The World AeroPress Championships: Carolina Ibarra
Carolina Ibarra, the winner of the USA AeroPress Championship, will soon be competing in the World Championship. She has answered our questions; you can read more about what has brought her in to the coffee world and what driver her below. To follow Carolina's journey, follow Las Lilias Coffee on instagram: @laslilascoffee.
Why did you choose to enter the AeroPress Championship?
AeroPress is one of my favourite methods to brew coffee, I believe it makes a sweet and smooth cup. The brewer looks like a space ship and it’s just very clever of the inventor to think of making an apparatus that will extract coffee under manually applied pressure! So, AeroPress Championship sounds like the best way to honour one of the most fun, geeky looking way to make coffee. Shout out to Mr Alan Adler.
What’s your favourite way to make coffee (other than AeroPress of course!)?
Espresso, because it requires you to be precise, to take notes, to think before making changes, to be consistent, and to break the mini rules all together when necessary. I think that more than making espresso what I love the most is training new baristas on espresso. So, that makes it my second favourite way to make coffee.
What led you to using the AeroPress?
I wanted to be able to know how to use all methods, to be able to see what the differences are, and when I learned to use the AeroPress I felt like I could try different things and each tweak will change the flavour of my cups of coffee. Everybody has a different way to brew AeroPress and this goes to show how versatile a three piece element can be.
Which grinder will you use for the competition and why?
For the [US AeroPress Championship] competition, and for the practice rounds, I used the Malhkönig EK43. It’s probably the most common one this days. I believe it makes an even grind, which means even extraction. it produces more uniformly sized coffee particles which leads to higher/uniform extraction, equaling more flavour. I’ve also been looking into hand grinders and would love to get one soon to compare it with the EK, only because I’ve seen baristas competing with them and I wanna know what is that about. But most likely I’ll rely on the old friend, Malhkönig...We will see.
How did you get in to the coffee industry?
I am originally from a small coffee producer town in Colombia, called Quimbaya, in the Quindio region. Now days there isn’t as much coffee around because the price of coffee is so low that most families have torn down their farms and made them into country side hotels. However, coffee has been around my life since I was a kid, even tho for the longest time I refused to be a part of it. I tried many careers (law school, vet, graphic design) only to, at the end, move to the US and hear the voice of my conscience and my heart and look at coffee as part of who I am. I thank Los Angeles, California, and an amazing coffee community, for giving me that back. The opportunity to reconnect with who I am and bring some of that to a city that appreciates and honours coffee.
What are you most excited about in coffee?
Coffee is a career path, and it’s one of those that you would only choose when real passion burns inside your heart. I am excited about the community created around coffee, the people I get to meet, the places I get to be, the everyday barista/guest experience, the smell of the wet dirt when I visit home and get to be in the cafetales (coffee farms). Everything is exciting about coffee... I couldn’t pick one thing but the whole experience of coffee itself.