The Barista League Brings Competitive Fun to Portland This Weekend

Coffee event producers The Barista League are bringing their caffeine-fueled fun back to the States for the first time this year during Portland’s Pride weekend.


Photos courtesy of The Barista League

The Barista League has never had a dull moment over the years, constantly brainstorming new ways to connect the coffee community globally. Whether it has been through virtual conferences or video competitions and books, TBL always has something up their sleeves. However, its founding concept is all about some good old partying and competition, which anyone and everyone can be a part of. The Barista League’s in-person events returned at full force last year, and they’re officially making Portland, Ore., their 2022 return to the United States; the event takes place this Saturday, June 18.

Camila Coddou will emcee the Portland event.

How The Barista League Works

In case you’re a little rusty on the layout, The Barista League’s competitions consists of three rounds that test barista skills, sensory skills, and a mystery round—what some call the dealer’s choice, straying only slightly from what you may expect out of a standard coffee competition. Twelve teams will take on the challenges, and plenty of action will be happening around the event for participants.

Side Attractions Worth Exploring

As we’ve noted, a Barista League event is more than just a coffee competition—it’s a coffee party, too. Some elements you can expect at the Portland event are an affogato bar by Rancilio, cold-brew cocktails by Toddy, plenty of coffees by local roasters, and a DJ to bring good vibes and a soundtrack to match the action.

Ian Williams, one of several judges selected for the Portland event.

Celebrating Pride This Weekend and at Every Event

It’s special that The Barista League, a group of folks who have always emphasized inclusion in their activities, are coming to the City of Roses during Pride weekend. “We are super stoked to be coming back to Portland during Pride month,” expresses communications director Eimear Nelson-Nilehn. The response has already been incredible, and we’re expecting something very special from the night. … Pride serves as a great reminder that the fight for the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t over, and that this is a crucial time to advocate for our friends and colleagues in the coffee community.“

Some ways that The Barista League is prioritizing LGBTQIA+ members and marginalized communities are through small yet thoughtful approaches regarding this weekend’s event. A Code of Conduct is available to any emcees and attendees during the party. Competing teams with members from any of the above-mentioned communities also received an extra ballot to increase their chances of participating, and were also prioritized in being booked as special guests to reflect the local demographic. Gender-neutral signage will be present, as well as pronoun recognition. The Barista League also suggests donating to Portland-local LGBTQIA-friendly organizations while in town, including the Q Center and Outside In.

Jen Apodaca is another judge who will be present at The Barista League Portland.

Your Guest Lineup

The special guests of The Barista League Portland include:

  • Morgan Eckroth (she/her) – judge
  • Jen Apodaca (they/them) – judge
  • Kim Dam (she/her) – judge
  • Molly Flynn (she/her) – judge
  • Ian Williams (he/him) – judge
  • Nathanael May (he/him) – judge
  • Camila Coddou (she/her) – emcee

You can check out the list of competitors here.

“While the last year and a half has been incredibly tough for the whole specialty-coffee industry, people are more excited than ever for accessible, fun and engaging coffee events,“ exclaims TBL founder Steve Moloney. “We are so excited for the opportunity to bring our competition concept to more cities around the globe.“

To attend the event, you must register in advance, which you can do for free here.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.