Toronto Aeropress 2018

On May 25th the good coffee people of Toronto gathered for an epic night of community and competition at Quantum Coffee Co. on the corner of King and Spadina. The 2018 edition of the Toronto Regional Aeropress Championship kicked off with a bang—quite literally—when the kettles, emcee, and DJ got way too hot for the breaker to handle and blew out the venue's electricity! Luckily the good vibes kept rolling and the packed house enjoyed a delicious dinner courtesy of IQ Food Co., while the amazing team at Quantum resolved the issue. In no time, the Toronto Aeropress competitors were back at their brewing stations and ready and eager to plunge their way to glory!

 

Btw, most of the pictures you see here were taken by the incredibly talented Britney Townsend. You can learn more about Britney from a Q & A we did with her earlier this year HERE. A few of the photos were also taken by yours truly!

 

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 Poster designed by  Melanie Sarazin

Poster designed by Melanie Sarazin

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As usual, this event was a MASSIVE community effort, so we have lots of people to thank for making it possible. Rachel Rava and Gemma Morrison-Hunt both from Pilot Coffee Roasters were key in volunteering their time and effort to bring the #TorontoAeropress2018 to life. 

 

In case you didn't know, for the past two years our Toronto Aeropress coffee sponsor has been chosen in a blind cupping. This year, the folks from Beanstock and the Canadian Specialty Coffee Association hosted a cupping at Propeller Coffee Co. and selected the 2018 coffee sponsor out of over 20 coffee submissions from around the country (thank you to everyone who sent in coffees!). After tirelessly slurping and tasting, their expert panel chose local roaster Hatch Coffee as the favorite on the table. This was Hatch Coffee's second year winning the blind cupping. Boris Lee, Hatch's roaster submitted a "curve ball" blend of 80% Ethiopia Guji Mokanisa Natural and Costa Rica Tarrazu La Cuesta Honey Process. We were so grateful to have their continued support. 

 

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Gaya Lou, Alex Castellani, and Vica Pelivan were the esteemed judges for the evening (pictured above & below). They graciously lent their well-tuned palates to the community by tasting coffee brewed by 27 competitors over the course of 3 rounds of elimination (yes!...that's a ridiculous amount of coffee!). Andrew Long (also pictured below) was our fearless leader and MC. Andrew kept the good vibes flowing along with Boxcar Social, our generous beer sponsor, who were a huge help in making it possible for us to sell their beer at a cheap price so attendance was fun and free for all. Oh, and thanks to the folks at National Cappuccino & La Marzocco, DJ Decaf Wolf showed up with a crowd pleasing playlist for the competitors to press to and kept the sweet tunes rolling all night. 

 

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Our very generous prize sponsors: Eight Ounce Coffee Supply, San Remo Canada, Soul Chocolate, Fika Cafe, Marco Beverage Systems, Hatch Coffee, Pilot Coffee Roasters and The Roaster's Pack made sure the top three Aeropress competitors went home with some sweet, sweet brewing gear, chocolate, coffee, and swag. Thank you again to these companies for making the night extra fantastic!

 

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The third and final round of the 2018 Toronto Aeropress Regional Championship saw three awesome baristas go head-to-head. Graham Hayes was the wild card of the night. He stepped in to the competition at the very last minute to fill the spot of a competitor no-show. With zero preparation for the comp, and borrowing some gear from other competitors, Graham ended up bringing home the gold! Chad Staunton, and James Bayford placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. A massive congratulations goes out to Graham, Chad, and James!!

 

Although we are only mentioning the top three finalists in this post, THANK YOU to everyone who competed and made the night a huge success! We were overwhelmed with the community's enthusiasm for this event this year... and still can't believe all 27 competitor spots sold out in less than 24 hours. 

