In June of 2016, the young Polish barista Filip Kucharczyk added his name to the growing list of world champions for one of coffee's most prestigious and irreverent events: the World AeroPress Championship. Sprudge is proudly partnered with the WAC (get your very own copy of the WAC Annual now, shipping worldwide!) and we covered Kucharczyk's big event live from Dublin earlier this year.
Here's his unforgettable winning recipe:
Dry coffee: 35 grams
Paper filter: rinsed
Water temperature: 81 C
Start the timer
Pour 150 grams of water for 15 seconds
Stir until 30 seconds on the timer
Put the lid on, wait until 1 minute on the timer
Invert AeroPress, give it a swirl, plunge
Add 100 to 120 grams of water to taste
Wear a backpack while brewing for that little extra ✨something✨
Following his big win, our fellow WAC pack members at Amor Perfecto offered the champ a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Colombia to experience the coffee journey first-hand. He snapped photos, visited farms, brewed plenty of AeroPresses for his many fans, and sat down with Sprudge digitally after it was all over to tell his story.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Hello Filip Kucharczyk! For our readers who are unfamiliar, what is your background in coffee?
It started 4 years ago. I spontaneously opened a coffee shop without much knowledge about brewing coffee or coffee whatsoever. I have learned on the way and it was quite fast learning curve. I'm still there making coffee pretty much everyday.
What’s the secret to brewing a good AeroPress?
I think it's like with any other method. You need a good recipe–probably the one that won 2016 WAC—as well as clean equipment, good water, and a decent grinder. And most importantly good, properly roasted, fresh coffee.
You just came back from Colombia—what was your favorite part of this experience?
Well, everything was amazing. This was my first time at the origin so I was impressed by all I have seen. Traveling through the mountains of Tolima, visiting farms with amazing company was something that I'll never forget. Seeing Bogota, its vibrant coffee scene, hanging out with baristas was something to remember too. It was just awesome.
Did you brew AeroPress while there?
Yes, I did few times on the farms, but my job there was to brew coffee for a bunch of people at once. Aeropress is not best for batch brewing. But in Bogota, in one of Amor Perfecto's shops we did a little Aeropress competition–guess who won? I have also explained my method to the bigger audience at the FNC (The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation).
Did you meet the Aeropress champion of Colombia?
Actually yes. I visited Juan Sebastian Hernandez at the Cafe Cultur, the coffee shop he works at and brewed an Aeropess there. It was fun.
What was something about your visit to Colombia that blew your mind?
It's very difficult to pick one thing up. But I guess it was seeing the coffee process from the very beginning. I obviously knew this before, but eye witnessing it was just different story. And how very little people know about how much extremely hard work goes into the coffee we drink.
We hear the national event in Poland is truly something special. Why do you think Poland has so embraced the World Aeropress Championship?
It's been always popular but this year was crazy. There was 108 of us competing. I think it's so popular because it's very easy to approach. No need to be part of any organization, no complicated rules, very easy formula, etc. There is always loads of home baristas taking part too. And it's more for fun I guess, like a community based event–people would get together and just brew coffee and have good time. We like it here.
If you could brew an Aeropress for any person on earth, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m not an idol type. I’d be rather happy to make it to anyone who wants one.
If you could attend any other national Aeropress championship in the world, where would it be?
Too difficult to answer. There are so many places that I have never been but would love to visit, and the Aeropress competition would be the perfect reason. Iceland, Kenya, Japan…so many options.
What is your message for next year's World Aeropress Championship competitors?
I don't have any magic advice. This is very unique competition that I think will be more and more popular, making it even more difficult to win. I believe you need to come up with the recipe that will make your coffee stand out. Just relax and brew the Aeropress. And don't forget to travel light :)
Thank you Filip.
Original photos courtesy of Filip Kucharczyk, except where otherwise noted.
Portrait of the champ by Zachary Carlsen for Sprudge Media Network.