March 20th marked the second ever Japan Brewers Cup, a championship gathering competitors from all across the country, each battling for a chance to represent Japan at the World Brewers Cup later this year in Gothenburg, Sweden. And your Japanese champion is Amameria Espresso‘s Yuta Ueda, a bashful, reserved young man whose quiet smile belied a clear love for the craft of coffee throughout his presentation.
We got in touch with Yuta Ueda after his win to get some insight into the coffee he brewed, his extraction methods, and how he approached the competition.
Yuta Ueda, congratulations! Can you tell us what kind of coffee you were aiming for in the competition?
I wanted to brew a cup of coffee that would surprise and delight anyone—from the people who love coffee to the people [who] don’t drink it often. I hoped that by sharing the wonder of specialty coffee, it would be the sort of cup that could start more people drinking it.
What beans did you brew with?
I went with a washed process Kenya Gathaithi. Though it has a flavor very representative of Kenya, it also surprised me—it had a different taste [than] my image of Kenyan coffee at the time.
Tell us about why you went with the AeroPress, and the effect of the metal filter you used.
In terms of extraction methods, the AeroPress offers a very high level of freedom, and there’s also a very wide variety of flavors you can bring out with it.
As for the metal filter, though you’re also extracting oil from the beans, this gives the cup a rounded acidity, and enhances the sweetness.
So what was your recipe?
The beans were medium roast, and the grind was very fine, very close to espresso. I used a Hario beaker and Libbey Gibraltar glasses for extracting the coffee, but I served the coffee in our own original Amameria espresso cups.
As for the extraction method, I used 16 grams of beans in an inverted AeroPress, and added 90 grams of water at 60 degrees Celsius. After stirring 10 times, I set the metal filter [in place], put the AeroPress on the beaker, and waited for the grinds to sink. Then it was a slow press for three minutes. Finally, I added an extra 70 grams of water at 98 degrees Celsius.
You were third in last year’s competition. How did you approach this year?
Last year, I felt like I hadn’t really pursued the taste as far as I could. This year I wanted to make sure I’d done everything I could, right up until the last minute.
Is that why you were fiddling with the recipe until late the night before the competition? What was on your mind?
I just kept searching and trying to find the right balance to really bring out the appeal in this coffee.
How are you thinking you’ll approach the World Brewers Cup?
Much like with the Japan Brewers Cup, I want to be as thorough as I can in exploring the flavor of the coffee.