There has been a lot of talk about Barista Competitions in the industry lately. Some complaining that it is outdated, not relevant to a working environment and that there are no longer any real baristas competing in the modern competition. Then there are others who still believe that it has relevance in terms of setting standards for inexperienced baristas or selecting specialty coffee ambassadors. I am not going to view my opinion on this however, I must add that there is a time and a place for every competition and each deserves its own credit.
This brings me to the AeroPress Competition. The next South African competition is taking place on the 02 July 2017 at Espresso Lab Microroasters and I will be judging. After winning last year’s competition and having a whirlwind experience in Dublin I’m very eager to be sitting on the other side of the bar and being a part of choosing our next champion. Not to mention the fact that she or he will be joining me in Seoul later this year.
The AeroPress Competition gets me excited. In my opinion it’s as much about community as any of the other competitions, maybe even more than the rest. And this is important because it’s not often that we get together as coffee professionals on a social level. And, although it gets pretty social and festive, it does still remain coffee focused.
For those of you that don’t know the AeroPress rules stipulate that every competitor uses the same coffee. This levels the playing field and also requires each competitor to produce their own unique recipe to make the coffee stand out when placed in front of the judges. Competitors have a certain amount of time to do this and there is no form of speech or presentation required. Very simple. And short. With the exception of the winner this competition gets straight to the point and elimination happens with a few minutes after brewing your AeroPress.
In my opinion and to put things in perspective in cricket terms, the AeroPress competition is to the Worlds Brewers Cup what T20 cricket is to test match cricket. It’s much more of a crowd pleaser and this is important to maintain balance in the national coffee community. I look forward to tasting some amazing coffee this upcoming weekend but also handing over the golden AeroPress to our next Champion.
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: THE SOUTH AFRICAN AEROPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP IS HAPPENING ON SUNDAY, 2ND JULY AT ESPRESSO LAB, 11AM AT THE OLD BISCUIT MILL, CAPE TOWN.