24 Apr 2014

How to brew an Aeropress and the Dutch Aeropress Championships

20 grams | 200mL | 80C | 2:30 minutes

Yesterday the internal Coffeecompany Aeropress Championship was held. The prize? The two best competitors will represent the company during the Dutch Championships to be held on May 9th. 

I had the good fortune to be asked to be one of the three judges for the Coffeecompany Championship.

For those who do not know anything about Aeropresses or its Championships, here's the lowdown.
An Aeropress is a device which was once invented by the Aerobie Company, originally to create an espresso-like beverage. However it's mostly used to make a coffee that has more resemblance to filter or pour-over coffee.
Now for the Championships, always approved by the Aerobie Company, competitors compete using the same coffee and roast, not being allowed to add anything to the coffee but approved water. They get 8 minutes to create their Aeropress brewed coffee, and present their coffee to a three headed jury. The jury tastes the coffee blind, not knowing who brewed which coffee how. The competition consists of several rounds, and uses a throwdown system, where 2 compete against each other. The best of the two advances to the next round, until 1 winner is left.

The competition is only held if there is a host willing to organise the event, so every time you get to go or compete you are one lucky bastard. Want to see which countries are competing this year? Check out the Aerobie Aeropress Facebook page.

As the Coffeecompany will be hosting the Dutch Championships this year, they provided the coffee for their internal Championships, and that coffee will also be used on the 9th of May. The coffee being a fully washed Peaberry Paca and Bourbon variety (although it is mostly Peaberry looking at it), from Matalapa Caracol Lot in El Salvador harvested in 2013.
I have to say, its not my most favourite coffee, as it's woody, grassy and hay-like character come out very easily. As a judge, it suddenly hit me yesterday that it might be quite possible I would have to try more than 18 cups of coffee tasting not only exactly the same, but all tasting of wood...and that thought really was not very appealing.

Of course my fear proved unsustained, as I only got 1 or 2 woody coffees, and even got served a few amazing ones. The reason? Twofold. First of all, and I knew this, the Coffeecompany has some very well trained and passionate baristas, who all know how to brew a pleasant Aeropress. But also, the Aeropress is so incredibly diverse, its nearly impossible to get the same taste if the Aeropress is made by different people. It can be made upright; inverted; with a paper filter; a metal filter; it can be stirred once, twice or in different directions; it can be made with hot water or cold; the coffee can be ground very fine or very coarse; the extraction can differ from half a minute to as long as you want; or a mix of all the above and probably more...

Which is exactly why Championships are held.

Now, I'll leave the Matalapa alone, letting the Dutch competitors find the best recipe for that. But in the spirit of the Aeropress Championships, I'd like to  share one of my recipes. This recipe often enhances the full body sweetness of a naturally processed coffee, and does usually not work for a washed coffee.

What will you need?

- naturally processed coffee roasted for filter (light to medium roast)
- precision scale
- Aeropress and paper Aeropress paper filter 
- Aeropress stirring wand
- kettle and pouring kettle
- clean and odourless water (filtered is preferred)
- thermometer
- grinder
- timer
- cup

step 1
Boil your water and let it cool off to 80 degrees Celsius. You can also use a kettle that you can pre set to a certain temperature.

step 2
While your water is boiling, weigh and grind your coffee. As I mentioned, you will want to try this recipe on a natural coffee. I used the naturally processed (on drying beds) mixed heirloom variety from Konga Sedie in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.Weigh out 20 grams of coffee and grind it to a paper filter grind size. Which is a little finer than caster sugar.

step 3
You will want to saturate your paper filter. Not only will it remove a papery flavour, but a dry paper filter will cause your coffee to run through the Aeropress filter more quickly then when dry (I don't know why). Place the paper filter in the filter basket. Twist it onto the Aeropress, put it on a cup the right side up. Add water, and with the plunger push the water through. This will also give you a pre heated cup.
Now, do not just pull the plunger out, this will disturb your paper filter. Rather, push the plunger almost all the way down. Take the Aeropress into 1 hand. While you keep pushing the plunger down, unscrew the filter basket. Due to the pressure given by the plunger, your paper filter will come out uncreased.

step 4
Turn your Aeropress upside down and pull the plunger almost all the way out, leaving it on just under the number 4. Place it on the table inverted, resting the top of the plunger on the surface.

step 5
Add your ground coffee and make sure it is level. Get your timer.

step 6
As you start adding water, start your timer. Fill the Aeropress up to just underneath the part that will rest on your cup in 30 seconds.

step 7
Stirr slowly until all coffee is wet and moving around. I am not very precise here, just turning different ways until I am satisfied. Twist the filter basket, with the paper filter onto the Aeropress at 1 minute, and slowly push down the Aeropress releasing all the air left in the device, creating an airtight Aeropress. If you need some guidance, keep an eye on the top of your filter basket while slowly pushing down. Once you see some moist coming through the paper filter, you are done.


step 8
Turn your Aeropress the right side up onto your cup. You'll see ground coffee parts flying around inside the Aeropress. Let the coffee settle and rest.

step 9
At 2 minutes, start pushing down the plunger. Make sure you are pushed down all the way at 2:30 minutes. And your done!

step 10
Immediately rinse off your Aeropress and enjoy your coffee.


I would love to know your thoughts on this recipe, and if it also works for your preferred naturally processed coffee.

Or check out if you like the Aeropresses made by the two Coffeecompany winners. You can find Tim behind the bar of the Coffeecompany on the Amstelstraat in Amsterdam. Belle is usually found on the Meester Trueblaan, but can often also be found elsewhere.

On May 9th, the national Championships will be held in the Coffeecompany on the Oosterdok, near the central train station of Amsterdam. Everyone is welcome to join, free of charge, from 5 pm. Or before, ofcourse.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...