March 19 marked the last day of winter in the Netherlands and the steamiest night of the year for filter coffee enthusiasts. It was the Dutch AeroPress Championship, hosted for a third time by Coffee Company in Amsterdam.
“Het ziet er gezellig uit!” (“That looks cozy!”) said a taxi driver on depositing a reporter at the cafe’s flagship Oosterdok location. A white tent marked the entrance, giving it an elegant nuptial air (unexpected in these low-frills Lowlands but apt with a competition hashtag of #sayyestothepress). Through the windows, marigold rays of light silhouetted the very many bodies standing shoulder to shoulder, bouncy but polite, beer-sipping yet still caffeinated.
Over four hours, 27 coffee professionals from around the country competed to impress with their best pressings of Coffee Company’s official competition bean: a fully washed coffee from Finca Filadelfia in Huila, Colombia.
Judges were kept, as plucky co-MC Kim Staalman put it, “hard aan het slurpen,” which is Dutch for something like “slurping diligently.” Presiding were Zsuzsa Zichó from Modern Standard Coffee, Damian Durda, formerly of Bonanza, and Matt Sealby from Falcon Coffees. Called on to settle one disagreement on taste, which involved a uniquely sweet cup with notes of mango, was head judge Jasper Uhlenbusch, brand director and green coffee buyer at Coffee Company.
The tensest round came when 2015 Dutch AeroPress champ Floris van der Burg, a barista at White Label Coffee, competed in a trio against both owners of fellow Amsterdam cafe Trakteren, Edward Beumer and Erik Oosterhuis. Wearing a dark blazer over a mandarin collar, Van der Burg well played the role of AeroPressor Emeritus, all his accouterments sprucely branded with home cafe stickers. But it was Beumer, understated as usual in a Western plaid button-up unbuttoned over an industry T, who won the round.
And it was his 30/220 gram coffee/water recipe that later got Beumer the gold. Asked how he felt after championship host Stijn Braas proclaimed him winner, Beumer beamed.
“It was a real funny story because two of our clients wanted to participate,” he told Sprudge. “Those clients like coffee very much, like the AeroPress very much, but they are not baristas, so they challenged us to rethink the whole process. So then we gave it a little extra because we want to set a good example.”
He added: “I never thought it would happen, but I really wanted a trophy.”
And before long, friends had swept Beumer off his feet, hoisting him up for a better view westward—towards Dublin, home to the 2016 World AeroPress Championships this June.
The winning recipes:
First Place: Edward Beumer, Trakteren of Amsterdam
Coffee/water (grams): 30/220
Grind: 10 (Mahlkönig EK 43)
Grind 30 grams coarsely (reversed)
Pour 85 degrees Celsius water in 15 seconds to 120 grams
Stir 15 seconds
Flip, steep for 30 seconds
Press, add 100 grams of water
Second Place: Jasper Tuls, Coffee Company of Amsterdam
Coffee/water (grams): 18.5/250
Grind: 7.75 (Mahlkönig EK 43)
Grind 18.5 grams on 7.75 on EK
50-gram bloom with 80 degrees Celsius water
At 30 seconds, pour to 250 grams (65 degrees Celsius water)
Stir 3x smoothly
At 1:10 press in 30 seconds
Third Place: Ben Richardson, Bocca Coffee of Amsterdam
Coffee/water (grams): 20/240
Grind: Filter fine, 6 ( Mahlkönig EK 43)
Dose, pour 78 degrees Celsius 160 milliliters, stir 5x
Steep 30 seconds
Slow, controlled push
Test total dissolved solids
Dilute to awesome drinking strength!!!
Karina Hof is a Sprudge staff writer based in Amsterdam. Read more Karina Hof on Sprudge.
Photos courtesy of Karina Hof and Pim Rinkes.