Back to stories

Meet the Champ, Jennifer Ho | Grounds of Wisdom Ep. 05

Singapore AeroPress Championship 2023 is right around the corner, and the pressure is on — or not! When we think of a championship, we often envision a highly competitive event to determine a champion. While that may hold true, the AeroPress Championship goes beyond the search for the best brewed cup of coffee. It's about fostering a community, making friends, and celebrating coffee making in an inclusive and enjoyable environment.

Alan Adler, the inventor of Aeropress

 Alan Adler, The Inventor of AeroPress

What is AeroPressyou ask? In 2004, Alan Adler, an inventor and retired Stanford University engineering instructor, embarked on a study of the coffee brewing process to find a way to brew a better cup of coffee. One year later, the AeroPress was born. AeroPress is an immersion-style coffee maker, where medium-fine ground coffee is immersed in the chamber for a short brew time. It is renowned for being one of the simplest and fastest methods of brewing coffee.

In 2008, the World AeroPress Championship began in Oslo, and has since grown to span 120 regional and national coffee brewing competitions taking place in over 60 countries. Each season sees more than 3000 competitors get involved, from professional cafe baristas to home coffee brewers.

Recently, we had the pleasure of inviting Jennifer, a home brewer, to the Common Man Coffee Roasters Barista Academy, where she shared her impressive journey from last year. Jennifer is the defending Singapore AeroPress Champion and the second runner-up in the World AeroPress Championship 2022 (WAC) held in Vancouver, Canada.

Jennifer Ho, 2nd Runner Up of World AeroPress Championship 2022

Jennifer Ho, the Singapore AeroPress Champion and the second runner-up in the 2022 World AeroPress Championship (WAC).

Hello Jennifer, thank you for joining me today. Could you share with us how your coffee brewing journey began and what motivated you to participate in the Singapore AeroPress Championship (SAC)?

Hello, You Quan, hello everyone! Well, I was hanging out at the cafe where my friend, Novem, works when the registration for SAC opened up. She encouraged me to sign up for the championship, and since competitors were selected through a ballot system, I thought there was nothing to lose and took the plunge.

I had never brewed coffee before, but it was my goal to try something new every year. When I was selected as one of the SAC competitors, the first thing I did was ask Novem to be my coach and mentor. She has been incredibly helpful in providing advice, conducting tastings, and offering unwavering support throughout my journey from the national to the world stage.

That's amazing! How did you both train and develop the winning recipe that took you to the finals on both the national and world stages?

Our approach was quite straightforward. We asked ourselves which cup of brewed coffee we would personally enjoy as customers. For me, it has been quite a learning curve because I actually prefer drinking tea over coffee. So, I related many of our coffee tasting sessions to my tea experience. For example, I always aim to eliminate the “siap-ness” (astringency) from the coffee I brew since I dislike that aftertaste.

We kept the variables minimal in our brewing process, focusing primarily on grind size as the main factor and temperature as a secondary factor. Additionally, we kept the water composition simple by following the recommendations from 3W water during the SAC. Perfect Water was the sponsored water in WAC, which removed one concern for us.

World AeroPress ChampionshipLeft: Jibbi Little, Australia (Winner of WAC '22), Simon Derutter, Belgium (1st Place in WAC '22), Jennifer Ho, Singapore (2nd Place in WAC '22).

You mentioned that you had never manually brewed coffee before participating in the AeroPress Championship. Could you share your experience with the AeroPress as a brewing equipment?

I absolutely love it! It's so easy to use compared to some of the more "complicated" brewing devices I've seen Novem use in the cafe. Not to mention the multiple steps involved, such as pouring the water in a specific way and in multiple phases. It's just too advanced for me at the moment (laughs). With the AeroPress, I simply add the coffee grounds into the chamber, pour in the water, and let it brew before enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Jennifer. We hope your story will inspire more home brewers like you to join the SAC and have as much fun as you did!

The Singapore AeroPress Championship will be held on Thursday 22nd June 2023 at Lowercase, LASALLE College of the Arts. The 2023 World AeroPress Championship will be held in Melbourne, Australia.