18 Aeropressers at the starting line. A great coffee. And lots of spectators.
The judges from a country North of Belgium were a the top of their toes and picked these 6 semi finalists :
Sofie from 32 cup : Vice champ last year : she went for a strong full bodied cup with nice acidity. For sure the most extreme drill of the year.
Alex from Caffenation : Light cup, sweet, well balanced. And the only one using the company's competition water. Most contestants prefered Spa blauw or (Sofie) Lidl water.
Charlene from Or : Improved version of Alex her recipe and close by her world championship recipe of 2012 in Portland.
Jeff from Caffenation : Very compact flavors. Sweet. Perfect mouthfeel. The first time you drink this your mouth falls open.
Bert from Caffenation : Comparable cup, but a tad stronger. Clean mean, but just not good enough for the finals.
Isabelle from Coffeelabs : Stellar cup! For me the sexiest cup of the day. Sweet, clean, but with an extra twang - spices, sours. She was also the only one analyzing her first brew and then redialing it the second round. Still waiting for her recipe though.
TOP 3 :
1. Jeff Verellen. Multiple and Reigning World & Belgian Champ : The king is still on his throne
2. Isabelle Verschraegen. Reigning UK Champ and ready to take over next year.
3. Sofie Nijs. Second podium in a row. What a gifted girl.
With 4 out of 6, the women were omni present this year.
No amateurs in the semis this year.
Price for bad luck goes to the 2012 champ Vincent. 2 years in a row it felt to me that he had the best coffee of all losing first rounders. Keep it up 'boyke'; you still got it.
Jeff's recipe (in his own words) :
Aeropress in regular mode
Cooled almost iced container to brew on.
Rinse the filter with boiling water to open up the paper and clean it.
Picking out lights, quakers, ears anything weird.
Setting 7.6 on EK-43 grinder running.
Don't "twack" the grinder.
Sieving with sowden filter: only very small fines removed. Also using static on the filter to remove chaff and nerves.
Use 17.3 grams of the sieved coffee.
Water at 83-82c to bloom, nicely wet everything, 40 grams or so.
Wait about 30 seconds.
Use a dash of cool water to get the kettle water to 76c
Very slowly pour in the middle of the aeropress to get to about 285 grams total on the scale, take about a minute for this.
30 second plunge.
Leave 1/5 of the brew in the press and discard.
This recipe sounds easy, but actually it is (to use WAC host TC Varneys words) : a fiddly one to nail.
Isabelle's Recipe :
• pick out about 20g of beans of a similar (small) size - discard quakers and defects
• rinse the paper filter thoroughly with very hot water
• grind your coffee, medium coarse (I started with 7.2 on the EK but switched to 6.8 after to get a slightly stronger cup) and discard whatever's left in the grinder's chute (these are fines and chaff we do not want)
• transfer the grinds into different cups/tins so as to use static to discard more fines. you can also slightly shake and blow over the grounds to let the chaff fly (thanks to Simon for the trick)
• press into a cold server
• weigh 17.5g of coffee into your aeropress
• use soft water… I used Spa Blue. It has a TDS of about 30ppm and pH of 6.
• heat the water till 84°C, and take the lid off the kettle immediately. Leave open
• slowly pour about 265g of water, making sure to evenly wet all the coffee
• stir once in the NSEW direction
• leave dripping for about 20sec
• press very gently for about 1minute , until the slurry reaches number 1 on your aeropress (so you leave quite a lot of liquid in your device)
• pour slowly into cup
• stir with spoon until coffee reaches temperature of 55ºC
16,5 gr - fines out - medium to coarse grind
240 ml water at 84°
pour, stir for 10 seconds
steep for 40 seconds
plunge for 30 seconds
For next year maybe already a good new idea.
If we would have 27 competitors in the first round, 9 in the second and 3 in the finals.... Possible.