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.
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.
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.
The whole thing is perhaps best summed up by this Instagram photo, courtesy of the Fuglen Coffee Roasters instagram account:
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.
#1 Tetsu Kasuya of COFFEE FACTORY (Champion)
Wet the filter with warm water
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
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
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
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