According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is currently set at 406.3 meters by the Aerobie. An Aerobie made the record-setting flight in 2003, breaking its own previous 1986 record. Somewhere in between the two throws, when I was still a kid, my dad brought home a funny-looking, floppy Frisbee with no center, which was supposed to fly farther than any other Frisbee on the market. It was, of course, the Aerobie. And it was, of course, the perfect gift for kids living in the suburbs, where any throw of a reasonable distance meant having to beg the neighbors to give it back.
I hadn't thought about that old Aerobie disc (or the ensuing neighbor-related adventures) in quite some time. But this week I stumbled across this list of other products made by the company, bringing it back to mind: Aerobie Pro. Aerobie Orbiter. SharpShooter. Aerobie Sprint. Superdisc. Skylighter. Squidgie Disc. Squidgie Ball. Dogobie (for dogs). Aerobie Footballs. AeroSpin Yo-Yo. AeroPress Coffee Maker. Megatop Spinning Top.
...Wait wait wait. Back up! The AeroPress Coffee Maker? What the...
Yes, it's true. The much-acclaimed, moderately disputed AeroPress Coffee Maker is put out by . . . a Frisbee company. It seems a strange switch of demographic, but it also seems to be working well for the company.
And while I find it odd more than anything, I confess that I also find it disappointing. It seems to me, if a Frisbee company is going to go to the trouble of patenting a coffee brewer, they ought to also put some unique thought into the coffee product design. Such as: an accompanying boomerang that will fetch coffee when ready. Or a wall-mounting system which will allow a foam football thrown from across a room to press the coffee for you. Cool coffee perks such as these would certainly make the AeroPress a best seller.
But meanwhile, it seems to be doing all right on its own. Multiple comments in the AeroPress marketing materials supply glowing testimonies: best cup of coffee ever, swearing off espresso permanently, far superior to a French press, etc.
This past year, for Christmas, my sister gave me an AeroPress for experimental coffee brewing. It sat in the box for a while, and then surfaced to make me a cup of coffee one day when I wasn't in a hurry, and felt like getting creative. As far as the coffee goes, it really isn't bad at all. (Of course, this is dependent on the exact same variables as any other coffee maker: beans, grind, dose, water temp, and ability to follow directions, to begin with. An AeroPress won't fix your coffee if you're buying low quality beans, or brewing negligently.)
It is not the best cup of coffee I've ever had, as the testimonies proclaim, but it does produce a simple, quickly made, easily cleaned-up, fairly consistent single cup of coffee. And these are all points of key importance in home-brewing coffee. Particularly cleanup. Anything that means not finding half-full, two-day-old press pots around the house, will make Yours Truly super-happy . . . therefore, I recommend this product. Especially to my roommates.
Curious how you can start using an AeroPress of your own? You'll find a list of retailers published online here: Aerobie USA Product Retailers.