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A Voice from Origin: Brewing from Kigali to Nairobi

Written by AeroPress Champion Smayah Uwajeneza

In September of 2018, as I was working at Question coffee as a senior barista, I and my coworker heard about the Aeropress championship that was being hosted in Kenya, Nairobi.

Four of us wanted to participate in the region’s championship and our former boss Adam said that they’d only be able to purchase flights for one person, unless we all took a bus from Kigali to Nairobi which is about a 19 hour or more trip.

We started practicing with a lot of different coffees and mixed in different processes that included coffee from women coffee growers across Rwanda.

Two weeks later, We boarded a bus to Kenya, carrying our finest Rwandan coffee to compete. It was a very scary, yet exciting route.

We arrived a day before the championship; meaning we missed the champ practices. We all thought we were going to compete with Rwandan coffee. Myself, Dan and my colleagues were ready for competition.

Then our host Stephen informed us that we’d be competing with Kenyan coffee.

That night I slept pretty late to ensure the recipe I created was still going to be fine and tasty with Kenyan coffee. Our host was kind enough to give us a clue of the flavor notes that we should try to find.

Crazy thing is, I was only able to get these flavors during the fourth final cup I made using cool water that I couldn’t reheat because the plug had an issue.

Almost magically I was able to get a final delicious cup with low temp water to brew with.

I went through competition the next morning and as I went through passing rounds after rounds, I was telling everyone the secret behind my recipe. I wasn’t really sure that I would win Kenyans. So I made it more fun and informative. In the end, I did win the competition as the East African Aeropress Champ.

Two months later I traveled to Sydney for the World Aeropress Championship- where I met amazing and supportive people that made my time there a lifetime highlight.

Though I didn’t win the world championship, I knew that every cup of coffee I brewed made a positive impact in the lives of the people around me and in the people that I represent.

I love aeropress coffee. I think you will too. Try my award winning recipe below!


AeroPress Recipe:

28g of medium fine coffee

280ml of 85°C/185°F water

2:30 minutes

Goose Kettle




Step 1:

Set the piston to four (brew inverted method), and pre-heat the chamber with hot water, discarding the rinsing water and placing your brewer on the scale.

Step 2:

Grind the coffee and transfer the ground into a chamber. Level the grounds by shaking it gently.

Step 3:

Heat your water to 80°C/185°F and start pouring onto the grounds. Don't forget to start your timer right away.

Step 4:

Once your reach 80g let your coffee bloom for 20 seconds.

Step 5:

Proceed pouring water in circular motion until you reach 200ml. Next stir your coffee five times, and attach the filter cap.

Step 6:

Flip your AeroPress over and land it inside of your cup. Gently go for the plunge, and press until you hear your AeroPress hissing.

Step 7:

Taste your concentrate before diluting with 80ml of water. Stir, let cool, sit back and enjoy.


For more from Smayah be sure to follow her on instagram at @wise_smayah


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