Five Ways to Prepare for the GLAC

Photo courtesy of Tim Wendelboe

The excitement of spring is nearly here: the snow is slowly melting, birds are beginning to sing, and all over the Midwest, coffee lovers are frantically weighing, grinding, and Aeropressing coffees in preparation for competition. As many readers may know, the Great Lakes Aeropress Championship is nearly upon us! GLAC organizers recently announced that, along with the prizes promised, the winner of this region’s competition will have a place reserved for them in the United States Aeropress Championship taking place in Boston. With this news and more participants registering each day, the GLAC promises to be an exciting event that paves the way for regional competitions to come. Whether you’re standing in solidarity with your favorite coffee professional or just hoping to get in on a piece of the action, I’ve arranged this useful guide on just what you can do to prepare for the upcoming event!

Try some Aeropressed coffee from one of the pros

Most people will find that the Aeropress produces a distinctly different cup of coffee when compared to other brewing methods. Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if you’re a novice coffee drinker! Adding some diversity to your beverage roster is a great way to develop your palate. Here’s a handy list of Michigan coffee shops that offer the Aeropress as a brewing option.

On the west side:

Rowster New American Coffee – 632 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Lemonjello’s Coffee – 61 E. 9th St, Holland

Uncommon Grounds – 127 Hoffman St, Saugatuck

On the east side:

Zingerman’s – 3723 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor

The (espresso) bar – 327 Braun Court, Ann Arbor

Espresso Elevado – 606 S Main St, Plymouth

Watch this steamy video about the Aeropress:

Aeropress brewing guide from Tim Wendelboe on Vimeo.

If this doesn’t turn you on to this excellent brewing method, I’m not sure what will.

Buy an Aeropress for yourself

If you’ve followed the first two suggestions, you should be totally sold. That means it’s time to get an Aeropress of your very own! (If you already have one, skip ahead.) If you still need convincing, here are three more reasons why this is a worthwhile addition to your home brewing collection:

It’s compact and portable. If you’re a traveling coffee drinker, this convenient device is your best friend. Make your life easier by putting together the ultimate travel coffee kit (as recommended by Oliver Strand.) Hint: It’s perfect for camping or flying.

It’s inexpensive and durable. Unlike the glass Chemex or the ceramic V60, there is little to no risk of shattering your Aeropress if you accidentally bump it on the counter and the entire kit is only ~$30.

It makes a damn fine cup of coffee.

Check out these popular brewing recipes:

The Stumptown method
Stumptown provides an excellent photo guide documenting each step of the brewing process. While it doesn’t provide the specifics for exactly how much coffee and water to use, this is a great resource for beginner Aeropress users.

The Heart Roasters method

The Tim Wendelboe method

The Marie Hagemeister method — Marie won the 2010 World Aeropress Championship using this recipe.

For a great compilation of even more brew recipes (including other brewers such as the Chemex and French Press) check out

Get some Michigan-roasted whole bean coffee to brew

Once you’re fully educated on the basics of the Aeropress, the only thing left to do is to give it a shot. In Michigan there is a plethora of roasters available to you, so go nuts! Here are some current coffee offerings that I’ve tried and eagerly recommend:

Tanzania Kiboko – Populace Coffee, Bay City

Los Congos Nicaragua – Anthology Coffee, Detroit

Las Aguas Altas Guatemala – Madcap Coffee, Grand Rapids

Now that you’re fully primed and (hopefully) thrilled with your new-found coffee love, I hope to see some new faces at the Great Lakes Regional Aeropress Championship on March 24!

Erica Starr, Contributing Writer

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