The South African AeroPress champion 2016 is Winston Thomas from Origin Coffee Roasting, Cape Town.
It doesn’t come as much surprise when Origin scoops awards. This infamous speciality coffee roastery has been doing it for more than 8 years now with a bank vault full of SA Barista titles, Cup taster and Latte Art titles and now the South African AeroPress title. But what is new are the faces, with youngsters like Winston, and Arno Els (SA Barista Champ finalist) it looks like the new generation at Origin are following in the footsteps of the old guard before.
Winston has been tipped as a future coffee star, after his 2nd place qualifier at the Cape Town regionals a few months back came after only 1 year in the coffee industry. Its fair to say that he probably makes more aeropress than anyone else in South Africa working behind the brew bar at Origin. His thirst for knowledge, passion for coffee and coach-ability will take him far and we have great expectations for him on the world stage in Dublin.
The biggest surprise came from new comer Kurt Nilsen. A late independent entry on the evening surprised the entire coffee elite as he made his way to the finals with his very unconventional approaches, that seemed to bring unusual yet standout flavours from the coffee over his heat competitors. Needless to say Kurt became a coffee legend overnight.
Third place was Melanie Winter, from The Coffee Mag. The Coffee Mag is SA’s leading speciality coffee publication, and had a strong presence with Mag producer Iain Evans making the Semi’s. The guys from The Coffee Mag were great hosts for the event along with the resident roastery FireBird.
The Coffee used was roasted by one of SA’s best roasters Gerald Charles from Rock and Roller Coffee.
Gerald Charles: “Guatemala SHG EP Huehuetnango Finca El Coyegual. Guatemala is one of the worlds top coffee origins and the eighth largest producer. This relatively small country boasts the most climatically diverse regions in the world. The soil, rainfall, humidity, altitude, and temperature are varied enough to produce seven distinct types of Guatemala Arabica coffee. Huehuetenango and Antigua coffees are well-known and highly rated.
Huehuetenango from the north highlands are exceptional coffees with distinct acidity and fruited flavours. Of the three non-volcanic regions, Huehuetenango is the highest and driest under cultivation. Due to the dry, hot winds that blow into the mountains from Mexico’s Tehuantepec plain, the region is protected from frost. Cultivation between 5000 and 5500 feet above sea level. A light medium to medium roast is suggested. This coffee has a sweet aroma, with a fruity start reminiscent of plums and a milk chocolate finish. Generally it is a great all round coffee. Flavour profile: Chocolate, Plum and Berries.
David Coleman, “We’d expect to choose an African Coffee for the champs, and we cupped a few great Tanzanians and Kenyans along with this Gautamalan, but this one for me provided a great challenge for the brewers. Its had distinct acidity, sweetness and bitterness. This versatility would challenge them to choose a route, and go for a distinct flavour. Its was a real challenge for the brewers, and the results were radically varying coffees and lots of surprises in the cup. In the end Winston’s mastery of the AeroPress and momentum gained through the rounds culminated in his eventual victory. Good Luck in Dublin Winston!
The final recipes were as follows:
Winston’s 1st place:
- 19 g coffee, medium to fine grind
- Inverted method add 40g of 15C water.
- Gentle Stir 30 seconds
- Add 180g 87C water
- Pressure plunge for 1min40sec using Aerobie paper filter
Kurt’s 2nd place:
- Inverted method, 30% course grind from Bodum hand grinder, 70% finer grind from Baratza
- 1 measure of coffee on the Aeropress
- Top up with 79C water.
- Stir and plunge for 1min
Mel’s 3rd place:
- 23g course “plunger” grind coffee
- Inverted add enough water for a 10 sec bloom.
- Fill to the top with 92C water.
- Stir, cap it, swirl and plunge.
The South African AeroPress champs was a fitting after party for the SA Barista champs, which had just crowned Wayne Oberholzer as the new Champ.
It brought together fans and competitors to celebrate the culmination of the SA 2015 coffee circuit. South Africa chooses its barista champs from 2015 to compete in 2016, and the AeroPress followed suit.
The evening as in true AeroPress form, a “jol” (translation “blast” or “crack”in Ireland) for all fans and coffee industry folk alike in an evening of coffee, craft beer and boere rolls. (South African hot dog of sorts). South Africans are growing as passionate about their coffee as they are about their rugby and braai’s. And this crew here are the heart of a fast growing culture of fun and flavour.
Look out Dublin, the AmaCoffees are coming! – @MoreFlavourSA