World Aeropress Championship
Recently I had the chance to participate in my first major tournament in Hamilton, Ontario; the World Aeropress Championship. A hundred people were present to experience this national championship in order to find the barista who will be crowned the big winner of this 2018 edition. Here is a brief overview of my experience.
theWorld Aeropress Championship is a world tournament that has been held every year for ten years now. The goal is very simple; finish first in the national competition to represent Canada at the worlds this year in Australia. Each participant receives the same coffee and must develop a recipe for highlight flavors to distinguish themselves from other competitors. The coffees presented are blindly judged by three industry professionals. The best cup moves on to the next round, by round-by-round elimination process, until the overall winner is crowned. This year there was 32 attendees therefore registered 3 people from Vancouver and even from Calgary.
For a week I worked on my preparation by adjusting several variables. Although we all have the same coffee, a Colombian (Colombia) from Primavera, each recipe brings different aromas and flavors. That's the beauty of it! There is a set of postman that we can adjust to create the perfect cup; the water and its minerals, the temperature, the coffee ratio, the grind, the agitation, the infusion time, the pressing time and so on! So we have a week and 340g of coffee to try to create the best brew possible . I wanted to emphasize the acidity of the grapefruit and bring out the flavors of red fruit as much as possible. The most difficult thing is to give yourself a starting recipe and to adjust it without making too many unsuccessful attempts, because 340g of coffee goes by really quickly!
The day of the competition everything went well. My recipe was on point and I was satisfied with the result in the cup. Unfortunately, I crossed swords with a competitor (he finished on the second step of the podium!) who had mastered the water chemistry . I had the chance to taste the cup he presented to the judges. Its infusion was superior to mine and the notes of red fruit were so well highlighted, that I must admit, it was close to perfection! His recipe was also very simple but everything was done with super well controlled water, which made a big difference for the judges. When we know that a cup of coffee is made from 98% water , this is a key factor in controlling it.
For my first competition, I am very happy to have had the chance to participate. I had the pleasure of meeting people who were also (if not much more) geek than me and I learned a variety of things. As a professional barista, this kind of event pushes me to surpass myself and to refine my techniques and my knowledge in order to become better. It's only a postponement before we can get our hands on the big title and the golden Aeropress !
The Coffee Geek