The 2016 United States AeroPress regional circuit wrapped in Portland, Oregon at the Pacific Northwest Regional Aeropress Championship. The brewin' took place at the Heart Coffee Roasters roastworks situated deep in the city's coffee-forward Southeast Industrial district. And what a circuit party it was! From the far right to the bottom left and even in the creamy middle, this year's AeroPress US cycle circle touched down in some of the nation's gooiest coffee centers, and will make its way to perhaps the ooiest-gooiest of them all: the grand national event, happening Saturday, April 16th in Atlanta, Georgia.
At certain points in the wild and eventful evening, it seemed just about the whole Pacific Northwest coffee scene came out to press an Aero or support those who did. We personally counted at least 420 people total during the night's peak, when kegs of Upright Brewing guzzled saisons sweet and raffle tickets tickled those who dreamt of prizes good and pure, donated from the likes of Twitter star @ColdBrew420, Tanglewood Beverage Company, Fresh Cup Magazine, Aerobie, and Sprudge. There was even a pillow case with a half-naked Nicholas Cage up for grabs in a raffle whose proceeds went to benefit the recently exploded Neptune Coffee in Seattle, Washington.
Top drawer judges judged, including Ro Tam (Either/Or), Nick Purvis (Good Coffee), Drew Fitchette (Stumptown Coffee), and Brandon Thiessen (OLAM Specialty). Even Heart Roaster's own Wille Yli-Luoma subbed for a hot minute while Purvis bought more beer. All the while, Bethany Hargrove (Barista) held court as the program's MC while DJ Ben busted out some sick jams.
Out of twenty-five solid AeroPress competitors, only one could win and advance to the national game in Atlanta. After heated battles involving AeroPresses (many atop Acaia scales with water from BonaVita kettles), Dylan McClain of Case Study Coffee was crowned king. Brandon Paul Weaver (Slate Coffee Roasters) placed second and Chris Casassa (Heart Coffee) placed third. The top three took home a bounty of prizes from aforementioned sponsors, as well as custom autographed AeroPress trophies.
“This was a sweet event,” McClain told us after the win, “the whole thing was a real blast.” When asked what he'd do to celebrate his win he told us, “I've got to go home and go to sleep, I've got to open tomorrow.”
Here are the top three recipes:
First Place: Dylan McClain, Case Study Coffee, Portland, OR
Grind: Very coarse
“I found the recipe on the back of a cereal box!” – Dylan McClain
Begin with 120ml of water at 185 degrees Fahrenheit
Stir 10 seconds
At the 0:50 mark, flip the AeroPress
Press down for 20-30 seconds
Add 120 grams water after to cut
Second Place: Brandon Paul Weaver, Slate Coffee Roasters, Seattle, WA
Grind: 19 on the Virtuoso, or like “sandbox sand and childhood nostalgia”
Filter: Kaffeologie metal mesh filter
Add 100ml of water at 85 degrees Celsius
At the 0:20 mark, stir aggressively
At the 0:40 mark, add 100ml more water slowly
Wait one minute
Stir a little bit to get all the floaters
Cap and flip at 2:00
Press slowly until 2:40
Add 40ml 85C water to a serving cup, add brew, stir, and serve
Third Place: Chris Casassa, Heart Coffee, Portland, OR
Grind: 3.5 on a Fuji Royale R-220
Add 50ml of water, bloom for forty-five seconds
Add 100ml more water and agitate
At 2:00, agitate again
At 3:00, agitate again
At 3:15, flip the AeroPress
Press slowly at 3:45