When Tuomas Merikanto won the 2021 Finnish AeroPress Championship, that was the first time that he had ever competed in a coffee competition. From there, he went on to become the winner of the 2021 World AeroPress Championship - an amazing achievement for a new competitor!
We caught up with him recently to get his thoughts on competing, his favorite coffees, and his advice for AeroPress beginners: "Have fun with it!" (We couldn't agree more!)
See the end of this post for instructions on how to brew his winning recipe yourself!
How did you get involved in the World AeroPress Championship?
My bosses/coaches at the Kahiwa Coffee Roasters asked me if I'd like to represent Kahiwa at the nationals competition - Finnish AeroPress Championships. And because I'm that kind of person who likes challenges, I was down to compete. The competition itself was held at the premises of our cafe in Lahti. It was my very first experience in any coffee related competition. When I won the national championship, of course I wanted to participate in WAC also!
What was the inspiration behind your recipe?
In the WAC, there actually wasn't any inspiration. It was purely technical. Instead in nationals I had inspiration from James Hoffmann. When I got the competition coffee I first off tried the recipe from nationals but it didn't come out well. There was this astringency that I wanted to get rid of, so I changed the recipe from really fine grind to really coarse, from high to low water temperature and from abundant to little agitation. With these adjustments the recipe changed from really aggressive to really subtle and it came out just right. Otherwise I wanted to keep the recipe as simple as possible, just like in the nationals.
Do you have any tips for people who are just beginning to use AeroPress coffee makers?
Well, I think the first tip is (with any coffee maker) make sure you have quality coffee, preferably from a specialty coffee roaster. It doesn't need to be the most expensive, but keep in mind that you can't make a good brew with bad coffee. And what comes to the beginners of AP users don't make it too difficult or complex but have fun with it!
For example I have found a few different recipes I'm gonna mainly use for different kinds of coffee - basically one for really subtle light roast, one for more fruity mid-roast and one for darker roasts. But in addition to these I also like to play around and try different kinds of recipes I find online and others have shared, just out of curiosity. After all, AP is the most fun and versatile (and not forgetting durability) coffee maker there is, so why not have a little fun with it from time to time!
What is your favorite coffee to use with your AeroPress coffee maker?
I must say that I have fallen in love with Ethiopian Gesha Village - Oma-lot from our Kahiwa Coffee Roasters; you almost can't go wrong with this. But I must also mention this Costa Rican Las Lajas from Lehmus Roastery which was really fun to use - you can very nicely highlight certain aspects of it with different recipes.
For those who do not have a Macap Labo 70D grinder, how would you describe your grind size?
I would say that the grind size is about 8/10, a little bit coarser than you would use with chemex. When I was making the recipe for WAC I used Comandante to grind my coffee. With that I found 27 clicks was the correct grind size for the recipe. And that I had to transfer for Macap which was 7,0.
Tuomas' Winning Recipe:
Brewer Set Up: Inverted
# of Filters: Two
Rinsed? Yes, rinse it
Third Wave Water Formula: Formula 2: 100% Espresso
Grind Setting: 7.0 on the Macap Labo 70D
Water Temp: 80°C (176°F)
1. Add coffee: Add 18.0g coffee in the inverted AeroPress
2. Pour water: Start the timer when water hits the coffee. 0.00-0.10 add 50g water @80°C (176°F).
3. Stir: 0.10-0.15 stir very gently 3 times back and forth.
4. Pour water: At 0.15-0.30 pour water from 50g to 200g @ 80°C (176°F).
5. Stir 0.30-0.50 allow to brew, at 0.50 stir very gently 3 more times.
6. Allow to brew: At 1.00 push excess air out, attach the filter cap and let it brew till 1.40.
7. Flip brewer: At 1.35 put the pitcher on, at 1.40 flip the brewer so coffee doesn't spill.
8. Press: When flipped, press right away at 1.40-2.00.
9. Swirl to cool: Swirl at 2.00-2.30 and in the end pour from altitude to another pitcher.
10. Serve: Enjoy!
Check out more winning World AeroPress Championship recipes!