In May, baristas from around the world congregated to compete in the 6th Annual World AeroPress Championships in Melbourne, Australia. This simple coffee-brewing device has become a cult object that inspires devotion among its users. It has become an established part of the coffee-lover's landscape yet it's a relative baby, launched as recently as 2005
The AeroPress kit consists of seven injection-moulded parts. The chamber and plunger are made from a smoke-coloured copolyester (the plunger's seal is made from a thermoplastic elastomer). The filter cap, measuring scoop, stirrer, funnel and filter storage device are made from black PP.
An espresso-style coffee can be made in less than a minute. First a paper filter is put in the filter cap and this is screwed to the underside of the chamber. The chamber is then placed over a cup. Two scoops of ground coffee are added to the chamber and water, at 80°C, is poured to the specified level. The water and ground coffee are mixed for 10 seconds with the stirrer before inserting the plunger. The plunger is pushed down gently for 20 seconds. The tight seal creates air pressure which forces the water through the grounds, extracting a rich and flavoursome brew.
AeroPress is made in the US by Aerobie, the company best known for the eponymous flying disc that still holds the Guinness World Record for the “longest throw of an object”. It was designed by Aerobie's inventor, Alan Adler, a lecturer in engineering at Stanford University. A coffee lover, Adler was disappointed by the quality of home brewing systems. After 50 prototype coffee makers, Adler settled on the AeroPress design.
The design has remained constant since 2005, apart from a change of materials – before August 2009 the chamber and plunger were made from polycarbonate. Despite extensive testing to prove that AeroPress didn't leach harmful amounts of Bisphenol A (BPA), public concern about the safety of plastics containing BPA convinced Aerobie to shift to copolyester.