Alan Adler

Inventor Story

The Story Of Alan Adler And Why AeroPress

AeroPress inventor and engineer Alan Adler has been honing his inventing skills since he was 13 years old. That was when he came up with an idea for a useful tool: an electronic device for measuring minute displacements in structures. When he described his invention to an engineer, the engineer was flabbergasted to hear that a 13 year old had invented it. He told Alan that his creation was an existing device called a "strain gage" that had been invented the year Alan was born! So began Alan's lifelong inventing streak.

In Alan's early career he worked as an electrical engineer designing systems for high tech companies. He was fascinated by sailboats and taught himself aerodynamics so that he could learn to design them. His studies led him to design a radically light boat he called the Fast-40 which became a production series manufactured in Rockland, Maine. Alan also designed a 60-foot racing ketch he called Etosha, which was the first monohull to finish in the 1998 Singlehanded TransPacific Race from San Francisco to Hawaii.

But it was in the 1980s that the company now known as AeroPress was born. At that point, Alan was frustrated. The company that sold his invention, the Skyro flying ring, just wasn't manufacturing the product to the standards he'd hoped they would. When Alan invented the groundbreaking Aerobie™ flying ring, which went on to set a Guinness World Record for farthest thrown object at an incredible 1,333 feet (406 meters), his wife Irene suggested that he start his own company in order to manufacture and sell his new invention just the way he wanted. So in 1984 he founded Superflight, Inc. to do just that.

Aerobie is a trademark of Spin Master Ltd.

“Adler used Air Pressure to shorten the brew time and reduce bitterness and more quickly compress flavor out of the grounds”


Over the course of two decades, Alan cemented Superflight’s reputation as the go-to company for thoughtfully designed, meticulously engineered high performance sporting goods by introducing 18 total products to great acclaim. In 2005 he changed the company name to Aerobie, Inc. after recognizing that millions of people knew the company by its Aerobie brand.

In 2003, Alan embarked on a new adventure - a dramatic departure from the company’s progress until that point. Dismayed by his own bad experiences with home coffee makers, and inspired by a conversation about how difficult it was to make a single cup of good coffee, Alan began to experiment with ways to do just that. He spent months studying the coffee brewing process to determine which variables affect the taste of brewed coffee. Once he understood the ideal conditions for brewing a cup of coffee, Alan set about designing a manual coffee press that would brew coffee under those ideal conditions. Two years and over 30 prototypes later he finalized the design and introduced the AeroPress coffee maker at Coffee Fest Seattle in November 2005. The AeroPress coffee maker has earned rave reviews for the delicious flavor of the coffee it brews.

Today, Alan holds over 40 patents. He has designed instrumentation systems for military aircraft, nuclear reactors, and submarines, a paraboloid lens for telescopes, and dozens of flutes in addition to his boats and Aerobie products. Along with the course on sensors he taught for Stanford University's mechanical engineering students, he has given guest lectures on engineering design, aerodynamics, and inventing at NASA, Google, Caltech, Princeton, UC Davis, and The Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

The Road to the Perfect 2 Minute Brew

  • Alan begins work on a new kind of coffee maker to quickly brew a superior single cup of coffee out of his garage in Palo Alto, California.


    Aeropress 2003
  • First World AeroPress Recipe Championship (WAC) held in Oslo, Norway with just three competitors.


    Aeropress 2008
  • WAC’s numbers jump even further with a record-breaking 35 countries holding recipe events.


    Gold AeroPress
  • World AeroPress Recipe Championship hits a milestone of reaching 60 countries.


    Aeropress 2017
  • Tiny acquires AeroPress, Inc., kicking off a wave of unprecedented new product innovation.


    Aeropress 2003
  • WAC celebrates its 15-year anniversary with its largest global cohort yet: over 5,000 competitors across 178 National and Regional events.



Product Innovation Over the Years

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2014
  • 2019
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
Aeropress 2009

We changed the material used in the AeroPress Original away from polycarbonate to address consumer concerns about BPA

Aeropress 2010

We add a smoky grey tint to the AeroPress Original to address consumer concerns about coffee staining.

Aeropress 2014

We changed the material used in the AeroPress Original to polypropylene and switch to gold decoration for extra flair.

