Among coffee lovers, the Aeropress is a game changer. A small, cheap plastic appliance that looks like a plunger crossed with an oversized syringe which produces one of the best cups of coffee in the world. People who love this must have coffee gadget claim that coffee brewed with the Aeropress is more delicious than those brewed using thousand-dollar coffee makers (although your local barista would strongly disagree!) One of its best features is that the Aeropress tends to clean itself magically, during the coffee extraction process, which is a rarity. Nothing bad can be said about this device, apart from that fact that it looks quite different from other coffee brewers on the market.
Who Invented the Aeropress Coffee Maker?
Allan Adler, a Stanford professor, invented the Aeropress coffee maker. He is an inventor known all over the world with a knack for funny-looking plastic items. While his company (Aerobie) is mainly popular due to this advanced coffee maker, the firm first became prominent in the 1980s, due to their invention of a new type of frisbee that managed to set some new world records. Adler found it very difficult to sit back and be satisfied with something that was not doing exactly what he wished. That is how he developed his skills to become one of the best modern-day inventors.
The idea of the Aeropress came about one day when Adler was having dinner with members of his company. A wife to one of the sales managers suggested that she was always having problems when she just wanted to brew a single cup of coffee.
Adler himself was a long-time coffee lover, and he had pondered over the same issue for a long period. He had increasingly grown frustrated about most coffee makers of the time, since they mainly yielded 6 to 8 cups of coffee per brew. This meant that if you didn’t have friends, you would end up drinking the 8 cups by yourself. This is quite impossible, which means that some of the yielded coffee would go to waste. Adler couldn’t allow this problem to bother him any longer. He was known to develop solutions, and that is exactly what he set forth to achieve. He went to his garage/laboratory and started the process of inventing a coffee maker that would yield only a single cup.
He started the work by experimenting with various pre-existing coffee-making methods. During that period, automatic drip makers were the most common. However, professional coffee brewers of the time opted for the pour-over method. In this method, you either use a French press or a Melitta cone. He found gaps in these devices and wanted to come up with a better device that would address the shortcomings in those devices.
The Design Process
The Melitta cone is placed over a cup with a filter. You then pour water into it. According to Adler, it has an average time of around 5 minutes. The longer you wait, the more the bitterness or acidity you leech out of the coffee grounds. Adler realised this could be improved and the waiting time dramatically reduced. This would do away with bad-tasting coffee, which was unfortunately all too common. He realised that he could use air pressure, to enhance the flavour and reduce the time spent on the process. He came up with a prototype after just a few weeks working in his garage-cum-laboratory.
His device involved a plastic tube using a plunger-like action. This would compress the flavours quickly out of the coffee grounds. He made his first coffee with his device and immediately realised he had invented something special. Adler called his business manager immediately to sample the coffee. On tasting the coffee, Tennant; the business manager, assured Alan that the device would have a huge demand, not only in the United States but other countries as well.
Perfecting the Design
The prototype was followed by a whole year of perfecting the design. He tried different configurations and sizes. Sometimes during this process, he could not even figure out how to use the device. Finally, he developed the final product, calling it the Aerobie Aeropress.
How do you use the Aeropress?
It was simple to operate, all you have to do is place a filter together with coffee grounds in a plastic tube. You then proceed to pour hot water and then stir for around 10 seconds. After that, simply insert the plunger into the tube, and then press down slowly. With the help of air pressure in the tube, the water will be forced through the grounds and drip into your coffee mug, which is positioned below. This procedure makes pure coffee, which almost resembles the espresso in terms of strength. See our Aeropress Brew Guide for a more in-depth account of the Aerobie brewing process.
The good news is that it can be diluted with the addition of water, to achieve your perfect blend. When you plunge the tube, the device cleans itself. However, Adler claims that this happened due to luck. He had not conceived it that way. With this new method, people could make coffee much faster. In fact, it shortened the process of making coffee from 5 minutes to 1 minute. Apart from that, Adler insists that his paper filters are reusable for up to 25 times each!
With the final product ready, Adler tasked his marketing team to find a formidable partner. When the Aeropress hit the stores, it immediately distinguished itself from what was already available. Most coffee makers would only make multiple cups and would cost much more. The Aeropress established itself as a new trend of single-cup coffee brewers. It immediately became an instant hit. The thing is, Adler did not give up on his idea, even when sales hit rock bottom. From 2008, sales picked up gradually, and they have since sold more than a million units.
The Aeropress is now a common feature on the speciality coffee scene. It remains a best-seller, and one of the fastest growing products. Sales continue increasing each year. Apart from that, the brand has managed to hold Aeropress championships since 2008, growing in stature and popularity over the years. Presently, Aeropress championships are held in close to 50 countries before the international final. Participants and competitors bring along their unique recipes, and the winners are selected based on their brewing expertise and techniques. The possibilities of what can be done with this coffee maker are endless. Of course, Aeropress coffee is the best!