I used to hate the aeropress. I always thought it produced inconsistent cups and required to much mechanical futzing. I also had a hard time taking it seriously as a specialty coffee brewing device because it was developed by the same individual who created the aerobie fresbie. I thought a toy maker can not also be a specialty coffee device maker and do both well. I think my advice to people when asked during the early Sump years was, ‘it’s a great travel brewer’ -essentially, the brewer of last resort (but still before a K-cup).
My turning point was when I witnessed my first national aeropress competition at the Stumptown roastery in Seattle. We were in Seattle competing in the national US Brewer’s competition. At that point in our trip, the aeropress competition struck me as the polar opposite of the Brewer’s competition. The aeropress competition was fast, the results were immediate, drinking alcohol was sanctioned, it felt improvisational and honestly, a little bit lawless. There was an master of ceremonies that provided running commentary while competitors brewed their areopresses. His comments often included jokes and/or judgements about a competitor’s technique. It also allowed people from all over the coffee spectrum and from many skill levels to compete, it wasn’t the typical who’s who (the sprude-y-ish of the sprude-y) from the top six national barista and brewer’s competitions. I loved it. This experience plus one of Sump’s long serving talented baristas who brewed all of our coffees at home on the aeropress changed my opinion.
A couple of non-sanctioned Sump aeropress competitions later and I can honestly say I don’t hate it any longer and actually enjoy puzzling over the innumerable approaches to brewing on one. I find that washed coffees from Ethiopia pair amazingly well with the aeropress. I do think it is sacrilegious to brew with the device in any orientation that is not right side up (meaning, not inverted).
Come out this Monday, December 11th at 5 pm in Nashville and Thursday December 28th at 4 pm in St Louis and celebrate admiration (newly minted) for the aeropress as we put on an aeropress brewing class. It is free and open to anyone regardless of your coffee skill level/experience. The class will include a heavy dose of our opinions and biases, but will also include some hands on aeropress time, as we walk you through an aeropress brew. No reservations needed. Come as you are.
Can't make it? There's always the Sump Coffee video on youtube!