Hosting a National AeroPress Championship
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Before you actually organise anything, you need to get approved as a host. And we can only have one host per country. Send us a quick proposal about the kind of event you want to run, where you want to run it, and we'll get back to you ASAP.
Before the event
1. Choose a venue
A roastery, a large cafe or another open-to-the-public location is good. Allow a good amount of space for competitors and attendees alike. Make sure it’s easy to get to. Avoid hosting at a trade show — they’re usually stuffy, closed to the public, and charge entry.
2. Set a time and date
Your national competition needs to happen between 1 April, 2017 and 30 September, 2017. If for some reason you feel this is impossible, feel free to request an exemption, but be prepared for us to say no.
3. Raise some sponsorship
Approach local coffee roasters, cafes, grinder, scale or kettle manufacturers, your AeroPress distributor, craft beer brewers, and coffee or hospitality magazines. Be clear about your event, and what you can offer them. Make it easy for them to say yes.
4. Commission a poster
Enlist an artist or designer make up your poster. There's plenty of inspiration at http://aeropressxart.tumblr.com. By submitting it you’ll be giving us a the right to reproduce it so you’ll need to provide the artwork as a high resolution PDF (min. 3500 x 4900 pixels). Be sure to tell your designer both of these things upfront.
5. Structure your competition
How an AeroPress competition actually runs is open to interpretation by the host. There's a framework to operate within, but a lot of decisions for you to make.
- How many competitors will you have?
- Will you charge competitors an entrance fee and if so, how much?
- How many rounds will you run?
- Will competitors have to use a provided coffee, or can they bring their own?
- Will you send out practice coffee in advance or will it be provided on the day?
- Will competitors have practice time, and equipment supplied to brew on?
- And crucially, how will you communicate of all this to the competitors?
We suggest writing up a simple plan, saving it as a PDF and posting it online, so everyone is on the same page. Literally.
6. Set up competitor registration
A ticketing website like Eventbrite or (our personal favourite) GetInvited is a simple and fair way to allocate competitor places on a first come, first served basis. A registration fee may be charged, but it should be affordable — as a guide, it shouldn’t be more than a local barista would earn in three hours.
N.B. - Competitor eligibility
Hosts are allowed to decide whether the event is wide open to anyone, or if competitors need to live or work in the country they're competing in. Just make your policy clear and fair.
7. Select judges
You’ll need at least three judges. Larger competitions may need more judges to cope with all the caffeine. Your judges do not need to be Q Graders, nor carry any other coffee certification, or even be coffee professionals. They do need to be impartial and able to both taste and point.
Crucially, your judging panel should not be all male or all female. It’s 2017 and you should be mixing things up a bit.
8. Submit event details for approval
At least four weeks prior to your proposed event date, you will need to submit your event information for approval. This includes;
- the date, time, and location of your event
- a copy of your poster
- a copy of the competition structure (see pt.5)
- a competitor registration link
- an address for us to send your hosting kit
Provided everything is in order, you’ll be approved quickly and added to our Facebook Events page. The sooner your event is approved, the more time you’ll have for promotion and for competitors to sign up.
9. Announce your event
Get on social media and spread the word -- don't forget to tag us on Instagram and Facebook. Put up posters in every cafe you can. Announce when you’ll open your competitor registrations, and we’ll do the same. Through our partnership with Sprudge, and via our Facebook Events page, we’ll do our best to make a lot of noise about your competition.
During the event
10. Make space for competitors (and their stuff)
Competitors often arrive with a lot of stuff. We don’t know why — all you really need is the AeroPress. Regardless, you should make sure you section off some space for competitors to put their bags, water, and other top secret, competition-winning equipment.
11. Hold a competitor briefing
While you’ll have been talking to competitors by email leading up to the event, the best thing you can do to get your competition off to a solid start is to hold a briefing. Get all your competitors, helpers, emcee and judges together before attendees arrive and things get underway. Run through the schedule. Remind everyone of the rules. Remind everyone what will happen if a tie-break is required. Keep it clear and simple. This is the best opportunity you have to ensure everyone understands how the day will run, and for you to field any final questions they might have.
12. Keep things moving
The key to a really fun and engaging event is pace. It should be fast-moving, and not have long periods of low activity. Always try to ensure you have the next round of competitors lined up and ready to go on. If you only have a limited number of cupping bowls, make sure you have someone responsible for grabbing, rinsing and replacing them promptly. Spectators get bored easily... it’s your job to keep things moving.
13. Should you charge spectators?
We strongly, strongly, strongly advise not to charge an entrance fee for spectators. Your event should be a showcase for great coffee, your sponsors and the fun atmosphere of the AeroPress Championship, so it’s best to keep things as open as possible.
14. Hire a DJ, appoint an emcee
The event should be fun. Yes, watching people plunge an AeroPress is good, but it’s even better when there’s some music playing and a comedic emcee in charge of the affair. Find someone in your coffee community who is engaging and funny, and give them a microphone. The rest will take care of itself.
15. Put on some catering
Again, it’s great watching strangers brew coffee, but it’s even better with a full belly and a few brewskis under the belt. Make room for some food trucks or burger vans so people can eat. We always provide free beer at the events we run ourselves -- it’s not compulsory by any stretch, but it usually helps ensure that our guests have a great time.
16. Capture the action
Between our social media channels, our partnership with Sprudge and our end-of-year book — The Annual — we have a lot of places to show off great photos and videos from your event. But we need you to gather them first. Hire a photographer, and make sure they get lots of photos of the event and not just the competition — take photos in the competitor practice area, in the audience, and outside at the food trucks, too. Remember: the better the photos, the more likely we are to use them. Hire a pro.
After the event
17. Send your winner to Seoul
We cannot overstate how important this is. It is your responsibility to pay for your winner’s flights and accommodation at the World AeroPress Championship final in Seoul, Korea. The event will be held in early November, 2017. Don’t be stingy — the flights should be as direct as possible, and the hotel should be of a good standard.
18. Send us the goods
The material that you send us is the lifeblood of promoting and celebrating your event; on Facebook, Instagram, Sprudge.com and now also in print. We’ll provide easy links for you to submit your photos and results, but within two weeks of your event being held we categorically need to have;
- Photos and videos: the higher the resolution, the better
- Results: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place getters, and their recipes
- Competitor listing: A spreadsheet of all competitor names and emails (where allowed)
19. When in doubt...
If you have questions or concerns over anything listed in this guide, or are unsure about how the advice above should be applied to your event, get in touch for our thoughts.
At all times, your event should strive to be fun, inclusive and welcoming for competitors and guests alike. The World AeroPress Championship is about building community, making friends, and celebrating coffee.
Use that ethos as your guiding light.