So, one of the things I did last month was entering to compete in the Portuguese Aeropress Championship.
It happened almost by accident, I had zero plans to do it, so I entered more or less spontaneosly, with no craving for winning – but with the bunch of small goals in mind.
Those who know me personally can confirm – I am zero competitive. I mean, I don’t really care. So my reasons to enter in any competition should be different – this way it can be interesting for me.
My main goal this time was to learn more about aeropress. I was prejudiced before, and wasn’t really a fan of the device. Or, better to say that I hadn’t dedicate much time to it. Even though Aeropress was the first coffee device that I ever purchased, I always prefered drip coffees to it, or espresso. So I got it back in the 2012, and happily put it at the shelf, rarely taking it from there.
So you see why it was interesting for me – to finally have some time with it, and undrestand what it is capable of.
My main struggle with the aeropress has always been the fact that it is a pretty egoistic device. It is making just 1 cup of coffee
I mean, even with the different tools that you have now on the market, when you can share the aeropress in 2 cups during the pressing phase, it is still a small amount of coffee for 2 people.
Nevertheless, I wanted to learn about it.
How to make it better, faster, more consistent, more sweet, more balanced.
Sweetness and balance were my priority, like in any brewing method and in any coffee evaluation. So I consciously opted for it in the recipe, not priositizing acidity all the way, but balancing it with chewy body and sweetness.
But there was one more thing that I wanted to apply. Something very personal. Something that I apply in any coffee recipe.
The truth is – I hate wasting coffee. So my goal was to use the minimum amount of beans per cup possible. I ended up finding my to-go recipe where I am using just 11 grams to make 175 grams of coffee. Not bad.
Again, I hate wasting coffee. So if I can use the beans at the maximum, find the way to extract evenly, while using the minimum amount of the coffee – I am gonna do it. I do it in espresso, filter, cupping…
So I put this same restriction for myself in the aeropress as well.
I was pretty aware of the fact that the aeropress recipe tendency now is using more than 20 grams per cup, sometimes reaching 35 or 40. Although it is explainable, and can be justified by the fact that this way we are learning more about the extraction, experimenting, so we should be free – I chose to limit myself with the coffee beans per cup used.
For 2 reasons. First, coffee is kinda lots of work, from the plant to the cup, and it may sound cheesy and false for somebody, but I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, and I don’t want to waste it, to compensate the overextraction with underextraction and to achieve the balance like this. I was looking for another way.
The second reason is business related. I wanted to have a recipe that is repeatable and profitable for the café environment. Even in espresso switching from 18 grams to 21 makes a difference, and should be pretty well justified. So in any other method.
This way my limitation №2 was the amount of coffee used.
- Showcasing balance and sweetness
- Using the minimum amount of coffee possible, and maximizing the extraction.
So those were my ideas and my goals. I didn’t manage to pass the first round though, but the whole experience gave me a lot of knowledge, a lot of things to think about, and, in the end of the day, I definitely improved my aeropress technique, and as a bonus reunited with lots of awesome people 🙂
I think it does worth a shot trying, if you are thinking about it. The winner is always one, but the truth is – you are definitely becoming better than you were before it, and you have a chance to implement your views and ideas, which I consider priceless.