The event was so much fun that Varney and Wendelboe decided to hold a second Championship at Wendelboe’s roastery the following year. A larger number of competitors showed up to compete in 2009 and Lukasz Jura of Poland took first place.
That second competition saw the beginning of a now-celebrated WAC tradition: special AeroPress trophies made exclusively for the champions. Some weeks prior to the WAC, Varney had written to Aerobie, Inc. to inform the company about the competition and to suggest that the company make a special trophy for the winner. The company was delighted to learn about the competition and jumped at the opportunity to reward the winner with a special AeroPress trophy signed by Alan Adler, inventor of the AeroPress coffee maker.
When planning began for the third WAC in 2010, it was clear that the competition had moved beyond a small gathering of mostly Norwegian coffee enthusiasts to become an event with far wider appeal. AeroPress fans in countries around the world were organizing grassroots national competitions in hopes of sending their national champions to compete in the World Championship. Tim Varney began encouraging and providing guidance to these budding national competitions. The WAC needed a larger venue so the 2010 WAC began the tradition of holding the annual competition at the same time as and near a major specialty coffee trade event. In the case of the 2010 WAC, it was held at the Brew Bar of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s (SCAE) World of Coffee event in London. The WAC had become more serious and much larger but a fun atmosphere still prevailed.
A growing number of coffee luminaries had begun judging the competitions and the number of countries involved was steadily increasing by 2011, when Milan hosted the fourth annual WAC near the HOST International Hospitality Exhibition. That trend continued with the 2012 Championship which saw competitors battling on the exhibition hall floor of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual Event in Portland, Oregon. By that point the ranks of competitors had swelled to include national champions from 14 different countries.
Tim Williams of Workshop Coffee in London joined forces with Tim Varney, who had moved from Norway back to his native Melbourne, to organize the 2013 WAC during the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. (Although Tim Wendelboe stepped back from an active planning role in 2010, he still occasionally offers his time and expertise as a judge.) The competition in Melbourne was held at the Australian Barista Academy where the intensity of the competition was matched by the fun had by all.
The 2014 WAC offered a change of pace with the competition and following party held on the beach in Rimini, Italy around the time of the World Barista Championship (WBC) and the SCAE’s World of Coffee event. The number of competitors nearly doubled with 27 nations sending their champions.
At the 2015 WAC held in Seattle around the time of the WBC and the SCAA Event, national champions from 35 countries converged on the beautiful WithinSodo hall, avidly competing to impress a rotating cast of ten expert judges (Eden-Marie Abramowicz, James Bailey, Katie Carguilo, Amanda Juris, Anne Lunell, Erin Meister, Stephen Morrissey, Noah Namowicz, Mike Phillips, and WAC co-founder Tim Wendelboe) while hundreds of spectators cheered them on. Ben Kaminsky, David Latourell, and Tim Varney radiated energy and panache in their roles as event MCs. Kaminsky assisted even further by casting the tiebreaking vote for the judges when needed.
The 2016 WAC was held in Dublin, Ireland where competitors from 50 countries vied for the celebrated golden AeroPress trophy. Poland took home its second-ever first place win when Filip Kucharczyk of Cafe Targowa won the championship.
What began as an informal contest devised by two friends and business associates has grown into a celebrated competition. While Aerobie supplies prizes for the national and world championship winners, what really makes the competitions special is that they are still planned and run by fans. Possibly because of this they have become known for their party atmosphere in addition to their dedication to both pushing the boundaries of the AeroPress brewing craft and celebrating specialty coffees. AeroPress competitions have always combined serious competition with outrageous fun and are sure to do so for years to come.
*First time ever!
photo credit: Horst Friedrichs
Dry coffee: 35 grams
Paper filter: rinsed
Water temperature: 81 C
Start the timer
Pour 150 grams of water for 15 seconds
Stir until 30 seconds on the timer
Put the lid on, wait until 1 minute on the timer
Invert AeroPress, give it a swirl, plunge
Add 100 to 120 grams of water to taste
Photo credit: Jonathan Vanderweit
Inverted Brew Method
20 grams of coffee ground at the 7.3 setting on a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder
Heat water to 79°C (174°F)
Add 60 grams of water
Turbulent wiggle 15 seconds
30 second bloom
Add the rest of the water in 10 seconds
45 second press
1:37 minute total brew time
Standard Brew Method
17.5 grams of coffee ground on 17 on a Baratza Virtuoso grinder
Heat water to 85°C (185°F)
Add 50-60 grams of water
Stir five times
Let bloom for 25 seconds
Add the rest of the water (280 grams) in 20 seconds
1 minute plunge in a cold cup
22.5 grams of coffee ground at the 4 setting on a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder
Heat water to 79°C (174°F)
Add 56 grams of water
Bloom 30 seconds
Add the rest of the water (to 280 grams) in 1 minute
Press for 30 seconds
Photo credit: Luca Rossetti
AeroPress in regular (non-inverted) position.
