- by Vanessa Lee
To many coffee lovers and barista, AeroPress is a game changer. How amazing it is that this plastic, simple designed cheap coffee brewer can make such a delicious cup of coffee. It even magically cleans itself during the coffee extraction process. I am sure you are not unfamiliar with Aeropress. Some of you might even be a lover of AeroPress. However, have you ever thought of how it was invented ? Do you know who’s this genius ? In this blog post, we are going to dig into the mystery of AeroPress.
Who’s the genius? - Alan Adler
His name is Allan Adler, who invented the AeroPress coffee maker. He was a Stanford professor. In 1960s, he worked as an engineer designing submarine and nuclear reactor controls, instrumentation systems for military aircraft. Allan is curious about anything and this led him to become an inventor. He described himself as “the type of person who alway seek ways to make things better.” He owns over 40 patents.
One of his well-known inventions is the flying disc. In the mid-1970s, he came up with an idea of creating a flying disc- an object that would be “easy for the average person to throw with little effort.”In 1978, Skyro was then created and sold to Parker Brothers, a toy manufacturer.
Later, Alan disrupted the coffee game.
How the AeroPress was invented?
The idea came from Alan’s dinner table when his wife was expressing her struggle on brewing a single cup of coffee — “what do you guys do when you just want one cup of coffee?”
The frustration was real. Coffee makers at that time yielded 6-8 cups per brew which means most likely coffee would be wasted if you were only brewing for yourself. Alan would never allow this problem to bother him for long.
He then started inventing a coffee maker that would yield only a single cup. He studied the existing coffee makers. In 2010s, the most common coffee makers were French Press and Melitta dripper. Alan realised that the average wet time of a Melitta cone was about 4-5 minutes. The longer the brewing time, the easier extracting bitterness from the coffee. Yet, Alan figured that actually bitterness was possible to reduce by shortening the brew time.
He spent few weeks in his garage coming up with the solution - use air pressure to shorten the brew time. He created a plastic tube that used like a plunger. By this, it can compress the flavours quickly out of the grounds. The process of plunging the tube also self-cleans the device.
He and his team later spent a year more to perfect the design. In 2005, the AeroPress started to take off.
And this heat is worldwide.
World AeroPress Championship was born in Norway in 2008. Due to the love from the coffee industry, an simple idea came from 2 Norwegian barista - it’d be fun to see who could brew the best cup out of an AeroPress!
The competition has grown since then. Now 120 regional and national events take place in over 60 counties. Each season, more than 3000 competitors get involved.
This simplistic coffee brewer is now commonly seen in the specialty coffee scene.
Recently, there is even a documentary film on AeroPress coming soon. European Coffee Trip started the project on Kickstarter revealing the true stroy of this very iconic coffee maker. The film is expected to be finished in Jan 2018. Become a backer if you love AeroPress as well!
Bonus! - AeroPress brewing recipe
I hope you enjoy the article. I have been to the regional AeroPress championship for 2 times since 2016. Therefore, I spent sometimes on perfecting the AeroPress recipe. Thinking it’d be fun to share my recipe here. I am open for any discussion, comment and feedback!
Brew format : Traditional
Coffee Bean: Light roasted Colombia
Brew ratio : 1 : 13.5 ( 17g coffee : 230g water )
Grinder : EK 43 ( Grind size 6.5 )
Filter : Paper filter X 2 pcs
Brew Time : 2’10 total brew time ( inc. 20s pressing )
Water : 60 - 70ppm mineral water