Spectators and members of the Dublin coffee community alike gathered in droves in the warm spring evening to celebrate the yearly Irish AeroPress Championship, which took place in Spring 2016 as part of the international World AeroPress Championship circuit.
First Draft Coffee joined forces with German roastery The Barn to produce this event. Initially slated for just 24 spots in the competition, that number was more than doubled as over fifty baristas competed in heats for a chance at victory.
The venue for the competition was Hatch & Sons, in the heart of Dublin, right at St. Stephen’s Green. The space was transformed from a usually rustic and homey restaurant into a bustling competition ground, as each round of competitors stood around a kitchen island, preparing their coffees under the flash of cameras and the eyes of fascinated viewers.
The competition was judged by Colin Harmon, owner of 3FE Coffee, Susan Kealy of The Barn, and Niall Wynne of Proper Order Coffee Company. The event was MC’d by Stuart Ritson, of Workshop Coffee in London and hosted by Ger O’Donohoe, Director of First Draft Coffee.
An unprecedented number of competitors lined up over the course of the evening, and the crowd remained cheerful and captivated. Though the venue is technically a basement, large windows opened to the street as attendees wandered in and out to support their peers. By the time the final round came to a head, the tension in the air was tangible. Refreshments were available from Eight Degrees Brewing Company, a craft beer company from Cork.
Austin Quinlan of Proper Order took third place, Marcin Kotwiki of Joe’s Coffee (Arnotts) took second, and first place was won by Gary Hollywood, of Bewley’s.
All proceeds from the event were donated to the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital, for their care and support of much-beloved member of the Irish coffee community, Rashel Winn.
Austin Quinlan, Third Place, Proper Order Coffee Company
15 grams of coffee from The Barn
200 grams of Spa French Spring Water, PH 6.5
30 grams bloom with a quick stir
Add the rest of the water, another quick stir
Put the cap on, pull down until the cap touches the water to remove the air
Flip it over at 50 seconds
Plunge at 1:00 until 1:30
Total brew time of 1:30
Marcin Kotwiki, Second Place, Joe’s Coffee
Mahlkönig Tanzania Grinder, setting 4.75
17 grams of coffee after sieve
Filtered water from Joe’s Coffee
88 degrees Celsius boiled in Bonavita kettle
Bloom with 50 grams of water for 30 seconds
Top-up to 220 grams
Pour-over IMS ultrafine 35 microns filter
Gently press up to 1:50
Swirl in Hario server for 30 seconds to cool before serving
Total brew time of 1:50
Gary Hollywood, First Place, Bewley’s
Mahlkönig Tanzania Grinder, setting 3.75
21 grams of coffee in the AeroPress
Volvic water heated to 88 degrees Celsius
Add 60 grams of water to bloom for 30 seconds while stirring
Add more water until 220 grams by 50 seconds
Place filter cap with 2 paper filters
Invert and plunge for around 1 minute
Total brew time of 1:50
Sarah Maria Griffin (@griffski) is a writer based in Dublin. She is the author of the acclaimed memoir Not Lost and has contributed to The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, and The Tusk. Read more Sarah Maria Griffin on Sprudge.