Sunday, April 27, 2014

Meeting Alan Adler - My Rockstar Moment at SCAA 2014

For the last two days, I've been wandering the Washington State Convention Center enjoying the sights, smells and tastes of the Specialty Coffee Association of America's 2014 Event.  The entire spectrum of specialty coffee is represented here, from growers to roasters, cafes to food processing and packaging companies, repair parts to purveyors of tea. But I ran into Alan Adler, the inventor and designer of the Aeropress coffee maker.

I was first introduced to Alan's products when I got an Aerobie for Christmas during my childhood. If you're not familiar with the Aerobie, it was a bright orange, unique ring shaped frisbee that could be easily thrown long distances.

Fast forward to a few years ago, and I got more and more into coffee. While I really love espresso, I've always been interested in how I can get excellent coffee while hiking, another one of my passions. While learning about different methods to make coffee, I read about the Aeropress in online forums.  I'll admit, I was a bit of a skeptic that something as simple as that could make great coffee.

Fast forward a few more years, when I had stopped telecommuting and worked in an office in downtown Seattle (read: no longer working at home with my espresso machine), I was getting fed up with the coffee provided in the work kitchen. Yeah, even though I work in the coffee mecca of the Northwest and have more than 5 excellent cafe's within blocks of my workplace, the coffee in the office just wasn't very good.

One of my co-workers had an Aeropress and he made me a cup of coffee one day. He was deliberate about it, carefully measuring the water temperature, brew time and the amount of water. And the little plastic plunger coffee maker really did make excellent coffee.

I was hooked. A low price, easily portable coffee maker that makes great coffee.  Thoughts of fresh brewed coffee while backpacking were going through my head and I bought one. I make coffee almost every work day with my Aeropress and bring it home with me on the weekends. I've even found the cafe that will sell beans and grind them for me.

So, back to SCAA 2014. When I was walking through the Expo Hall, I was totally excited to see Alan Adler at the Aeropress booth. I even got my wife to snap our picture while I was having my geek out, meeting a rock star moment.

While chatting with Alan, he shared that his preferred Aeropress brew method was straight up, which is neat because all of the people of I know use the inverted method.  He also keeps the brew time to a minimum. I'm going to have to try the straight up technique next time.

He wouldn't share what his next big thing was, but he did assure me that there were ideas on the burners!

Who are the rock stars that you'd want to meet that reveal what kind of a geek you are?

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