Our barista Daniel recently competed in the 2018 AeroPress Regional (NSW) competition. We chatted to him about his experience and what it was like in the lead up.
1) What does the competition involve?
The competition overall involves brewing no less than 150ml of coffee using a genuine AeroPress and specifically coffee, water and scales, etc. with an eight minute time limit.
2) How did you prepare for the competition amongst all your work and family commitments?
I had a lot support from my partner, as you can imagine, plus I trained every single second I had free time at night and at work. I studied by listening to podcasts about coffee when walking and commuting on the train. if I didn’t have the time to be train alone, I performed over and over again whilst watching the kids, which they loved… sort of.
My collegues were really supportive. The company director, Jess Hol, is such an amazing coffee professional. Her constructive criticism was extremely valuable for helping me improve. Then there is Angus Nicol (company director) who gave me the idea to compete and pursue exploring coffee.
It’s pretty cool that they are giving me the opportunity to share this experience, because if you didn’t notice, I didn’t win (which sucks.. but is okay)! Regardless of that, they are posting about it. How cool is that!!
3) Can you give a simple overview of your recipe? Why did you choose to go with that over something else?
First, I tried to keep it simple, but ….
15 grams in: 220ml out
Ratio – 1:14.66666 …
Bloom – 30 sec 60ml
Stir gently 2 speeds
Pour 160ml more in the chamber with in 01:05
Stir in circular motion 3 times 01:15
Plunge in – 20 sec
Total brew time – 01:35
I also did some exploration changing the shape of the grounds before pouring the water for the bloom. The objective of this was to give the opportunity to coffee grounds to get wet evenly during the first seconds of the brewing process. I noticed that created more body and better acidity in the cup. However, too many variables made it hard to replicate the brew and be consistent but I kind of trained myself to be a machine (shaking machine maybe cos I was bloody nervous that day). At the end it turned out okay and I made it to the semi finals.
Lesson learned: next time keep it simple.
4) What was the overall experience of competing in a barista competition like for you?
Its was awesome!! I loved the pressure and the feeling of being put on the spot. The best outcome was the knowledge I gained from all the training. All the exploration I have done has given me more of an understanding of the complex world of coffee.
5) Now you’ve had your first competition, what’s next?
I would love to compete again, but I’m in no rush. I am pretty new to this industry and will probably fail tons of times before I develop a healthy and happy coffee career. For that, I need to have solid fundamentals before I become a coffee professional.
Interested in AeroPress? Check out our guide!