Brewing Experiments: Mikaela Wallgren’s 2016 World Brewers Cup Championship Recipe

World Brewers Cup runner up Mikaela Wallgren shows us how she makes coffee for competition and in her cafe using simple techniques and  homemade  tools.

Mikaela Wallgren, the 2016 Brewers Cup Champion of Finland and 2016 World Brewers Cup runner up, made it a point to mention that her competition coffee and methodology were almost identical to what she does every day at her job at The Coffee Collective. So, you know, if you don’t already have The Coffee Collective on your Scandinavian bucket list, I’d suggest you add it immediately. According to Mikaela, the only difference between the daily shop routine and her Brewers Cup routine was that she sieved her competition coffee before brewing it.

Mikaela used the Kalita 155 to brew her coffee. I found an AeroPress funnel quite helpful for avoiding dry coffee chaos. This brewer is small!
Mikaela used the Kalita 155 to brew her coffee. I found an AeroPress funnel quite helpful for avoiding dry coffee chaos. This brewer is small!

Many coffee competitors use sieves to separate their ground coffee according to particle size, allowing for a more even extraction. Particles of similar size will all brew similarly ”making it much easier to determine the best brew recipe and increasing the potential for the coffee to blow minds and win accolades.

During my interview  with Mikaela, I asked her what device she used to sieve her coffee, fully expecting to hear about a frighteningly expensive device designed specifically to separate coffee grounds with great precision. You can imagine my surprise when she told me that she had actually made it herself using a cake mold and a frying pan cover.

Mikaela chose to filter out the fines (ultra fine particles that are a natural result of the grinding process) because their small size causes them to brew faster and add some bitterness to the coffee.
Mikaela chose to filter out the fines (ultra fine particles that are a natural result of the grinding process) because their small size causes them to brew faster and add some bitterness to the coffee.

There is no doubt that a sophisticated and exacting sifting device like the Kruve  has great value. However, based upon Mikaela’s huge success on the world stage, there is also no doubting the value of even an incredibly simple device. This realization gave me the boldness to create my own sieve using the equipment I had available so that I could try Mikaela’s recipe for myself.

Many tea brewers fit nicely into mason jars. Put the ground coffee in the tea basket, screw the lid on, and shake the whole thing back and forth for about a minute to separate out the fines.
Many tea brewers fit nicely into mason jars. Put the ground coffee in the tea basket, screw the lid on, and shake the whole thing back and forth for about a minute to separate out the fines.

THE RECIPE

  • Add flow restrictor to kettle
  • Heat water to 205 °F (96 °C)
  • Grind 17-18g coffee medium fine (Mikaela did 6.3 on a Mahlkonig EK43. I had my best results between 12-14 on my Baratza Encore)
  • Sift out the fines
  • Place a white paper filter into a Kalita Wave 155  and rinse it throughly
  • Be sure to pour out any excess water
  • Place 15g ground and sifted coffee in the Kalita and shake brewer to level the coffee
  • Start a timer and spiral pour 30g water in 10 seconds
  • At 0:30 slow continuous spiral pour with pacing to reach 250g total water at 1:45
  • At 2:35 remove brewer
The water stream required for this recipe is very small. I highly suggest getting a flow restrictor unless your hands are much steadier than mine.
The water stream required for this recipe is very small. I highly suggest getting a flow restrictor unless your hands are much steadier than mine.

As always, experimentation and comparative tasting are highly encouraged. Try brewing un-sieved and sieved coffee side by side and noting the differences. If you have a few types of tea brewers around, compare and contrast the results of each. If you have a mesh pan cover and a tea brewer, see which sieving method produced the nicer cup. Be sure to record your results and share them in the comments section so that we can all learn and grow together!

joshua-dusk-peebles-bio-picABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joshua Dusk-Peebles
 is a lifelong explorer, experimenter, and learner. He enjoys nothing more than sharing what he is learning with other people. When he was young, he would get legitimately angry if his dad forgot to let him smell the coffee every time a new bag was opened. Unfortunately, the much less pleasant corresponding beverage kept him away from coffee until his 30s, when he smelled and then tasted a well-handled natural process Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, and everything made sense again. He plans on getting his own new-born son started much sooner. He can be reached at  dusk.peebles@yahoo.com  or found online at duskcoffee.com.

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