Alan Adler, the Aeropress... a mini-biography

It is not every day that you get to meet a true Toy-legend. So, I count my blessings that my wife and I got to spend about 3 or 4 hours with one of the inventor-legends, Alan Adler, his lovely wife, Irene and his Grand-daughter Constance.

Quick summary for starters: Alan`s team at Aerobie Industries (creator of the Aerobie Flying Disc) contacted me about testing and reviewing the Aeropress Coffee maker. Sure, I said. I will test anything. Anytime. Anywhere.

I gave the Aeropress coffee maker a good going over and you can read the original review here and a live test here.

Alan contacted me some weeks ago, in July, as my wife and I were just starting our summer of 4 day weeks - long weekends every weekend! We were doing little get-aways here and there as well as exploring the inner spaces around Southern Vancouver Island. It was much to my surprise when Alan called asking me if I was going to be in Victoria during a late July weekend. Sure, I said. You come. We will be here for you. At your service or something to that effect!

In a phone conversation or two, Alan and I discussed what they might like to do while here and what their tastes were in food so I could book a suitable restaurant. Anything but raw fish - sushi he said. Raw fish or sushi. Ok. I can handle that.

I booked a table for 5 at a restaurant in Victoria called Milestones.
I know, I know. They are an upscale Earls or Joey Tomatoes, or the Sirloiner (if you are American you know what The Sirloiner is... I guess). Big menu. No raw fish. Honest.

Anyhow. The evening arrived. My Wife and I were a little giddy with anticipation (both of us are a little shy). I mean. You never know. These people could have, well, been anybody. Good. Bad. Wierd. Who knows. You make your reservations, you take your chances. No raw fish.

We arrived early. Fashionably early you might say. We were seated by the hostess with, thankfully, a good sight-line to the entrance. As a bonus, the hostess took our names and the name of Alan`s crew - excellent. Within a few minutes they strode through the door.

Alan was pretty much like what I imagined from the few photos I had seen or googled; tall fit looking older guy with a kind of `science-guy` quality about him. Ah. My kind of guy.

A few Alan facts: Electronics engineer. Teaches or has taught at Stanford. Lives in California. Has a dozen or so inventions under his belt and fistfuls of patents. He carries himself like a hands-on kind of guy, but with the curiousity of a ten-year old boy. It is not every day that you can have an intelligent conversation with another human being that is actually so interested in what you have to say - so interested that he is hanging onto my every word as if extracting something even deeper than I can fathom. Alan is a science guy. An inventor. A master of observation.

Alan puts aside his power of observation and scientific probability and orders the grilled fish salad off the menu.

So does his Wife, Irene.

It comes as no surprise to me when the meals arrive and the grilled fish is half-raw.

I snap my fingers attracting the wait staff (actually, I do not)... "Le serveur, les poissons est cru! "
Didn`t do that either. I knew. Living in the Northwest, I know full well how fish is cooked on the grill.

Somehow my powers of observation were switched off or in sleep saver when Alan and Irene were making their culinary decision. I always order something safe; like tofu or chicken.

Anyway. The food was great. Everything was taken care of.

Funny thing though - Alan had one eye on the ladies the whole time (while we were talking) and the moment they took their last nibble, he said: "Let`s get outta here so we can talk..." Turkey I assume. Turkey.

He paid the bill. Wow. Thanks Alan (and Irene and Constance!) ...and then handed me an Aerobie Flying Disc.

The five of us walked down Government Street past shops, cafes and towards Victoria's Chinatown - the five of us, 3 ladies, and 2 guys... but not in formation. Gender formation perhaps.

Alan likes to talk about Electronics. Good thing. It is my major background. He talks Astronomy. And radio communications. My interests too. We talked about coffee, coffee people, conferences, the internet, online forums, coffee celebrity, marketing and on and on and on.

Before I knew it we were several steps away from an old favorite ice cream palour on Government - Sweet Memories.

Alan blurts, "I want an ice-cream cone!"
I flag down the ladies who are a, very safe, 3 to 5 meters ahead of us (that is 15 feet for you Americans)

Ice cream. I announce. Constance tunes in to the offer and we queue up.

Alan and I order single Turkish Coffee waffle cones. Surprise, surprise.

Between bites of Island fresh ice-cream, Alan describes his Baratza Virtuoso experiences. I listen to his description of what is happening with the grinder and agree.
Within minutes we are at our cross-roads and it is time for my wife and I to head off to our car and they back to their hotel. You know what they say - good time, had by all.

The following night we gave them a car tour of Victoria and the immediate environment of James Bay, Oak Bay, Fairfield, Uplands, the University and Rockland -- and then back to their hotel. They love our city. Who wouldn`t?

In the next chapter on Alan Adler we will talk about the Discovery Coffee visit -- and much more coffee talk!

Til then,
Colin the editor |