My name’s Filip Kucharczyk and I’m soon to become the previous World Aeropress Champion. And as I give up my place as the reigning Champ, I’ve decided to leave you all with some tips – whether you’re competing in Seoul next week, regionals and nationals, or even just a local competition. Take them or leave them: these are the things that helped me win.
Spanish Version: Guía de un Campeón: Como Ganar un Campeonato Mundial de Aeropress.
The 2016 Polish AeroPress trophies. Credit: Bartek Buzak
The Right Recipe
I see the AeroPress Championship as a place to experiment. Unlike some competitions, you’re not getting points and the judging is very spontaneous.
But don’t count on luck alone, because the judges tasting your coffee are well-calibrated coffee experts.
When creating the recipe, you need to be adventurous. Your coffee has to stand out on the table – it needs to be more than just delicious and perfectly extraction. There’s no other way to look at it because you have to assume that only extremely tasty and well-brewed coffees are in this competition.
Take my recipe: it was creative. I took loads of coarsely ground coffee, only a little water, stirred for some time, and then plunged to create a concentrate that I then diluted. It was simple but also original.
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What gave me the edge in both the Polish and World AeroPress Championship was the uniqueness of the method and brew. It stood out, and for all the right reasons.
So make the judges pick your coffee. Don’t let them hesitate.
Preparing to brew. Credit: Filip Kucharczyk
Keep It Simple
My recipe could not have been simpler – and this helped me to win.
You have about eight minutes on stage per round, during which time you need to make the best possible brew. Don’t decide on a recipe so precise and complex that you struggle to remember how many stirs are needed at any given time. Instead, come up with a method that you could repeat two or even three times in your slot.
And the same holds true for equipment. My recipe works perfectly well without scales, a thermometer, or a timer.
Are you sure you need to carry an assistant, your own water, an EK 43, five different scales, and two sets of refractometers all the way from Portugal or Guatemala? You probably don’t even need to bring your own AeroPress – it’s all there already, brought for you by the sponsors and organisers. You’d be better off keeping your luggage free for all the trophies you’re planning to bring back to your homeland.
Filip judges in the 2017 Polish Aeropress Championship. Credit: Janek Szurek
Time to Serve
Use your practice time wisely: I recommend spending it making friends. You’ve no doubt rehearsed your brew method enough times already.
But when it’s time to serve, pay attention to the small details. Make sure you don’t serve your coffee too hot and that all your tools, cups, servers are free from other odours. I was honoured to judge some of the national championships this year and I’m sure some cups lost for these two reasons alone.
Oh, and for your own karma – clean up after you’re done.
Selecting the best coffee at the 2017 Polish Aeropress Championship. Credit: Bartek Buzuk
So there you have it: everything that helped me win World AeroPress Championship.
But before you go, let me share one last piece of advice. In this competition, there is so much to win and nothing to lose. And so ask yourself, what will give you that edge you need?
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