1. If you've never owned an electric kettle, you may not know that they will boil water in mere seconds (!) and are a key part in making an Aeropress practical. (And they're cheap: http://goo.gl/8dVnP2)
2. If you ever get heartburn and drink coffee, you MUST buy one of these ASAP, it will help immensely. Fast-brewed coffees have very low acidity, so you should treat yourself with aeropress (or Starbucks Clover coffee, another fast-brewed method) if you have this problem... you will probably feel better.
3. That said, these things brew a coffee that is like a hybrid between espresso and drip coffee, so if that sounds bad/good to you, you'll feel about the coffee you get from this the same way.
4. An aeropress is the easiest to clean kitchen appliance I've ever owned. You will NOT think to yourself "boy this coffeemaker could probably use a thorough cleaning" every time you want a cup of coffee... no such anxiety with this device.
Maybe it's the fact that in the US, you have 120V/10A max, so your kettles are 1200W peak and therefore take twice as long as ours at 240V/10A and thus 2400W? I don't know. I just find that staggering that someone could not have an electric kettle.
As an aside, it's always been amazing to me that the 'standard' coffee you buy here is espresso, everyhwere, whereas the standard there to my knowledge is usually drip or french press. That in itself (that entire nations can have substantially different ways of making 'coffee') is pretty incredible to me.
All that said, the whole 'makes 5 or 6 cups minimum' problem is the one I've always faced with making coffee at home. I might actually pick one of these things up if it really does solve that and really deliver something that's more towards espresso rather than drip/press.
The AeroPress is good. But it's not close to espresso at all. If you over dose and are prepared to push very slowly for a long time, you can get some espresso like flavours out of it, but this can take a while.
That said the AeroPress is really worth it. The filters are truly reusable. I still have not gone through my original pack of filters that I got with mine several years ago.
Kettles have frequently been cited as the source of surges in power usage during the commercial breaks of popular TV shows. For example: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5059904.stm
(in my case I don't drink a lot of hot tea, but I do drink a lot of iced tea, and a worthwhile amount of that is larger than what most kettles can do -- I typically brew a gallon or more at a time)
* - or conciously aware of seeing it. I might have seen it and it was just background noise.
And with that, I'm of for a brew and to recuperate...
The first time I realized that every home didn't own an automatic drip coffee pot, I was also aghast.
I've never seen an electric kettle in anyone's home, but almost everyone I know does have a stovetop kettle.
Prior to harmonisation Europe was mostly 220V so 230v was the average of the two common systems (in reality because of tolerances there are big overlaps).
Interestingly while the standard is 230v the average supply in the UK is 242V (but within the tolerance of the standard).
Boiling one or two cups of water won't take too long (30 sec ? 1min) on a gas or IH stove, it's easier to clean, no electric components, no maintenance, you can roughly adjust the temperature you want (i.e some teas are best at ~80°C), and it works with a gas burner during black outs.
 for home use of course. I don't see any way an hotel could provide a classic kettle without a full kitchen corner.
Anywhere people don't drink that much tea, use a Moka pot for coffee, and boil the milk.
And always remember, no oil in the pasta water!!
ps: the fact sheet in 1 seems to be the basis of a whole lot of magazine articles. It seems like "tea facts" is quite the fill-in article.
I remember once I watched a friend's cats while he was on extended vacation back home in China.
You try very hard to be accommodating when someone capable of covering your pager shift asks for a favor, because you know the currency in which that favor is to be repaid. Besides, he was senior to me (in terms of skill) and got me the job in the first place, so I kinda owed him at the outset. But it's almost always worth it to put in a lot of effort to have more than one person who can cover your pager feel like they owe you. But still, I'll totally clean out your cat's liter box if I think I can get you to cover my pager.
Anyhow, the weird thing was that he had like six electric kettles scattered throughout his house; and most of them were in 'sleep mode' - they were still on and plugged in and ready to dispense water fairly quickly. I guess the idea was that they were heavily insulated, so it didn't take a lot to keep the water warm?
Being me, I unplugged them all.
