’t ever really expect it to happen and then it does and you’re like, oh shoot! What do I do now? Do I just go back to normal? 

I can tell you at least that Morgan Drinks Coffee will continue in a lot of ways that it has in the past. I still plan on making my little sketches and plan on doing really silly things with coffee on YouTube. But also my time and my presence online has evolved in the past three years and I anticipate that it will continue to evolve over the next four months. A lot of my life is gonna be taken up by competing for Worlds (taking place Sept. 27-30 in Melbourne, Australia). And so we’re gonna continue sharing the process, which will be incorporated into my content. I am currently figuring out what comes next career-wise in coffee, but for the time being without a doubt there will be shenanigans. We are going back to semi-regular programming after this!

Morgan Drinks Coffee will soon return to “semi-normal programming“ in the months leading up to the World Barista Championship. Photo courtesy of Morgan Eckroth.

What has been one of the most valuable things you’ve learned from this process and your team?

I think the thing I have taken away most from this experience is something that Andrea (Allen) told me when I was working on writing my script. I had tons of ideas and sentences that were too long and very chaotic. I had so many things I was trying to say all at once. And Andrea looked at me and said, “Come into what you’re doing here with a clear message. What is one sentence that you want to communicate with this routine? And then drive that home as hard as you can.”

That was something that was really influential in developing my routine. And honestly I carried it out of competition as well, with defining my mission and sticking to it. …

So what is that message?

That sentence nowadays for me online, my goal is to make specialty coffee as fun and approachable for everyone as possible. That is my goal online at all points. I’ve said many times I don’t make content for coffee people. I make content about coffee for anyone, and I’m really glad when coffee people can enjoy it. But overall my audience is not coffee people and I think that’s something I value a lot and is pretty unique, and so my goal is to make that bridge from me to specialty coffee and add value to the supply chain and make it as seamless as possible, because I care about the industry a lot. And if there’s anything I can do to help it grow, I’m gonna do as much as possible. So that’s kind of my driving force behind everything.

The post A Conversation With 2022 U.S. Barista Champ Morgan Eckroth: Part Two appeared first on Barista Magazine Online.

This article was first published here.

I am always keeping an eye on health issues related to coffee and reading every piece of research related to coffee. Today I came across a report that shows coffee does not increase risk of high blood pressure.

Data shown in the research is very persuasive. The study consisted of 72,567 participants and 37,135 incident cases of hypertension, more than enough to be able to draw a definitive conclusion. It turns out we don’t need to worry that we will develop very high blood pressure if we consume more than 3 cups of coffee a day.

As a coffee lover, I have to say this is a good news. I can now enjoy my coffee without worrying about heart attacks and high blood pressure that may be caused by coffee. I love my life.

So now that we know for sure that coffee is healthy, check out some of the best K-Cup coffee flavors or else my pick for the best domestic coffee machine.

Compared with traditional hot coffee, iced coffee has become more and more popular among young people lately. On a hot summer afternoon, what could be more cool than a cup of iced coffee?

Basically you have 4 choices when it comes to iced coffee.

  1. Buy your cup from Starbucks
  2. Buy an iced coffee maker
  3. Buy Instant Iced coffee
  4. Make it at home by yourself

I think there is no need to explain the first method, we all can do it: pay the money, get your coffee. So let us move on to the next choice – an iced coffee maker. You can buy a coffee maker with an iced-beverage function or buy an ice coffee maker, which is specifically used to make iced coffee.

For a general coffee maker with an iced-beverage function, I suggest you check out the Breville Bkc700XL Gourmet Single-Serve Coffeemaker with Iced-Beverage Function. However, I don’t want to buy an expensive coffee maker for $200 just to make iced coffee. That is unless the coffee maker I have breaks, in which case I will look for this function when buying my next coffee maker.

In fact, I really like those cheap, cute little machines that are just for making iced coffee or cold brewing only. There are a bunch of them out there. For 30 dollars you can pick up a good brewer such as the Hario V60 Iced Coffee Maker. Watch the video below to see how it works.

Another option is the Toddy Cold Brew System. Watch the video below to see how this coffee maker works.

The 3rd choice is also popular because it is cheap and easy. As I have said before, amazon.com is the best place to buy things like instant iced coffee. Amazon is cheap, high quality and sells some products you can’t get at local stores. If you need some instant iced coffee suggestions, some good options are the Cappucino Coolers French Vanilla, Starbucks iced coffee, Maxwell house iced latte and so on. Have a look for yourself; they are easy to find. In fact, instant iced coffee is my favorite way of drinking iced coffee in the summer. It isn’t the best brewing option for flavor, but sometimes we don’t just concentrate on flavor.

If you are ready to make iced coffee at home, it is best to start with the easiest recipe. All you need is coffee, sugar and ice. Things you have to pay attention to are:

Adding more ground coffee than you usually do. For example, if you use one tablespoon for your hot coffee, use 2 tablespoons for iced coffee.

If you want to add sugar, add it when the coffee is hot. When the water cools down, the sugar won’t dissolve as well.

Don’t pour hot water directly over ice. Leave it to cool for a while or you will end up with a weak and flavorless iced coffee. If you watched the Hario V60 video, you will have seen that the coffee maker has ice in the middle section. This is a fast and convenient solution for cooling coffee down faster, without ruining it by pouring it directly over ice when it is still hot or waiting for hours to let your coffee cool down in the summer.

For other recipes choices, it is easy to search for homemade iced coffee recipes online. I am sure you will find plenty of options as well if you want to pick up an ebook so that you can read it when you are not online. Check out some other home brewing options such as Moka Pot and French Press brewing on this site.

If you are ever in need of a 10-cup coffee brewer, you should consider the Bunn NHBX-B Contemporary brewer; especially for occasions like Christmas. This brewer is fast. It will brew plenty of cups quickly for all your family members.

When I say fast, I mean fast. 50-oz of coffee brews in just 3 minutes; that’s amazing. On top of that, the stainless steel tank keeps the water hot for whenever you need it. So how has Bunn delivered such a fast brewer?

Bunn nhbx-b

This is primarily achieved with two water tanks: one you fill, and the other is preheated. The water in the preheated water tank is delivered to the spray head and, because it is preheated, it doesn’t require any time to heat up. Another way that Bunn have achieved fast brewing is by increasing the amount of water that pours into the filter basket, which is a far greater compared to other coffee makers on the market.

If you are looking for a brewer that works perfectly and won’t just last for a six months or a year, but rather for five years at least, then you should choose this Bunn BHBX-B coffee brewer. Bunn builds coffee makers to last, unlike other coffee makers that usually wear out after a year or two. Virtually all programmable coffee makers seem to only last a short time. So, by buying a Bunn, you’ll save money on coffee makers.

If you still need to buy your friend a gift for Christmas, you really need to look no further. Of course, K-Cups are also always a fantastic gift option.

I forget to mention that there is a 3-year limited warranty, so buying this machine is risk free.