 

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Also, FYI, The Canadian National Aeropress Championship is taking place in Hamilton on September 7th find out more information by following along on the official facebook event page! X

 

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2018 Latte Royale in Photos by Britney Townsend

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This past January, Propeller Coffee Co hosted their inaugural Latte Royale--a latte art competition with the goal of bringing together the coffee community. Hosted in Propeller's stunning Wade Avenue cafe and roastery, this wild event welcomed a packed house, was made possible by lots of generous sponsors, and the proceeds went to support Food for Farmers——a NGO that works with coffee growing communities to build food security for farming families. It warms our heart to see this kind of community building in action!

 

We are so thankful that photographer Britney Townsend was there to volunteer her time and capture the evening in photos on our behalf. Britney is both a coffee industry pro, and a professional photographer, so along with sharing her photos today, we also asked her a few questions about her photo work and how she got into coffee. We hope you enjoy!

 

Oh, and if you are looking for someone to shoot your next event, or if you are need of any other photography work, you can get in touch with Britney here: http://www.britneytownsend.com/

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TCC: You have a special interest in coffee—can you share with us a little bit about how you got into coffee and your journey in the Toronto Coffee scene?

 

Britney Townsend: I've always loved coffee culture. The beginning of the journey started when I was in high school, but I moved to Guelph, ON for university and got a job at a fantastic spot called The Red Brick Cafe. It was there that I developed a love for beans, roasts, technique, and I was able to compete in the Central Canadian Barista Competition after training with Phong Tran. I moved to Toronto about 4 years ago and immersed myself in the coffee community here. It was the only place where I immediately felt like I was home. I got a job at a cafe and we started doing weekly cuppings. We would also travel to other third wave spots in the city to meet and chat with the baristas there. I started shooting for Sprudge, volunteered with the SCA, and have attended the Canadian Barista Academy as well. There is always something going on if you have an interest in coffee, and Toronto is one of the best places to be. 

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TCC: You recently worked as a photograher on The Hunt City Guide to Toronto alongside journalist Ama Scriver. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of working on a city guide book? Was there anything in particular that you learned about this city that you may not have known before?

Britney Townsend: Working with Ama Scriver is always such a pleasure. The Hunt Guides was an intenste month of shoothing but Ama was able to guide me to some incredible spots in the city. We included everything—stores, restaurants, bars, parks, cafes. We made sure to include day guides and maps as well. We featured some great cafes——Arvo, Neo, Boxcar Social. It was really important that we guided our readers to spots that do coffee well and KNOW what they are selling. Ama also comes from a coffee background and some of my greatest projects for the coffee scene have been with her. You can grab our city guide here: http://thehuntguides.com/guides/toronto/

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TCC: What led you to launch a career in photography?

Britney Townsend: Honestly, it's the only thing that I've always wanted to do. I can't remember a time where I didn't want to shoot. I was working for an event coverage company for years and when I went out on my own it was pretty terrifying. I am still working out the kinks of owning my own business, it's a slow process of getting set up, but I am having so much fun. You get to meet so many different types of people when you work in the arts. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

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TCC: These photos which you took at the recent Latte Royal latte art throwdown at Propeller Coffee are stunning and filled with a lot of feeling. What was your experience photographing the event?

Britney Townsend: I've shot events for years, but whenever I get to mix my passion for coffee and photography I get way more excited. It was completely packed in there! In the past years, coffee events have been dominated by the same people, but Latte Royal had a ton of new faces. I'm pretty sure guests came from all over the GTA. It was great to see how much our community is growing. I'll also be shooting Beanstock in May for those of you who are looking to attend the next big coffee event. If you see me with a camera, come say hi :)

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TCC: What would you like to see more of in the Toronto coffee community? 

Britney Townsend: Events! More meet-ups, more tastings, more community. I've made some great friends in the Toronto Coffee scene and I would encourage anyone else with an interest to get involved. Also, awareness. Talk to your local baristas about what it is you are drinking, where it comes from, and who is growing it. Nothing is more important than knowing the source of what it is you consume. 

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TCC: What's your favorite thing about the Toronto coffee community? 

