Pouring coffee into cupping bowls at 2021 World AeroPress Championship

Champion Q&A: 2021 WAC 3rd place winner Brandon Smith

We caught up with Brandon Smith, who represented South Africa at the 2021 World AeroPress Championship, to learn why he loves the Championship, his tips for AeroPress beginners, and how he developed his special winning recipe!

The 2021 World AeroPress Championship was third-place winner Brandon Smith's first coffee competition ever - an amazing achievement! We caught up with Brandon, who represented South Africa at the 2021 World AeroPress Championship, to learn why he loves the Championship, his tips for AeroPress beginners, and how he developed his special winning recipe!

To try Brandon's recipe yourself, check the end of this blog post!

2021 WAC 3rd place winner Brandon Smith

Photo courtesy of World AeroPress Championship.

How did you get involved in the World AeroPress Championship?
The 2021 World AeroPress Championship was the first time I ever competed in a coffee competition, I've always been a fan of the format and less technical aspect of judging the AeroPress Champs, it was the easiest way for me to enter the coffee competition world.

What was the inspiration behind your recipe?
I was looking for a recipe that is both easy to make and replicate but still tastes great with multiple coffees and not only one coffee. I found that with this recipe I could make a variety of different origins and processed coffees and it still tasted amazing every time, so I knew that I have found my "special" recipe.

Do you have any tips for people who are just beginning to use AeroPress coffee makers?
If you are new to the AeroPress brewer I would recommend that you watch James Hoffman's YouTube video series to get a good understanding of how the brewer works and the different variables involved, then brew as many different recipes as you can, there are thousands available online. When I started I just searched for the previous World Champs recipes and adapted from there to the coffee I was drinking.

What is your favorite coffee to use with your AeroPress coffee maker?
Currently I am enjoying more delicate tasting coffee with the AeroPress, mostly coffee from South/Central America that is washed process. If I have to pinpoint a single country then it would be Guatemala.

For those who do not have a Macap Labo 70D grinder, how would you describe your grind size?
The Grind size could be classified as a medium-fine, but more to the finer side, on a Comandante it is at 18 clicks which is quite a bit finer than the filter which would be at about 25 clicks.

Three World AeroPress Championship trophies on display bases

Brandon Smith's winning recipe

Set Up:
Brewer Set Up:
 Inverted
# of Filters: One
Rinsed? Yes, rinse it
Dose: 18.0g
Third Wave Water Formula: Formula 4: 50% Classic, 50% Espresso
Grind Setting: 3.3 on the Macap Labo 70D
Water Temp: 88°C (190.4°F)

Method:
1. Add coffee: Add 18g coffee to inverted AeroPress
2. Pour water: Start timer and pour 140g water within 10 seconds
3. Stir: Stir back to front gently 5 times
4. Allow to brew: Remove lid from kettle and leave kettle off the base
5. Attach filter cap: Attach Filter cap and press out air
6. Flip brewer: At 1:25 flip brewer and give one gentle swirl
7. Press: Press from 1:30 to 2:00, through the hiss
8. Dilute: Dilute with 80g water from open kettle
9. Swirl to cool: Swirl and let stand for 1 minute (till 3:30)
10. Serve: Serve to judges

Check out more winning AeroPress Championship recipes!

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