Morgan Eckroth ’20

December 13, 2023

Coffee influencer, @MorganDrinksCoffee


Morgan Eckroth’s journey from marketing major to social media star began, arguably, in a Corvallis coffee shop. With more than 6.2 million followers on TikTok, 1 million subscribers on Youtube, and 938,000 followers on Instagram, Eckroth has crafted a brand based around coffee-themed tutorials, gear reviews and, most of all, sketches of everyday interactions between baristas and customers set to contemplative music. These posts’ popularity hasn’t been hurt by Eckroth’s big wins in “the Olympics of barista life.” Eckroth, who uses both she and they pronouns, won the 2022 U.S. Barista Championship, placed second in the 2022 World Barista Championship in Melbourne, Australia, and placed second again in the 2023 U.S. Barista Championships. Participants source and roast their own coffee beans and then give a coffee-themed talk while serving three coffee courses to judges. We asked Eckroth to talk a little about their unique path.

As told to > Siobhan Murray


Portrait of Morgan Eckroth pouring cream into a coffee glass.Morgan Eckroth


Q: What drew you to work at Tried & True Coffee in Corvallis as a student?

Growing up in Corvallis, Tried & True was the first specialty coffee shop I ever went to, and the experience made me intrigued by both the idea of coffee as a career and the skill of creating excellent hospitality. The café became my home away from home during high school and when I worked there a little over three years during college, I fell in love with the role of barista.


Q: Can you tell me about how you turned your growth as an online influencer into an OSU project?

Due to my heavy workload and competition schedule, I didn’t have the space to do a traditional capstone project, but I had an idea for something a little less conventional. I pitched the idea of growing a YouTube channel to 100,000 subscribers over the course of a quarter. I defined KPIs (key performance indicators) for the project, reported my progress regularly and tied as much of my coursework into it as possible. At the end of the quarter, I did a final presentation on the strategies I’d used both creatively and tactically to meet my initial goal. To this day, I’m very grateful to my College of Business counselor for approving the capstone project as it ended up being incredibly beneficial to my content creation job later.


Photos showing three steps to make the key lime pie latte.Photo from Morgan Drinks Coffee blog post.

Q: What was one of the biggest challenges you faced, finishing your last year of college in 2020 at the start of the pandemic?

Oh, man, what an interesting time to graduate. It’s hard to encompass just how stressful that was, but the thing that I remember the most was the realization that I wouldn’t be able to immediately get a job in my dream industry, namely hospitality. The hospitality industry, and specifically coffee, were both on proverbial fire in 2020. I ended up accepting a position in a completely different industry for a while out of necessity.

Q: Tell me a little about the Barista Championships. When you started this, did you ever imagine you’d be named the best barista in the United States and then travel to compete on the world stage?

Definitely not! I certainly dreamed about it, but it never felt attainable. For me, competition was a way to learn more about coffee and push my own boundaries. I spent most of my early years in one sport or another along with the performing arts, so having an outlet to be competitive, creative, and serve coffee was incredible.


Clarified key lime Pie Latte cold drink with amber liquid and ice cubes.
Photo from Morgan Drinks Coffee blog post.


Q: What would you say is the most creative part of your job now? 

Trying to create hospitality in unusual places. I want my videos to encompass the feeling of great hospitality you can experience in a café. That’s both a fun and difficult creative challenge. 

Q: What’s your advice to other alumni interested in becoming social media content creators?

Don’t let it consume you. Being an online creator is a wildly exciting job, but if you’re doing it as a job, you need to treat it as a job. It can take a lot out of you if you aren’t careful and that’s when burnout happens. Trust your creative process, create boundaries and make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.


Latte colored drink with light brown liquid being poured in.
Photo from Morgan Drinks Coffee blog post.



*The cover photo is of a cold fashioned - dark & Smoky from a morgan drinks coffee blog post. post and recipe is available here.