Any competition where just about everyone has a beer in hand should be an enjoyable one to watch. This year, 41 competitors from across the United Kingdom entered the fourth annual UK AeroPress Championships, co-hosted by Square Mile Coffee Roasters and Workshop Coffee Co. and held at Workshop's new Holborn space in London. The event proved to be an exciting, thoroughly merry affair, with Gabrielle Von Koss of Square Mile emerging victorious out of a heavily competitive field, securing her spot to the rapidly approaching World AeroPress Championships in Rimini.
It's not every day you see so many layers of the London coffee scene get together. From the originals faces of the (now historical) Ultimate Barista Fighter League to the young guns of the ever-growing Taylor St family, the competition/party felt something like the good old days, a throwback to those years of yore (let's say 2009) when London's coffee community still felt small. Of course, the popularity and size of the London coffee scene have exploded since then, as has the popularity of the AeroPress brew method, increasingly the go-to darling for by-the-cup brewing in the city's cafes.
The judges for this fine competitive pressing of Aeros were an esteemed and bona fide bunch: James Bailey (Head of Quality Workshop Coffee Co, UK Brewers Cup Champion 2012), Klaus Thomsen (co-founder at Denmark's Coffee Collective, World Barista Champion 2006), and James Hoffmann (co-founder Square Mile Coffee Roasters, World Barista Champion 2007). They judged competitors' extractions of the special UK AeroPress competition blend, a collaboration featuring 50% Kenya Gathaithi PB roasted by Workshop and 50% Ethiopia Reko roasted by Square Mile.
While the competitors and spectators enjoyed Kernel Brewery Table Beer, the judges slurped their way through round after round. Ross Brown of Browns of Brockley handled emcee duties, while tunes were provided by DJ Wet Process (AKA Bill from Taste of Bitter Love, RIP). With the number of competitors from the ad hoc Work Mile Square Shop Coffee Roasting Confab numbering more than a quarter of the pack, the finals became their affair.
Let's meet the finalists, and learn their steps to glory!
3rd Place: Peter Garcia – Square Mile
250g of water 90 degree C.
Add 30 grams of water while turning AeroPress bloom 40 secs.
Add 220g over 30secs.
Plunge for 30 secs.
Leaving 30g in AeroPress.
2nd Place: Oliver Bignall – Workshop Coffee Co.
5.7 grind on Mahlkonig EK43 grinder.
235g water pour over coffee.
NSEW stir (North, South, East, West).
Leave till the coffee settles right down.
Stir again and then press.
1st Place: Gabrielle Von Koss – Square Mile Coffee Roasters
7.2 grind on EK43.
30g of water for 30 second bloom.
230 ml pour for 30 second brew.
then 30 second press.
Congratulations Gabrielle Von Koss! We'll see you in Rimini, Italy in a week for the World AeroPress Championships!