Earlier this week, baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike came together, sharing large pizzas and cans of DC Brau, to watch the Aeropress DC Championship go down. 16 baristas representing the DMV (and one down from Brooklyn, NY) descended upon Dolcezza Gelato Factory next to Union Market to compete head-to- head with one another in the competition that was sponsored by Dolcezza and Stumptown Coffee, and organized by Coffee District.
First things first…what is an Aeropress? An Aeropress is a fairly new method of brewing coffee, invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, the same guy who created the Aerobie Frisbee. It has become increasingly popular among baristas for its ease of use, portability, and potential for creativity. It even has its own app with step-by- step recipes. When brewing coffee using an Aeropress, the grounds are completely immersed in hot water, similar to a French press, then forced through a filter, resulting in a fast brew time and intense flavor that promises to be less bitter and acidic. There is the traditional method of brewing with an Aeropress and the inverted method, but I’ll save that for another blog post another day.
Competitors at the event used the same bag of Stumptown Coffee beans, roasted just a few days prior, and were given five minutes to prepare their coffee for the three judges. The judges had their backs to the competitors when it came time to be served, therefore remaining unbiased. After slurping each coffee with their spoons, the judges would count to three, then simultaneously point to their cup of preference, advancing one barista to the next round. As the sun began to set, the competition heated up. 16 baristas were knocked down to 8, then 4, and finally the final two. After several hours of battling, the person who took home the golden Aeropress (seriously, that was one of the prizes) was Marco from Arlington coffee shop Caffe Aficionado. The crowd cheered, and Marco’s friends surrounded him with high fives, hugs and praise.
The Aeropress competition offered an opportunity to mingle, make new friends, and learn more about this still young method of brewing coffee. While there was definitely a competitive spirit in the air, I was delightfully surprised by the sense of camaraderie amongst the crowd, everyone coming together over this shared passion for coffee. On another note, I am currently awaiting the shipment for my very own Aeropress…
Please chime in below – do you have a great Aeropress experience or recipe to share?