11 May 2014

The Dutch Aeropress Championship 2014

And for the best made Dutch Aeropress you need to go to...Belgium! (Say what?...)

On Friday 9th the Dutch Aeropress championship was held in the Coffeecompany on the Oosterdok in Amsterdam and the competition was tough. Because the competition is not SCAE, but really a game held when someone wants to host, it can be either dull or filled with the best a country has. This year, multiple stand out coffee roasters and houses were represented, two previous national champions were there to defend their title and also previous winners from other countries were trying their hand at the Dutch title this year. It was a who's who in Coffee Nerd World. 

And it was a spectacle. As I mentioned in a previous post on Aeropress competitions, the Aeropress lends itself for an array of brewing possibilities. And the coffee used this year, the Matalapa Caracol Lot from El Salvador, being quite a difficult but difference coffee, brought out the creativity in the strange hipster coffee lot.

As all baristas know, coffee starts with the grind. And if the grind is wrong, so is your coffee. Almost all baristas brought their own grinder, from a Ditting to a Mahlkonig, to a Hario Skerton and a Porlex. Reasons differed. Apparently, for some, it is easier to bring a grinder than to have to adjust the grind size of the Coffeecompany's grinder. Or, because a hand ground coffee tastes better.

sieves and gas burners
Every single person competing had a personal recipe, which they thought worked the best for the coffee provided. 
Also, more than one barista sieved out the fines, to try to lessen the bitters and increase balance. In a tea sieve, or a self spun cloth sieve, or whatever else seemed to do the job. 
And don't forget the water; if you want the taste of the water and thus of the brewed coffee to be as expected, you need to brew with the same  type of water. So people brought their own.
Plus, not only were the common paper filters used, but also metal and even a self made filter passed along in the competition; all letting through different solids and tastes into the brewed coffee.

Then there were timers, and thermometers. Special pouring kettles and servers. Cupping spoons and cups, to taste the result before sending it off to the judges. Some used the Aeropress upright and some inverted. Some used a low coffee to water ratio, and others a very high one. There was stirring and shaking, and some did none of that. Some needed every second of their 8 minute time frame and others were done before the clock hit half time.
judges pick a winner

But the winner did it all. Not only did he brew an Aeropress, he had a story and a theme. And that for a blind coffee tasting competition, what a show horse. 
It all started with a little colourful winding machine set upon a milk pitcher. Then the pouring kettle was put on the table, onto a camping gas burner. The theme? Camping. The Aeropress is perfect for travel. Indestructible and easy to clean. Of course most people on their camping trip do not bring a thermometer to determine the perfect brewing temperature, but this really was a competition and not a camping trip, of course.
In between sips of his self brought cheap camping beer, the ultimate Dutch Aeropresser, searched for the perfect brewing temperature of his Spa water, constantly adjusting his gas flame. He sieved the fines out of the coffee. Brewed his Aeropress, and chilled the brew to the perfect serving temperature in glass and cold water.
The taste was balanced, chocolaty and full bodied. Sweet, without any bitter. A perfectly brewed and served Matalapa Aeropress coffee. And so, really, bad coffee during vacation is not allowed any more. And if you can get perfect brewed coffee while camping, shall we bring it home as well? No more excuses, Simon Boone has proved it for us all, for scrumptious coffee you do not need any fancy stuff at all.

the top 3, Caffenation, Trakteren and the Espressobus
You can get a Boone Aeropress at Caffenation in Antwerp. Of course you could also ask for an Aeropress of the reigning World Champion Jeff Verellen, there. However, probably anyone behind the bar will know how to brew an Aeropress too. 

If you want to see some photos of the Dutch Aeropress Championships 2014 check out the CoffeeStrides Facebook page.

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