Inventor-engineer Alan Adler is the man behind the record-setting Aerobie Flying Ring and the widely beloved AeroPress coffee maker. In this profile by filmmaker David Friedman, Adler tells the stories behind his superior designs— and man, is he ever charming*. I defy you to watch this and not fall in love with the guy.
Some inventions are just a better way to do something that’s already being done—an improved a product. Other inventions are pretty new, and I would say that the AeroPress Coffee Maker is quite new. [Adler invented the AeroPress in 2005.]
When you look at the coffee brewing process, it’s interesting that it’s really just a succession of of shorter and shorter processes. A hundred years ago, people used to throw some grounds of coffee into a pot and boil it for as long as an hour. Around 1950, there was quite a leap forward in coffee making called the “automatic drip machine,” and it took about 5 minutes. The Aeropress cuts that time of 5 minutes down to about one minute.
*I’ve never met Adler, so can’t say how much of his likability in this video is down to his personality and how much is down to Friedman’s editing. But, based on what I’ve read about Adler (e.g. this interview with Backchannel, published earlier this year, and this 2014 interview with FastCompany), I’d wager Friedman’s edits merely highlight the inherent magnetism of a highly curious, inventive, and pleasant dude. I mean come on:
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