Denton Hosts 1st Annual DFW AeroPress Competition
Nearly two hundred coffee enthusiasts from around the Metroplex gathered at Shift Coffee in Denton for the first annual DFW AeroPress Competition this past Friday. Hosted by Denton barista buddies Ben Elliott of Cultivar Coffee and Eli Ramirez of Shift Coffee, the event pitted twenty-seven baristas, shop owners, and home brewers against each other to see who could make the best cup of coffee using an AeroPress coffee brewer.
For those of you who have no idea what an AeroPress is: you know those nifty flying discs and rings you see in the summer sporting goods aisle? It turns out that Aerobie, the company who makes those record-breaking toys, also makes an incredible coffee maker called an AeroPress. It uses a hybrid brewing technique of total immersion and pressurized extraction to brew a quick, easy, and delicious cup of coffee. Think French press meets espresso, but none of the mess or multi-thousand-dollar machine.
Elliott and Ramirez are no strangers to competitive coffee events. In addition to competing in the United States Barista Competition Qualifying Event, Ramirez earned second place at the 2016 Midwest Aeropress Championship in Chicago, IL. Those events not only helped the two hone their craft, but also gave them the opportunity to meet new people in the coffee community. They sought to bring that sense of camaraderie to the Metroplex.
“We want to test our community of baristas and make them better,” said Ramirez, “but also have an event that’s community-focused between the whole Metroplex.”
So why an AeroPress competition? Ramirez wanted everyone from home coffee enthusiasts to coffee shop owners to have the chance to showcase their skills. “There’s no right or wrong way to AeroPress coffee. You can get as innovative or as simple as you like.” With an AeroPress, everyone can compete on a level playing field.
In each round, three competitors had six minutes to brew a cup of coffee with an AeroPress. At the end of their allotted time, each competitor presented their coffee to a panel of four judges who tasted all three coffees and voted on their favorite cup. The other two competitors were eliminated, and the winner moved on to the next round. In the end, Natalie Hasty from Houndstooth Coffee in Dallas took home top honors, while Carlos Palacios from Trio Craft Coffee in Flower Mound earned second and Brock Beauclair from Big Mike’s Coffee in Denton won third.
To better support the coffee community at large, the event also held a raffle for dozens of items donated by shops, roasters, and businesses. All the proceeds from the raffle, T-shirt sales, and poster sales – over $2000 – went to support Neptune Coffee, a beloved shop in Seattle which was recently destroyed by an explosion and fire. The support wasn’t just about money; Elliott and Ramirez wanted to bring people from disparate parts of the coffee community together so they all would know that they’re all in it together.
Want to see what’s going on in the Denton coffee community? Check out the Tuesday Night Throwdowns hosted by a different shop in north Texas every third Tuesday of the month, or follow @dentoncoffee on Instagram and Twitter for upcoming events.
In the meantime, try out these AeroPress recipes from the top three competitors!
Third Place – Brock Beauclair
Big Mike’s Coffee (Denton)
Coffee: 20g Yemen from Fusion Roasters
Grind: Setting 7 on Mahlkonig EK43 (drip brewer consistency)
Water: 175°F, 220g total
Add 50g water to coffee in 10 seconds.
Swirl coffee in AeroPress by hand for 15 seconds.
Let coffee bloom for 30 seconds.
Add 170g in 10 seconds.
Press for 30 seconds.
Second Place – Carlos Palacios
Trio Craft Coffee (Flower Mound)
Coffee: 20g Ethiopian Kossa Gesha from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters
Grind: Medium-coarse on Porlex hand grinder
Water: 190°F, 200ml total
Sift coffee using a tea strainer until approx. 18g is left in strainer.
Place the 18g portion in inverted AeroPress.
Add 30ml water and stir.
Bloom for 30 seconds.
Add 170ml water and stir vigorously.
At 1:35 begin pressing, finish at 1:50.
Cool coffee for 2 minutes.
First Place – Natalie Hasty
Houndstooth Coffee (Dallas)
Coffee: 16.8g Naranjos Reserve from Tweed Coffee Roasters.
Grind: Setting 6.8 on Mahlkonig EK43.
Water: 180°F, 230g total.
Use 3 wet paper filters.
Add 60g water in 10 seconds.
Wiggle AeroPress for 10 seconds.
Add 170g water in 20 seconds.
Stir for 20 seconds.
Press coffee slowly for 30 seconds until there is no liquid or air left in the AeroPress.
Thanks to all the volunteers, judges, and donors who made this event possible!