On the balmy autumn evening of March 28th in Sydney, the fine fellows of Mecca Coffee hosted and roasted festivities for the 2015 Australian AeroPress Championships. Amidst a sea of Mahlkönig EK 43 grinders, Mecca's newly refurbished roastery space (henceforth dubbed the “Brew-O-Drome”) housed the lucky 100 ticketed audience members as well as the 27 competitors and their support staff/cheer squads. Ben Richardson of Pablo and Rusty’s Coffee Roasters in Sydney was crowned champion, steeping and pressing his way through multiple rounds on his way to victory. He'll move on to represent Australia at the 2015 World AeroPress Championship in Seattle, happening April 9th.
A fine menu of fresh hot food was provided for the revelers, alongside beers from Gang of Four and juice and cocktail mixes from Botanica. Disco tunes were played all night long by DJ Good Brew, a.k.a. Simon Cancio of Brickfields Bakery. Sam Sgambellone provided additional entertainment throughout the night, at one stage extending himself beyond the usual MC duties by offering an impromptu karaoke session covering Blue Boy’s “Remember Me”. It was definitely memorable.
Judges were Paul Geshos (Mecca), Wendy De Jong (Single Origin Roasters) and Dylan Johnson (Paramount Coffee Project, 2014 Australian AeroPress Champion) alongside the World AeroPress Championship founder/presenter/ man-about-brew himself, Tim Varney, who served as Head Judge and director of competitor profile pictures.
A special mention must also go to Cameron Stephens, who in partnership with Mitchell Road Auction House kitted out the roastery with fabulous kitsch and décor, as well as arranging the must-have giant novelty check, Aero-trophies and Aerobie discs. The coffee selected for the competition was Ethiopia Duromina, a coffee from a cooperative in the Oromia region that’s named for “improving lives.”
Here are the recipes from the top three competitors, each of whom had to compete a minimum of three times throughout the night! Winning brews for sure, delicious and diverse.
First Place: Ben Richardson, Pablo & Rusty's
Reverse osmosis water at 74 degrees Celsius
20 grams of sorted coffee, placed in the AeroPress in standard position
50 grams water poured, creating a 30 second bloom
Add 110 grams water after 30 second bloom
Plunge slowly at the 55 second mark for 1:15 seconds
Finish by adding 65 grams of water at 80 degrees Celsius. Hold temperature by covering, then aerate at last minute before serving
Second Place: Joseph Liu, independent
18.6–18.7 grams of sieved and sorted coffee
250 grams soft mineral water at 76–79 degrees Celsius
Add 55 grams water, 40 second bloom
Press very slowly
2:45 total time
Wash cup and serve
Third Place: Mac Dixon, Auction Rooms
22.5 grams coffee, coarse grind
Slow pour 125 grams water over 15 seconds, with water at 97 degrees Celsius
Stir for 20 seconds
Steep for 30 seconds
Push slowly over 25 seconds
Dilute concentrate with 130 grams water at 97 degrees Celsius
Stir and serve
Emily Oak is a coffee professional based in Sydney, New South Wales. This is Emily Oak's first feature for Sprudge.