After more than 140 qualifying events in 60 countries, the world’s most accomplished Aeropress operatives are descending on Sydney for an afternoon of rapid-fire competition, food and party tunes.
The World AeroPress Championship (WAC) is a light-hearted celebration of the cult Californian plunger-style device, which was developed to make cafe-quality coffee available to home brewers for a fraction of the cost of an espresso machine. This year, the world championship makes its Sydney debut; it’s happening at Commune in Waterloo and being run by Sydney coffee institution Single O.
“I love the Aeropress because it’s so versatile,” says WAC CEO Tim Williams, who is based in Melbourne and also runs the shared coffee roasting facility Bureaux Collective there. “There are 60 national champions coming, and they’re all using the same beans, but their brews will all taste different – and I’m not talking a little bit of difference that only coffee experts can discern. Some of these brews will be revolting to certain palates, and some will be the best brews you’ve ever tasted, but everyone will be working with the same two ingredients: the coffee beans and a bottle of water.”
The WAC is a multi-round elimination tournament that challenges finalists to brew a single cup of Aeropress coffee and present it to a judging panel for a blind taste test. Only the coffee judged tastiest in each round proceeds. It may sound like a serious process, but the vibe is decidedly laid-back; on the count of three, all judges theatrically point to their chosen brew, and the competitor with the most finger-points moves to the next round.
The beans are supplied by green-coffee importer Cafe Imports and roasted by Single O. In a break from tradition, this year’s national champions will only receive the coffee on the day of the competition. “Previously, we would send out the coffee to competitors around the world a fortnight in advance, and they’d have two weeks to practise with it, get to know it and work on their recipes,” Williams says. “But every year, 30 per cent of the coffee we’d send wouldn’t arrive … So this year, we tried to level the playing field.”
After the winner is crowned, the finalists will head to the Competitor Brew Bar to continue Aeropressing, giving attendees the chance to sample diverse brews by some of the pluckiest plungers in the world.
To give this year’s championships an Aussie spin, Single O has enlisted three local epicurean outfits to create one-off snags and fire up a massive sausage sizzle.
Newtown’s Rising Sun comes to the party with shoyu-glazed hotdogs with wasabi slaw, bulldog sauce and smoked bonito; Thai grocer and cafe Boon Cafe is debuting Nahm Jim Jaew-inspired grilled long eggplants with crisp rice & Boon Luck Farm salad; and Bondi’s Rocker is unveiling a pork sausage with smoked maple and spent coffee, made in collaboration with Chippendale’s LP’s Quality Meats. For dessert, Cow & The Moon will be serving gelato pavlovas.
Melbourne’s Moon Dog “Beer Can” tinnies are included in the $25 ticket price and Foreign Dub’s DJ Blackhawk is bringing the beats. Expect some crazy, caffeinated moves on the dancefloor as evening rolls around.
The 2018 World AeroPress Championship is on November 17, 3pm to 9.30pm at Commune in Waterloo. Tickets are available here.