Today out in Hamilton is the Canadian Aeropress Championship! A number of my friends are out there competing to win and earn a trip to the World Championship in Australia later this year. I wish I could be out there competing, but it just wasn’t going to work to get out there this year.
So I figured today would be a good day to tell the story of the time I won first place in an Aeropress Championship. It still surprises people when they hear that I won a trophy for brewing coffee.
I went out to Invermere with some friends to stay at their cabin for a few days and only by chance found out that the same weekend was the Kootnenay AeroPress Championship at the Invermere Coffee Festival. So my friends and I headed out Saturday afternoon to go check it out. It is an excellent festival and gets some great roasters and gear providers out to it and offers some really fantastic workshops.
So I walked into the festival hall, and found myself talking to Brodie who at the time worked for Eight Ounce Coffee. He mentioned that there was still space available for competitors to sign up to compete and that I should do it. The problem was I didn’t bring any of my own gear. So Brodie lends me a bunch of his own personal gear that he had with him, and I entered the competition. To make a long story short, I find myself in the finals competing for first place against the Mayor of Invermere who runs his own roasterie called Stolen Church Coffee.
After the coffee was brewed and sampled, the decision from the judges came down and I WON! I FREAKING WON. Now sadly the competition didn’t have the cool aeropress trophies that are now standard. So I got a gold spray-painted mason jar with a woman running on top! Pretty legit eh? The only downside is since I beat the Mayor, I think I have been black-listed from even visiting Invermere again! LOL.
Winning that regional qualifier gained me free entry into the 2016 Canadian Aeropress Championship which were being held in Calgary. I also won a sweet Baratza Encore grinder courtesy of Eight Ounce (instead of the hotel accommodation) since I live in Calgary.
Getting the chance as a home-brewer to compete against some of Canada’s top baristas & coffee-brewers was intimidating to say the least. My preliminary round was against an incredible barista from Phil & Sebastian who I have the utmost respect for. The dude even had a laptop with him on the stage doing on-the-fly calculations for his brew recipe. And here I was with my simple Porlex hand-grinder, the water provided from the competition and my trusty Aeropress. Needless to say what happened next was not anticipated: I won the round!
The next grouping in the quarter-finals had me pitted against two guys who I am now proud to call good friends: Erich from MNML Coffee and Eldric from Aubade Coffee. Eldric went on to win that round against Erich & I (who were the final two home-brewers left in the competition)…and eventually took 3rd place! These two guys love coffee and the friendships that have been forged are one of the most amazing results from competing in this.
It was an experience I will never forget. My name is even written in the 2016 Aeropress Book (although they spelled my last name wrong!) I hope to have the chance to compete in an upcoming competition again, because even just being around fellow aeropress & coffee enthusiasts is enough to make the whole thing worth it. So good luck to all the folk out in Hamilton today competing. I wish I could be there. #BREWYOURBEST
If you want to watch the highlight video from the 2016 Canadian Aeropress Championships click HERE.
Wanna learn more about the amazing Aeropress itself, click HERE: