On the 4th of December, at Plovdiv was the first Bulgarian national championship for making coffee in an Aeropress. The winner of the competition became Konstantin Kataloev. He will go to the world championship in Melbourne, Australia next spring.
Here is our interview with Konstantin Kataloev, where we are talking about his experiences, coffee making techniques, On the preparation process and future plans.
Before the interview, we shared a bit of information about the Aeropress- method of making coffee.
The AeroPress was invented by retired Stanford engineering lecturer Alan Adler. Adler began developing the brewer in 2004, with the intention of reducing acidity and bitterness in his daily cup of coffee. Adler had tried brewing with an espresso machine, pour-over brewer, and french press, but expressed dissatisfaction with each brewer’s limited control over parameters such as brew time, water temperature, and grind size. He first began prototyping the AeroPress in his garage.
The brewer consists of a translucent cylindrical chamber, and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal, similar to a syringe. A filter cap is screwed onto the end, to hold a small round filter (either paper or metal) in place. It comes bundled with several accessories, including a scoop and funnel for loading ground coffee, a stirring paddle, a tote bag, and a plastic holder for storing filter papers.
– What skills do you need to make coffee in an Aeropress?
Konstantin Kataloev: Basically, you don’t need many skills to make a coffee from an Aeropress coffee maker. It’s just
ground coffee, hot water, and squeezing. But from this starting point, you can choose your preferences on how you would like your coffee to taste. The Aeropress is the most flexible coffee maker that exists in my opinion. You can flex as much as you want on your grinding size, the temperature of the water, time of soaking the coffee into the water, time of final extraction, and other small details that make difference in your final drink. So it all depends on your taste. Coffee is all about experimenting, practicing, tasting, and expressing yourself.
– Tell us a little about the stages of preparation for the championship. Where do you start?
It all starts with the coffee beans that you are obligated to make your coffee recipe. For me, I always start with some classical recipes for the method that I am using to prepare the coffee and from there I start to change the settings in the recipe. Maybe a little bit finer or courser ground, maybe a little bit more or less amount of coffee and so on. In the beginning, I was trying some typical recipes for Aeropress but there was always some bitterness in the cup, like dark chocolate, that I don’t really like. Then I changed some settings like the temperature of the water, grinding size, and weight of coffee, and finally, I got what I wanted. A cup full of tropical fruits, long sweetness, and high acidity.
Hmm. I can not measure it in time. It is all about experiments and understanding about the cup of coffee. I have been preparing for the championship for about 200 grams of coffee experiments and recipes. I had like a month to prepare but till the end, I was not sure about the recipe that I wanted to use. In the end, I choose my recipe like 30 minutes before walking away for the championship, so it was funny that this was the winning recipe haha.
– How to choose the most delicious cup in preparation for the championship?
For everyone is different. It depends on what you like and what you look forward to in your cup of coffee. For me, and maybe for most of the baristas that were participating in the championship, it was to make a good, sweet, not bitter, and medium to high acidity cup of coffee.
– Describe a little the profile of your coffee. What was your cup?
Basically, the coffee beans that we had to use are from Kenya,(region)Rukira, roasted from Taf Coffee Roasters. The taste profile (given from the roaster, written on the package of the coffee)was lavender, green tea, herbal, blackcurrant, pleasant vivid acidity, and syrupy round body. So I wanted something similar in my cup. For me, this coffee has a really strong sweetness, acidity, and tropical fruits.
– What’s your favorite alternative method to brew?
Aeropress, Aeropress and Aeropress. This is the ultimate coffee machine that can exist at the moment. You can make espresso-like coffee or you can make filter-like coffee. You can even make cold brew with Aeropress. It is easy to use in all conditions and places and it is no worries to carry on with you cuz its lightweight and small as well. All you need is ground coffee and water. I have had my Aeropress for almost 3 years and it saw fire, wind, snow and rain and it, always served well for me and my friends. So yes. Aeropress.
– Which recipe did you use in the championship?
I can’t answer this question because maybe, I will use the recipe for the world Aeropress championship
in March 2022, and maybe it is not a good idea to post it online. I prefer do not to be public until the championship is over.
– What did you like the most about the championship?
The most I like in the Bulgarian Aeropress Championship is the people I met. There were people I know and I don’t know but everyone was super supportive to the others. It was not like competition, it was like happening for people who have a passion for coffee brewing and are ready to share experience and to motivate you to grow your potential about the profession of the barista. I have to say that if there were not my colleagues that were at the gathering, especially from the coffee shop that I am working, I wouldn’t make it to the finals.
Thank you, Good luck
on behalf of the E-volution Media team, we wish Konstantin Kataloev success
Journalist: Oleh Horb
photo credits: smeshonline (Instagra)