This past weekend the World Aeropress Chamionships made what some might call a journey home to the leading coffee metropolis today, Sydney.
Hosted at Commune Waterloo, the championship assembled the national finalists from around the world for a no holds barred, fight to the death to take back the coveted prize of World Aeropress Champion. Taking the deceptively simple invention of Alan Adler, who also invented the aerobie flying disc, to give you any idea of the focus on play that this particular product has generated, baristas from around the world stirred, swirled, flipped and pushed their plastic cylinders, attempting to produce the most spectacular cup of coffee.
Entertainment throughout the night was provided by MCs Michelle Johnson and Marcus Boni, who were familiar to returning attendees from last year’s edition in Seoul. Sydney-based DJs were also invited along to give another layer of energy to proceedings.
Getting into the spirit of things was Kevin Crouse, Head of Training and Development at Blacktown-based roaster Black Drum Roasters. Crouse highlighted the inevitable return of the championships to the heart of Sydney’s coffee scene.
“Sydney is a hub of coffee, an innovator of coffee, of course the championships would end up here.”
Part of what makes the event so unique is its raucous atmosphere. Unlike barista championships which borrow from the trials and tribulations of fine dining, the world Aeropress championship has an anything goes philosophy, encouraging experimentation, as Crouse highlights.
“I love that this competition is a piss take on all competition, it really is an opportunity to party with a lot of coffee people all over the world.”
Ultimately, however, this means that the focus is on the coffee, not on extraneous additions. After blind taste testing, or cupping, as it’s known in the business, only one winner could emerge. That prize went to Carolina Ibarra Garay of the United States. Runners up were Xiaobo Zhang from China and Pinchukov Evgeni from Belarus.
Combining coffee to water ratios, stirring techniques, minute timing measurements and the choice of whether or not to let the coffee bloom (wetting the coffee to allow the release of gas) all worked together to give each coffee its unique flavour and taste. Attendees could sample these brews for the first time, as participants gave the crowd a taste of what the judges were getting on stage.
Proving that simplicity is once again no barrier to innovation, the 2018 championships celebrated all things Sydney and coffee, and what a match that is.