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First Timers: The 12 Virgin Nations of 2016



We all remember our first time, don’t we? I certainly do.

It was in the early summer of 2014. The setting… a beach on the Italian coast. And as the sun dipped below the horizon, turning a deep and lustful hue of orange, Tim Varney took me by the hand, coaxed me from the shore towards the Turquoise beach club.

“Let’s AeroPress…” he whispered…. and AeroPress we did.

And just like me on that fateful and slightly disturbing day, this year we’re welcoming twelve virgin nations to the global fold as first time AeroPressers — countries who will be fielding their first competitor in this year’s World AeroPress Championship in Dublin on June 23rd.


Nick Ferras of Kudu Coffee Roasters has undertaken the 1st Hellenic AeroPress Championship in Greece, meaning that Athenians (more typically enthused by a Nescafe Frappe) can witness competitive AeroPress brewing for the first time.

Appalled that of all the countries of the United Kingdom, her mighty homeland of Wales had been left off the calendar, proud native and La Marzocco family member, Estelle Bright, teamed up with Cardiff tea purveyor (and all round lovely chap), Kas Ali of Waterloo Tea to run the Inaugural Welsh AeroPress Championship and make it a full house of national events in the U.K. and Ireland region.

Despite never having hosted a competition before, this year we received multiple applications from Romania for the opportunity to run the event. In the end it was Afshin Roshanian of Artisan Cafe entrusted with the first round responsibility of hosting the 2016 Romanian AeroPress Championship.

And not to be outdone by their Romanian neighbours, just over the border in Ukraine and on behalf of the country’s Specialty Coffee Association, Roman Ponomarov of Fair Finch Coffee is bringing the plunge towards glory to the nation’s capital of Kiev at the 2016 Ukrainian AeroPress Championship.

When Domas Ivonis of Taste Map Coffee Roasters in Vilnius, Lithuania sent us an application declaring that he “would love to host the championship 1000%!!!”, we looked past the obvious mathematical impossibility and overuse of exclamation marks to the unbridled enthusiasm that lay underneath and gave him a shot at hosting the 2016 Lithuanian AeroPress Championship.

South America

If there’s any country on our calendar that’s had a tough run lately, then Venezuela would close to the top of the list. Yet, every Venezuelan we meet is optimistic and hopeful, and we’re sure that Pietro Carbone of CarbonEspresso will be bringing that positivity to the 2016 Venezuelan AeroPress Championship in Caracas at the end of the month.

Back in 2014 every competitor in the World AeroPress Championship finals in Rimini brewed with coffee grown and processed in Ecuador, and now in 2016 the nation is hosting their own competition. Organised by Jonathon Ramirez of Cafe Velez, Quito will be the host city for the 2016 Ecuador AeroPress Championship.

Despite being a good friend of ours for some time, this year will be a first for both Luis Velez and Colombia as Amor Perfecto cafe puts on the first Colombian AeroPress Championship. And there’s even more AeroPress news to come out of this South American country in the coming weeks, so stay tuned…

Middle East

Taking the cake for most impressive debut, Saudi Arabia has jumped straight into things with three regional competitions as well as their national final. Organised by Wayel Al-Wohaibi, hosted by Varietal Cafe and supported by a slew of other companies, the 2016 Saudia Arabia AeroPress Championship in Riyadh was a great success attracting over 75 competitors.

Not only was 2016 the first year hosting for United Arab Emirates, but we’re pretty sure this was the first AeroPress competition to be held inside a food truck. The very enthusiastic and proactive sender of updates (we love you, Julian) Julian Loayza of Mohka1450 took on the responsibility of co-ordinating a bevy of supporters to put on an excellent outdoor event in Dubai.

Rounding out the region was the (very!) late-coming Iran — but we’re delighted to have them on board. Just sneaking over the line, Arin Khachatoorian got an application to us on behalf of Cafe Graph just in time to approve their competition, happening in Tehran in May.


With specialty coffee currently poised to explode in Indonesia and an application from Venerdi Handoyo and a group called ‘A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers’, how could we resist approving the 2016 Indonesian AeroPress Championship, set to take place in Jakarta? And while we couldn’t take up the invitation to go and judge ourselves, we learned that for some reason it’s tricky to FedEx cupping bowls into Indonesia. #AlwaysLearning

This year, we’ve had twelve new countries join the competition, and next year we want to add that many again! We want to see even more communities getting together to celebrate diverse and tasty coffee, and to have some fun and make new friends while they do it. National competitions aren’t particularly difficult or expensive to organise, and if you’re a coffee producing country we’ll make it even easier for you.

If you’re even remotely interested in hosting an event in 2017, then drop us a line and we can get the ball rolling.

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