Canadian Aeropress Championships
Canada’s best came together last week to compete in the Canadian Aeropress Championships. 27 competitors from all across the country brewed the same coffee on the same device for a chance to compete on the World Stage in late November in London, England.
This year’s event was hosted at Stackt Market in Toronto by my friends at Culture, and sponsored by some of Canada’s best roasters and coffee gear suppliers. Reunion Coffee Roasters sourced and roasted the competition coffee, a naturally processed El Salvadorian with an inspiring story behind it!
The Aeropress championship is unique to other brewing competitions. Instead of a rigorous scoring scale that ranges from cleanliness of workspace to eloquence of speech, the Aeropress championship is judged blind by three Q Graders that are asking themselves one simple question - which cup would I prefer to drink all of?
That makes formulating your recipe as a competitor rather tough. Should I brew something safe? Should I go for something more adventurous? What kind of coffee are these judges going to prefer? My method was to brew a pretty conservative cup (more on my process later!), but my recipe was anything from conventional.
Each round is only 8 minutes long, and the judges begin blindly tasting immediately after the time is up. Let’s say it takes three minutes to prep your brew, another 3 minutes to brew it, and one more minute to serve it - that leaves one minute for your coffee to rest before it’s being judged. If you’re brewing a standard recipe just off boil, that’s just not enough time. Your coffee will be too hot when your judges taste it, muting any nuance that you tried to accentuate in your brew.
For that reason I brewed at 85°C, compensating my other variables to enable me to brew at a cooler temperature.
But I didn’t stop there.
In addition to brewing cooler, I added even colder water in the bypass to bring that temperature down even more. My target drinking temperature was around 70°C. At this point you’re probably scratching your head, wondering how you ever got this deep into brewing coffee, and asking what the heck is a bypass anyway?!
The bypass method isn’t too hard, and it’s actually become my preferred method to brew on the Aeropress. It works by brewing a concentrate with a portion of your total water, pressing through the filter, and then adding some water to your concentrate to dilute your final cup - that’s the bypass. I like this method for a few reasons, but the most important is that it allows you to dilute your cup to taste.
Not only did my bypass allow me to dilute to my target taste, but it also enabled me to bring my temperature down even further. My bypass was made up of a combination of both 85° and room temperature water.
A bypass brew does require you to use a bigger dose than you’re probably used to, and in this case it was 24.8g of coffee to 250g of water. That’s about a 1:10 ratio!
Other than that, my recipe isn’t too complicated! No fancy filters, no manic manoeuvres, and nothing to keep you from brewing this at home. We’ll dissect this recipe a little more in the coming posts, but for now here it is!
My Competition Recipe
Coffee: La Cancha
Origin: El Salvador
Roaster: Reunion Coffee Roasters
Brewer position: Inverted
Filter type: Two paper filters
Filter prep: Rinsed with room temperature water
Coffee weight: 24.8g
Grinder: Mazzer ZM
Grind size: [fine] 012345678910 [coarse]
Water weight: 250g
Typer of water: Third Wave Water
Rinse paper filters with room temperature water
Pour 20g room temperature water into a shot glass
Preheat water to 85°C
Grind coffee and dose into inverted Aeropress set around the 3 mark
Pour 50g of water and agitate thoroughly for 20 sec.
Pour 100g of water and cap
Press Aeropress lightly until all the air has been removed from the chamber
Flip at 1:00 and press steadily for 30 sec. into a room temperature serving vessel
Bypass with 80g of 85° water and stir
Add your final 20g of room temperature water and stir