Aeropress 2019

AeroPress Go is introduced with red decoration. We changed AeroPress Original to red decoration to match.

Aeropress 2022
July 2022

AeroPress Stainless Steel filter is introduced.

Aeropress 2023
May, 2023

AeroPress Clear is introduced in response to longtime consumer demand for a clear AeroPress coffee maker.

June, 2023

AeroPress XL is introduced in response to longtime consumer demand for a larger AeroPress coffee maker.

Aeropress 2024
January 2024

AeroPress Clear Pink is introduced.

World AeroPress Recipe Championship

Story of the

World AeroPress Championship

The World AeroPress Championship (WAC) is a fan-organized competition in which the competitors vie to see who can brew the most delicious cup of coffee with an AeroPress coffee maker. Tim Wendelboe and Tim Varney, both coffee experts and fans of the AeroPress coffee maker, hatched the idea in 2008 as they were trying out various methods of using the AeroPress at Wendelboe's Oslo microroastery. What started as a casual conversation soon grew into a fun but serious competition.

The inaugural World AeroPress Championship had only three competitors and took place at Wendelboe's roastery with Wendelboe as the judge. Right from the beginning the format of the competition was for competitors to use the same coffee beans and compete to see who could impress the judges with their AeroPress brewed coffee.  Anders Valde of Norway took first place that first year. 

The event was so much fun that Varney and Wendelboe decided to hold a second Championship at Wendelboe's roastery the following year. A larger number of competitors showed up to compete in 2009 and Lukasz Jura of Poland took first place.

“From a single roastery in Norway to a global competition in over 60 countries”

Aeropress Champion

That second competition saw the beginning of a now-celebrated WAC tradition: special AeroPress trophies made exclusively for the champions. Some weeks prior to the WAC, Varney had written to Aerobie, Inc. to inform the company about the competition and to suggest that the company make a special trophy for the winner. The company was delighted to learn about the competition and jumped at the opportunity to reward the winner with a special AeroPress trophy signed by Alan Adler, inventor of the AeroPress coffee maker.

When planning began for the third WAC in 2010, it was clear that the competition had moved beyond a small gathering of mostly Norwegian coffee enthusiasts to become an event with far wider appeal. AeroPress fans in countries around the world were organizing grassroots national competitions in hopes of sending their national champions to compete in the World Championship. The WAC had become more serious and much larger, but a fun atmosphere still prevailed.  

A growing number of coffee luminaries had begun judging the competitions and the number of countries involved was steadily increasing by 2011, when Milan hosted the fourth annual WAC near the HOST International Hospitality Exhibition. That trend continued with the 2012 Championship which saw competitors battling on the exhibition hall floor of the Specialty Coffee Association of America's (SCAA) annual Event in Portland, Oregon.  By that point the ranks of competitors had swelled to include national champions from 14 different countries.

Jeff Verellen

Tim Williams of Workshop Coffee in London joined forces with Tim Varney, who had moved from Norway back to his native Melbourne, to organize the 2013 WAC during the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. (Although Tim Wendelboe stepped back from an active planning role in 2010, he still occasionally offers his time and expertise as a judge.)

By 2014, the number of WAC competitors nearly doubled with 27 nations sending their champions to the final. By 2015 it was up to 35 countries. Flash forward to 2023, where the most recent championship saw its largest cohort of global participation yet, with over 5,000 competitors across 178 National and Regional events.

What began as an informal contest devised by two friends and business associates has grown into a celebrated competition.  While AeroPress supplies prizes for the national and world championship winners, what really makes the competitions special is that they are still planned and run by fans. Possibly because of this they have become known for their party atmosphere in addition to their dedication to both pushing the boundaries of the AeroPress brewing craft and celebrating specialty coffees.  AeroPress competitions have always combined serious competition with outrageous fun and are sure to do so for years to come.

Acquisition By Tiny Ltd.

AeroPress was acquired in summer 2021 by Tiny Ltd. a company that invests and nurtures wonderful brands.  Tiny is led by it's co-founders Chris Sparling and Andrew Wilkinson (a former barista and long-time AeroPress fan). 

Investment in new product innovation and sales & marketing that serves the existing community of AeroPress fans while attracting new fans throughout the world, has been full steam, ever since the acquisition - helping put AeroPress in more homes, offices, and backpacks all over the world.