18.5 grams of coffee, Mahlkönig EK 43 grinder set to 6.2.
80g of water at 35°C for 3 minutes, stir well and close AeroPress.
135g of water at 92°C, stir once and push slowly for 30 seconds.
Pick out: unripes, too big, too small, ears.
Grind: setting 8 on Mahlkönig EK43 grinder.
Sieving: using Sowden SoftBrew filter, banging and shaking it to get rid of the superfines. You can also lose some of the chaff this way.
Water: Spa blue, soft 33 dry rest mineral water, ph 6.6.
17.5 grams ground coffee.
30 second soft bloom, at 82°C, wet all the grounds nice and even, shake lightly around if not around 40 grams water.
1 minute extremely slow pour, 230 grams water, at 76°C.
30 second soft plunge.
Extra Rimini beach version: plunge in a superchilled container, on ice if possible.
Leave enough slurry in the AeroPress, about 50g.
With this coffee I originally had my recipe at 86°C bloom/ 82°C pour. We calculated with the weather, humidity and bean temp before grinding that shaving 5°C would correct the extraction. In retrospect, even lower was better.
Photo credit: Abigail Varney
17g coffee – coarse grind
240ml water from Voss at 98°C
2min brew time
25 sec pressing time
12g coffee, quite coarse
Total 200g water, 90°C
Add 50g water, stir 5 times vigorously
Add 150g water
Place cap (pre-wet filter)
Squeeze out air while inverted
Press at 2min
Bodyweight press, as slowly as possible
Wet the filter thoroughly
Put it in the AeroPress filter cap
18.3 grams of coffee, grind coarsely
Use the normal (non-inverted) method
85°C, 250 grams water
About 40 grams of blooming water ( +/- 30 sec)
Then poor the rest of the water and press, not pressing all the way
Then serve. Simple!
17 grams of coffee (light roasted fresh crop washed Sidamo from Heart Roasters)
fine filter grind on a Mahlkönig Tanzania grinder
paper filter rinsed with hot water
water from Maridalsvannet (brought in glass bottles from my flat in Oslo, Norway)
inverted brewing method
preheat AeroPress for 10 sec
96°C pour temp (gives about 90°C actual brew temp)
260 grams of water
50 sec steep time
20 sec press time – slow enough to get a clean brew but also some fines (yuck) and oils (yum)
stop pressing before air comes out
wait for the fines to sink and temp to cool, then pour but hold back the last part with the fines (taste sample for yourself!)
The cup: a clean brew with floral notes and taste of sweet lemons.
Recipe Not Available
Photo credit: Abigail Varney
Put the paper filter in the filter holder, wet it with hot water, let it expand and refit it. Screw it very tightly into a clean preferably pre-heated AeroPress.
Measure out 17 grams of coffee (well, specifically this Kenya…) and grind coarsely, bit coarser than paper filter at the very last moment.
Put the AeroPress non-inverted on the recipient.
Measure 270 grams of soft mineral water or filtered water and bring it to 80°C.
Splash a bit of the water on the filter and directly after throw in the freshly ground coffee, as to allow the bottom to wet and expand a bit.
Directly after wet the coffee by dripping or pouring very slowly all the grounds, about 40 grams
After the coffee has absorbed the water, after about 30 seconds, start very slowly pouring the rest of the water, try to re-wet the coffee fully again, see that the grounds do not separate from the water, this can be done using a good kettle with small nozzle.
Let the AeroPress steep and drip for about 1/4th through or 1 minute.
Help about 2/4th of the rest of the water trough, with the provided piston, very gently.
Remove the press and the what’s left, about 50 grams of water from the recipient and throw away.
Finer than drip (4.5 on a Ditting grinder)
1 plunger of water (poured aggressively)
Steep for 30 sec.
Press at 40 sec.
