AeroPress Talks: Filip Kucharczyk
Filip Kucharczyk interviewed by Carlos Zavala
Photos by Naty Creci
Carlos: We had the honor of having my friend Filip Kucharczyk (the 2016 World AeroPress Champion) as one the judges in the 2017 Spanish AeroPress Finals. We invited him to Barcelona not just because he's the best aeropresser in the World, but also because Poland is a global example of how a good organisation is essential for creating highly competitive Champions. In 2016 Poland had one hundred eight competitors, and we're working hard in Spain to surpass that level by organising regional competitions in the whole country. This year Spain had eighty four competitors, that is more than five times than the year before. With this exponential growth and the national excitement about the AeroPress, we built a highly selective eliminatory competition which serves as a field of training for our new Champions. In that way we can dream on having a Spanish World Champion one day. This is the only way we've a chance with so many great Champions as Filip out there.
Filip left Poland when he was a kid and he did a lot of different things: he worked in restaurants, with bicycles, he did photography and he was even a clerk in an insurance company. One day he set on the cycle trip from London with no clear destination and he ended up in Wroclaw and he's still there. Later came coffee and it totally changed him.
Carlos: How did you discover specialty coffee?
Filip: I always liked good coffee, but I couldn't understand why some places are better at brewing and some are worse. It was like five years ago that I went to a coffee tasting and I encountered speciality coffee –it totally changed my perspective. The complexity of the subject seemed to be vast and exciting.
Carlos: How was your experience in Dublin the last year? Did you feel confident when you competed with all those international Champions?
Filip: It was amazing and the vibe was awesome. We (competitors) were in the basement practicing the recipes –it was intense. I didn't think too much about the competition –I just tasted some coffees around and I knew something. I was already the Polish Champion which was an achievement on its own –to become one you need to go through over a hundred competitors.
I think I just made one coffee inside the practice time –you know there is plenty to see in Dublin.
Carlos: You own a coffee shop in Wroclaw: Cafe Targowa. Your costumers must ask you lots of AeroPress coffee. Is the AeroPress your main brew method? Can you tell us what kind of taste you aim for serving your coffees?
Filip: Yes, we do quite a number of AeroPress coffee now –but only with the recipe from the World AeroPress Championship. In my opinion the AeroPress is a great tool, but it makes you want to play and experiment, so as the main method in the shop we stick with pour-over coffee and more and more batch brew. Cafe Targowa is mostly operated by one person so we've to be well organized and efficient. When it comes to taste, we just want to serve good well-extracted coffee.
Carlos: When you visited us in June, it was your first time in Barcelona. We made a coffee tour visiting coffee shops like SlowMov, Hidden, Nømad, El Magnífico, Black Remedy, Bermont and many others. How do you remember this experience? What's your impression about Barcelona's coffee scene?
Filip: It was a really good experience, thanks for inviting me. What I liked was the diversity of your coffee scene and how big it seems to be. Most of the coffee shops were full of people and the quality was super good. And there's also a cafe on every corner with coffee that is not so good –I believe the potential is massive for specialty coffee in Barcelona, but it will probably take a lot of time to change it.
Carlos: This year we made the Spanish AeroPress Finals in cooperation with the Out of The Box event by La Marzocco. You worked very hard with Gabriel Céspedes (the 2015 & 2016 World Tasters Champion) and Salvador Sans (El Magnífico) to choose the new Spanish Champion. How was your experience in making a team with them?
Filip: Those two guys are amazing and super funny. We actually worked very hard and we had some super serious discussions about coffee behind the stage. I really liked how calibrated we where when it came to judging and how intensive were the arguments after each round of judging. It was a very special time for me.
Carlos: In the end you chose Javier Amboage as the 2017 Spanish AeroPress Champion. He's flying to Seoul to compete in the World AeroPress Finals in November 9. What would be your advise to him?
Filip: He's already a Champion and his recipe works. Keep it cool Javier and deliver on stage!
If you want to try Filip's AeroPress winning recipe, we reproduce it here with his authorisation:
- Weigh your coffee: 35gr.
- Grind it coarsely.
- Heat the water at 83ºC.
- Wet your paper filter.
- Set the timer and add 150ml of water in 15s.
- Stir until your timer shows 35s and place the lid on.
- Wait until 1m.
- Turn the AeroPress, give it a swirl and press for 30s.
- Add 100ml of water, or more or less to taste.
But you can also find the best AeroPress coffee in the World in:
Piaskowa 17, 50-158