Some words from the 2014 World Aeropress Champion, Shuichi Sasaki –
The Japan Aeropress Championship in April, a preliminary competition to determine the right to pass on to the World Aeropress Championship, and the Japan Domestic Aeropress Championship were both held in Tokyo. Both winners were baristas from Paul Bassett coffee in Japan, Kiyokazu Suzuki won the domestic competition and I won the Japan Aeropress Chanpionship. Kiyokazu Suzuki who received coffee training from Paul Bassett himself is a head roaster and also the chief barista of Paul Bassett coffee Japan.
Thinking toward WAC, I came to understand the important characteristics necessary for the taste of my coffee: a clean cup, well-balanced and a brew that highlights the coffee bean’s character.
Before going to Rimini, I thought two abilities would be important to win the competition. One of these was the ability to brew the coffee just as I imagined. I should do within a limited amount of time. The WAC gave all entrants coffee beans to use just before going on stage. Therefore, I tasted using different kind of coffee beans, but also a lot of types like different roast level, a variety of brewing areas needed refining.
Another one was finding a way to make a ‘consistent cup’, because I needed to win three times during the tournament day. My recipe of Aeropress was a little bit different from the most general way. To give any extra pressure to coffee beans translated to off-flavours, so the ideal way was brewing the coffee similar to a cupping profile. Lower water temperature, coffee beans ground courser and taking longer to press made a cleaner cup.
In Rimini the stage was outside, on a hot beach. This meant that all brewing tools, including the Aeroprress and coffee beans had been warmed up. I thought the methods I tried in Japan would not work very well in Rimini. I actually brewed coffee with my method first, but it ended up too acidic. However lowering the water temperature and grinding the coffee a little less finely helped achieve a better taste.
Finally, there are so many people I wish to thank for helping me to win the WAC championship: the staff at Paul Bassett coffee, the JAC and WAC organizers, and of course Tim Varney. The judges Tim Wendelboe, James Hoffmann and Tim Styles I wish I could thank you all in person.
Aeropress has only been around for 15 years, but i think it will continue to grow in popularity. I look forward to see who the 2015 WAC champion will be, and what kind of recipe they will produce.
Here is Shuichi’s recipe :
16.5g coffee, 78℃, 250cc, soft mineral water, EK43 Grind at 9.5
Rinse normal paper filter, in standard position.
40g of blooming water for 25 seconds, stir 5 times.
Add 210g of water, stir once.
Press very slowly for 75 seconds.