Sprudge-Hengtee-JAC - top 3 line up

Valentine’s Day 2015 was, at least in Osaka, a day for coffee lovers to pledge their love to the AeroPress, as it marked the crowning of Japan’s 2015 AeroPress Champion. Competitors gathered from all around Japan (and even a few from abroad) to brew coffee, show off innovative approaches, and battle for a chance at tickets to the World AeroPress Championships in Seattle.

The battleground was set on the second floor of Takamura Wine And Coffee Roasters, and organized by Manly Coffee, Ryota Nakagawa, and Fuglen, with Sawako Yamashita of Wataru Coffee on MC duties. Competitors fought to bring out the best in a microlot Colombian coffee—Cecilia Cangrejo—courtesy of Wataru Coffee, and roasted by Fuglen Roasters. The judging team was made up of 2014 World Champion Shuichi Sasaki of Paul Bassett Coffee, 2006 Siphonist Champion Mieko Koike of Coffeehouse Tom Tom, and Takamura’s Sommelier, Naohiro Kuriyama, with Fuglen’s Kenji Kojima on hand as head judge in the event of a tie-break.

Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

On stage, simplicity was the order of the day—a clear, wide-open space focused on a long white counter, around which a crowd of friends, media, and curious onlookers huddled to watch and cheer. First-round nerves were clearly the opponent to beat, but this was also where the most variety was on display—from nel-style filters and percussive grind sifting to a Kaffikaze steam boy and campsite gas cookers—the competition was a blend of creativity, fun, and a fiery spirit of competition.

Sprudge-Hengtee-JAC - judging table

Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

Winning cups were decided via the highly traditional and calibrated “point-to-the-best” system, but in a shocking twist, the Japanese Champion was announced via… hug? That’s right, this spur of the moment decision resulted in hilarious mixed emotions from the top three competitors, all aching for and yet somehow apprehensive of the championship hug.

Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

The whole thing is perhaps best summed up by this Instagram photo, courtesy of the Fuglen Coffee Roasters instagram account:

The Japanese champion is Tetsu Kasuya – chosen with a hug from @kenji_kj Congratulations! #JAC2015 #fuglencoffeeroasters

A photo posted by Fuglen Coffee Roasters (@fuglencoffee) on

Which makes Japan’s 2015 champion Tetsu Kasuya, of COFFEE FACTORY, who will go on to represent Japan in the World Championships. His recipe, along with the valiant second and third place efforts, is listed below for your brewing pleasure.

Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

#1 Tetsu Kasuya of COFFEE FACTORY (Champion)

Coarse grind (setting 2 on the Bodum grinder)

Wet the filter with warm water

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Start the AeroPress inverted

Grind 20g coffee, set in your AeroPress

Heat water to 80 degrees C

Pour in 80 grams of water in 15 seconds

Stir and agitate for 15 seconds

Set the AeroPress cap and flip it right-way up (do this within 5 seconds)

Wait 30 seconds

Press for 20 seconds

Add 80 grams of water to the finished result of 60 grams coffee

Drink your 140 gram cup of goodness

Sprudge-Hengtee-JAC - 2 Hida brew 01

Hida Kouhei (2nd place)

Set the AeroPress on your Kalita server

Grind 15 grams of coffee

Heat water to 90 degrees C

Add 25 grams of water and let bloom for 15 seconds

Pour in a total of 210 grams of water

Press for 30 seconds

When you’ve extracted around 160 grams of coffee, take the AeroPress off the server

Pour coffee


Japanese Aeropress Championships Sprudge

Akira Kondo of Kariomon Coffee Roasters (3rd place)

15 grams of coffee (Fuji Royal Coffee Mill setting 3)

Heat water to 81 degrees C

Grind 15 grams of coffee

Separate your grinds into 2 grams of fines and 13 grams of the rest

Warm your AeroPress and server

Add 13 grams of coffee to the inverted AeroPress

Add 50 grams of water within 8 seconds and leave for 20 seconds

Add another 50 grams of water within 30 seconds, and add the 2 grams of fines

Add the remaining 100 grams quickly, and wait until one minute

Set over server and press slowly for 50 seconds


Sprudge-Hengtee-JAC - winners and judges

For anyone interested in seeing any of the recipes more closely, or watch the final three face-off, or even experience the hug of champions, the event was captured on Ustream here!

Hengtee Lim is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Tokyo. Read more Hengtee Lim on Sprudge.

Sprudge.com is proudly partnered with Aerobie, makers of the AeroPress. 

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