Britney Townsend: Seeing friends that I recognize and connect with in every cafe. It's great to have a common interest with people who are as nerdy as I am. XX

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2017 EAST QUALIFIERS

With the Canadian National Barista Championship coming up this weekend in Edmonton we wanted to take a moment to relive the excitement of the 2017 East Qualifiers by sharing a TON of photos. For those that didn't have a chance to attend, this event was hosted at Toronto's Harbourfront Center on August 20th.

 

The first photo set below was taken by our extremely talented guest photographer, Winnie Zhang. You can find more of Winnie's work on Instagram at @whtvrwinnie.

 

The rest of the photos were taken by our resident photographer @thelittleblackcoffeecup and are broken down by competitor. We hope you enjoy!

 

Oh, and best of luck to all those competing in Nationals this weekend.


EDWARD ANDERSON:

COFFEE QUALITY CONTROL AT BOXCAR SOCIAL 


NATHANIEL FRIED: 

HEAD OF ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT AT PILOT COFFEE 


AIMEE FERGUSON:

BARISTA AT PHIL & SEBASTIAN COFFEE ROASTERS


SAMUEL YOUNG SOO KIM:

COFFEE QUALITY CONTROL MANAGER AT EARLY BIRD COFFEE


KALEISHA BOUDREAU:

LEAD BARISTA AT PLANET BEAN


NOAH WALKER:

BARISTA & JUNIOR ROASTER AT BAROCCO COFFEE


KHALED RAYYAN:

OWNER OF HALE COFFEE CO


ANNE CUMBY:

OWNER OF CANNON COFFEE

& CLIENT DEVELOPMENT AT REUNION ISLAND COFFEE


RAICHEL NEUFELD:

BARISTA AT PILOT COFFEE

Yadi Arifin's Winning Aeropress Recipe

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We recently caught up with the winner of the 2017 Toronto Aeropress Championship, Yadi Arifin, to brew a few Aeropresses and learn about his award winning recipe. Yadi, former pastry chef and owner of Fika Cafe in Kensigton Market, recently competed in the National AeroPress Championship hosted by Dogwood Coffee in Winnipeg. Unfortunately Yadi didn't advance to World's this time, but he came back to Toronto with tons of coffees and ready to host an Aeropress brewing class. You can find out more about his upcoming class on September 22nd by clicking HERE.  

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"My approach for the Toronto competition:

"Keep it simple."  So you just need a good hand (or burr) grinder, filtered water, digital scale and an electric kettle.

Then it is just a matter of playing with the amount of coffee, temperature, grind size, agitation and brewing time." - Yadi Arifin

 

2017 Toronto Aeropress Winning Recipe by Yadi Arifin

Coffee: 17g Hatch T.A.C. Blend (50% Ethiopian natural, 50% Kenyan washed)

Water: 235g filtered water @ 81°C

Brewer: Inverted

Filter: Paper (single)

  1. Grind coffee at "14" on a Baratza Virtuoso grinder
  2. Heat water to 81°C, rinse paper filter
  3. Add 60g of water
  4. Stir five times slowly and bloom for approximately 40 seconds
  5. Add the rest of the water (up to 235g) in 20 seconds
  6. Stir gently for 15 times
  7. At 1:35 mark, press down for 50 seconds, stop immediately when you hear the "hissing" sound
  8. Aerate coffee and pour into serving vessel (200ml)

Total brew time : 2:25

 

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 Interior, Fika Cafe. Kensington Market, Toronto.

Interior, Fika Cafe. Kensington Market, Toronto.

Toronto Aeropress Championship 2017

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Date: August 18th 2017

Location: Hale Coffee Company

Coffee Sponsor: Hatch Coffee

Poster Designer: Gabriel Navarro

Event Sponsors: De Mello Palheta, Early Bird Coffee & Kitchen, Boxcar Social, Aesir, Mountain Coffee, By Group, Pilot Coffee, Reunion Island Coffee Co, The Roasters Pac

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Judges: Lisa Elder, Dylan Wu, Lee Knuttila

 

1st Place: YADI ARIFIN of Fika Cafe (pictured left)

2nd Place: JONATHAN COGHILL of Pilot Coffee

3rd Place: WESLEY GRIFFIN of Finch Espresso

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