Like many men, Alan Adler deplored his poor-quality home coffee maker. Unlike many men, he fired up the industrial lathe he keeps in his garage and did something about it.
This was in 2004. Adler—a mechanical engineer and the founder of a Palo Alto (Calif.) toy company called Aerobie, which makes the famous flying disc—knew that the longer coffee brews, the more bitter and acidic it tastes. He wondered if air pressure could rapidly force hot water through the grounds. The result, after 30-odd prototypes, was the AeroPress.