Coffee lovers rejoice…. We think we may have stumbled onto the gadget that makes the perfect cup of coffee. It’s a funky-looking device called the AeroPress. Long story short, the Stanford University engineer who invented the Aerobie flying ring a couple of dozen years ago also has a fetish for really good coffee and just was never quite satisfied with what he got with pots, presses and other ways to brew a cuppa. So, like any good engineer, he researched the details of the coffee-making process, from temperature of water, to type of grind, to length of immersion time, to … well … yes, the engineering brain at work. He came up with what we will politely call a rather mundane-appearing -- perhaps you could call it geeky-looking -- plastic tube structure that makes -- assuming you follow the rather exacting directions -- THE best coffee in the whole wide world. Period. That’s it. Perfectly brilliant coffee. Now that's a superlative, but one that is well-deserved.
We’ve been running the system through its paces, both in the office, and on the road in hotel rooms. It’s a tube that has a bit of a wider ring on the bottom so it sits on top of a mug somewhat like a cone does. But there is another tube that acts as a plunger so it’s has some of the qualities of a press. You MUST follow the instructions to a tee, including the SHORT amount of time the coffee is actually sitting in the water before pressing. We’re talking about 10 seconds, java fans. Then press. You can get up to about 4 espresso-sized shots to which you can then add hot water for an Americano style cup of coffee, or milk for a latte. So all you need is hot water – readily available from camp stoves or hotel coffee machines.
There is absolutely no doubt that this contraption delivers one awesome, smooth cup o' java that will make you jump and jive. And, thanks to its unique design, the cleaning process couldn’t be easier either. Simply finish pushing the plunger through the tube and it ejects the used grounds in a form that looks like a brown hockey puck with its small round of filter paper attached. A simple rinse of the plastic tube and container and you’re ready to store it away for the next use, or fire up another round.
If we have but one quibble, it’s that the contraption looks like something out of an eighth-grade chemistry kit. Really, the design is in desperate need of some zippity-do-da, especially if there is any chance of it also being used in the kitchen at home regularly. The packaging? Same comment: it looks as if an engineer designed it. Wait, maybe he did. Although, we suppose, since the primary purpose is to make a good cup of coffee -- and it excels at that in spades -- perhaps we should just close our eyes and pump away.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $32 for the “outdoor version,” which means it comes with a nylon zippered tote bag (otherwise, $30)
For more information:www.aerobie.com