The AeroPress coffee maker is unique in the world of home brewed coffee. It is clearly a different piece of equipment to espresso machines that need to be plugged into the wall to operate, or stove top coffee makers that sit on an open gas flame or electric hot plate to heat the water, or even the ubiquitous glass hand coffee plungers that must grace every cup cupboard in the country.
Buying your first AeroPress is exciting. You want to tell your friends, show them how it works, and make them a fine AeroPress espresso. The same can’t be said for other coffee making equipment. A new coffee plunger? A new espresso machine? Yawwwwn.
Perhaps it’s because you can control every aspect of the coffee making process – the grind size, the water temperature, the amount of grounds used per shot, the type of filter, the contact/brewing time, how much you agitate the grounds. Inverted immersion brewing? Not a problem.
It follows that AeroPress owners are generally pretty passionate about their coffee making tool. Every brew is an event that engages the maker with the equipment and the fresh produce. It’s a beautiful thing.
So, if you’re passionate about your AeroPress, and coffee in general, the World AeroPress Championships (WAC’s) will probably interest you, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are lead up events to the world final in all Australian capital cities so it’s very accessible and, secondly, this global competition is run by a couple of Aussies who are really making waves in the industry. Oh, and there are some great prizes if you fancy your chances as an entrant.
Ultimately the WAC’s are a great place to mingle with other professional and amateur coffee enthusiasts. Learn how other people operate their AeroPress, the technical specs of their brews, what they are trying to achieve, how they think about coffee in general, other equipment they might be using and so on. Soak it up basically.
The first World AeroPress Championship (WAC) was held in a coffee bar in Oslo in 2008. It attracted a grand total of three competitors and they shared cake and wine after the home coffee enthusiast, Anders Valde, claimed the winners prize. It was an inauspicious start to a coffee brewing competition that now runs events in over fifty countries and has close to 2,000 entrants.
Australian coffee tragic Tim Varney was one of the three contestants, having gone to work with the then world barista champion Tim Wendelboe at Wendelboes’ Oslo coffee house where the event was held. Varney and mate Tim Williams (who have recently opened a community roasting business, the Bureau Collective, in Melbourne) now own and run the World AeroPress Championship, with the enthusiastic blessing of Aerobie Inc.
One of the reasons we love the WAC’s is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. ‘Fast, fun and light-hearted’ remain the key ingredients of the championship format.
As an example, to pick the winning coffee of each round the three judges must simultaneously point to their preferred brew. It’s like rock paper scissors except it’s not the best of three. Bang, you either progress or you’re out of the competition. What an exciting and fun way to pick which contestant progresses. Not to mention transparent. The crowd loves it, the contestants love it, the DJ keeps pumping out the music. Gold.
Did I mention the free beer (not at all events apparently)? Or the poster competition? Or the street food vendors?
World AeroPress Championship Prizes
If you are thinking of entering next years competition have a look at the prizes taken away this year:
A signed, limited edition, very collectible gold AeroPress known as the Golden Pistol (complete with cup)
A limited edition Aerobie Pro Flying Ring, signed by Alan Alder himself
A limited edition La Marzocco skateboard that is handmade no less
The Baratza Sette 270W award winning grinder
An all expenses paid trip to Colombia from Amor Perfecto (a ‘Bogota coffee joint’ is how they describe themselves)
Cover shoot for TIME magazine (apparently this was pending Annie Leibovitz’s availability so we’re not sure if the shoot took place)
2nd & 3rd Place
Silver and Bronze Pistons (signed, limited edition AeroPresses)
A limited edition Aerobie Pro Flying Ring
The Baratza Sette 270 grinder
The 2017 calendar isn’t out yet, but watch out for events early in 2017 as the world championships are generally held around mid year.
The World AeroPress Championships are owned by World AeroPress Championship Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 608 506 207) and registered in Melbourne.