Recipe Not Available
1. Boil the water (so it is 80°C when you pour it over the coffee)
2. Grind the coffee, slightly finer than filter grind (20 grams)
3. AeroPress inverted and soak the filter paper with hot water
4. Put in the coffee and pour the 80°C water over it, almost to the top.
5. Stir for 10-12 seconds
6. Heat the cup, and then slowly push the coffee in the cup – stop before you hear the air.
18 grams of coffee ground a little coarser than filter (3.25 in the Brew Bar)
230 grams of 75°C water provided in the Brew Bar!
Start the timer
Pour water nice and easy with a Hario twisting the AeroPress
Stir gently for 10 sec make sure to get all the way to the bottom
Clean the paper filter with water
After 1.15 min turn and press – gently for approx 30 sec.
Stop pressing when water surface is broken by the coffee grounds
Stir the coffee up and down with a spoon
Serve the 2 dl (200 ml) to the judges and enjoy the little leftovers yourself
Grind: One bit finer then filter. On Ditting : 4.
Water serving temperature: tough one. We trained at 80°C, but then competed in the finals at 82°C. Jeff thought the roast was very fresh and needed 85°C, but I thought that was dangerous. He went for something in the middle.
Volume of coffee: 20 grams. A classic cut for us; a lot for a 20cl (200ml) drink maybe.
Then the brewing:
Before the actual brew we decided to make a blind press to heat up the plastic of the press, the cup and rinse the paper filter.
We first take the filter and filter holder off and reverse the press. 20 grams is ground in a stainless steel cup (this is non static, except for the lightest of ground!!) and we use a funnel to keep things clean.
As pouring device we went for the Buono kettle. This allows you to pour slowly and, this way, control the blooming. We often see an uncontrolled blooming while pouring too much water too fast.
We pour the water very slow and keep on rotating the base to make sure all coffee grounds brews well. This takes about 30 seconds.
We screw on the filter and wait 60 seconds. By this time all coffee is well agitated and it’s time to invert the AeroPress for pressing.
We go now for a very slow press.
After almost (another) 60 seconds we stop just before or just on the moment of the hissing sound. The last bit of water is very oily and bitter.
Photo credit: Jonathan Vanderweit
Start with the AeroPress upside down (inverted).
Thoroughly pre-soak filter.
19.5 – 20g coffee, ground slightly coarser than filter grind
2 dl (200 ml) water
Water temperature: 75°C
Stir 4 times
Stop stirring, secure the filter and turn at around 10 seconds.(Total contact time around 15 sec.)
Press and serve.
Begin by boiling freshly filtered tap water.
Invert your AeroPress.
Apply a paper filter and run it under the tap until it’s rinsed.
Fill your inverted AeroPress with boiling water, apply the filter, flip and press the boiling water through the filter to ensure there is absolutely no paper taste and to heat up the system.
Once again, invert your AeroPress. The plunger should be about 1cm from the bottom.
Grind off your coffee, slightly finer than filter grind (Should be 14g by weight) and put it into your cup or glass. Keep this handy.
Bring your water to a rolling boil.
Put your inverted AeroPress on a scale and zero out.
When the kettle hits a rolling boil, shut it off, open the lid and start your timer.
Wait thirty seconds to allow the water to cool a bit.
Add 1 dL (100 ml) or ~95g by weight of your water to the AeroPress and quickly zero out the scale again.
Start your clock and add the 14g of coffee to the water and give the coffee a quick but efficient stir to completely saturate the coffee grounds in the water.
Add the remaining 1dL (100 ml) or ~95g by weight of water to the coffee slurry. The scale total should now read 109g.
Wait until the clock reads 50 seconds and then slowly and carefully flip the AeroPress back upright. (I would use two hands.)
Begin slowly plunging. This should take about 25 seconds. Plunge until you hear any hissing or air escaping through the coffee puck. Quickly pull the plunger back up and invert your AeroPress so it doesn’t leak everywhere.
Do a ‘blind’ press with boiling water to soak the paper filter.
Pour 20 grams of filter ground coffee into the main AeroPress chamber.
Pour boiling water to “1” mark on the plunger and wait for 5 seconds.
Pour water from the plunger into the main chamber. Circulate water and grounds with a jug underneath, ensuring grounds are wet.
Fill water from boiler up to “3” mark on the plunger.
30 seconds after pouring the first water in, pour in the contents of the plunger into the main chamber. Then press firmly until the brewed coffee is extracted into the jug, but stop just before the ‘pppffssstt’ sound.