Coffee Competitions Hit The Great Lakes

Coffee Competitions Hit The Great Lakes
New Clear Aeropress
Photo courtesy of Tim Wendelboe.

What do the cities of Milan, Helsinki, Johannesburg, and Fukuoka all have in common? They are all host to a rising wave of competitions in the coffee world: Aeropress championships. Next month, Detroit will be added to this list when it becomes host to the first Great Lakes Regional Aeropress Championship.

At first glance, the Aeropress appears to be cheaply made and unfortunately ugly, and that’s putting it nicely. It takes the form of a large plastic syringe with a filter in place of the needle – definitely a stark contrast to the visually appealing glass and ceramic manual brewers most of us are familiar with. Despite its less-than-remarkable first impression, the Aeropress has grown exponentially in popularity amongst coffee enthusiasts since its debut in the mid-2000s. This is thanks in part to the exceptionally clean cup it produces. One of the first supporters of this innovative brewer was 2004 World Barista Champion, Tim Wendelboe. At his self-named coffee bar in Oslo, Norway, he has foregone the use of batch brewers (like your coffee maker at home) in favor of serving only Aeropressed coffee made to order. In 2008, Wendelboe organized the first-ever manual brewing competition in the form of the World Aeropress Championship. In its first year, the WAC only featured three competitors. As of last year, the competition had grown to include 18 participants from countries all over the world – and that number is far lower than the number of people who participated in national and regional events leading up to it. The Midwest will now be added to that growing number of regions hosting their own Aeropress competitions.

On March 24th, baristas and coffee aficionados are invited to travel to Great Lakes Coffee in Detroit to demonstrate their skills for a chance to win the title of Great Lakes Aeropress Champion. Winners will receive some stellar prizes from an impressive list of sponsors that includes Baratza, Able Brewing, and Aerobie. The first place winner will receive, along with their title, the GLAC trophy, a set of the 18K gold plated disk/disk fine Aeropress filters, and $500 cash – not a bad haul for pressing some delicious coffee! Who will be determining the winner? The panel of three judges is made of up Andrew Heppner, of Populace Coffee, Teresa Pilarz, of Espresso Elevado, and yours truly, representing Morsels. Many more of the Midwest’s finest coffee professionals will be in attendance at the event, so it’s sure to be quite the shindig!

The competition is open to anyone with Aeropress experience and spectators from the public are more than welcome to attend. For more information regarding rules, competitors, judges, and registration, click on over to the GLAC 2013 website or follow them on twitter.

Erica Starr, Contributing Writer