I've considered a kettle for myself, but the kettles I've used, mostly in ersatz office situations, all took a pretty long time to warm up from 'cold' - and all of them were nasty, because some asshole decided to put tea (or something) directly in the kettle.
What I find funny is that I bought one of those fancy super-automatic espresso machines of craigslist; You know, one of those brushed-aluminum deals where you pour whole beans in the top and just press a button? It doesn't take that long to warm up, and it's on a 5-15r (15 amps of 120v) - I know the reservoir on this thing is room-temperature, and it's pretty quick to warm up. Much faster than any kettle I've tried.
It makes pretty good espresso, too. Not as good as, say, chromatic coffee, or even B2 in san jose, but it beats the heck out of starbucks, and I don't have to put on pants. It does require periodic work, which I don't mind. I like working on mechanical things. Just don't make me do it in the morning, you know? As for effort expended to get my coffee? it's gotta be even easier than the aeropress. Expensive, though. I think I paid $300 for mine, and it's about 4x that new.
You can buy fast boil kettles which tend to be noisy.
I am surprised that kettles don't have a think skin of insulation. I sometimes wonder how much energy could be saved by micro-enhancements like that.
But my espresso machine, it's got a pretty big (room temperature) reservoir, and only heats up the water as-needed. I mean, I probably have to fill it every second day, and that's with two people using it, and using the steamer.
Especially when my performance is impaired due to withdrawal, it seems a reasonable optimization to save the 'fill the damn thing up, but not too much' step.
>I am surprised that kettles don't have a think skin of insulation. I sometimes wonder how much energy could be saved by micro-enhancements like that.
All the electric kettles I've seen did have very thick insulation; it looked like they were intended to be left on or in standby all the time.
and don't inadvertently superheat the water.
it really depends on what body part touches it, and where the electricity wants to go (ground). the longer the path, the more dangerous it is.
I got hit once, from a broken electric kettle, in fact :) I had accidentally dropped the thing, some plastic bit had broken off and exposed some metal strip that was bent out of shape (in the base part, that the kettle part gets power from). Let's attribute it to not having had my morning coffee yet, when I figured hey let's bend that bit back to where it should be, not realizing the thing was still plugged in.
It hurt. It felt literally as quite a shock. But it was just my arm. A jolt, like when you're holding a stick and someone hits that stick with another stick really hard. Except a bit harder than that. I remember feeling quite shaken afterwards, could be adrenaline, could be my nerves being all agitated, I dunno.
After a few minutes I was fine again.
Guess I was lucky, maybe?
The very same day I got a new electric kettle (the cheapest ones are just €10), because really for me it's in indispensable kitchen tool, like the microwave or a chef's knife.
Of course, it was all for nothing when as a kid I put a braddle or something in the top hole and then mucked around with the bottom hole. Also, I imagine that the foot injuries you get in the UK are also greater because the plugs typically face up (although I've only seen someone actually impale their foot on a holiday in America). But yes, we have the safest sockets in the world according to my old schoolteacher.
Having been exposed to them now, and even more so after reading this article, I do plan to buy myself an electric kettle though.
FWIW, everyone I know has always heated water in a saucepan or kettle on the stovetop.
However, dorm rooms often do allow them (heats up water for ramen), but it isn't universal, and I'm imagining most kids are like "WTF is this," looks it up and learns about it for the firs time.
Try cold-brewed coffee if you're really going for low acidity. It makes a delicious iced coffee.
I don't know anything about aeropress, but it is not a good idea to buy a plastic electric kettle. stainless steel ones are better.
What are you talking about? Even the link you shared had comments saying that even the minimum boiling time was over 2 minutes.
I've had only one issue with them, in that the inside has become scratched and discoloured, which somehow messes up the taste as well (after about 2 years use).
A totally worth-while purchase. I'm now on my second one, hopefully this lasts longer, but if not, I'll just buy another one in a couple years.
One thing I like is how manual the process is - I can make a much weaker cup of coffee for guests who don't like it so strong without it becoming bitter. For different types of coffee, I can brew it in different ways.
And it's odd, but even cheap pre-ground supermarket coffee tastes hugely nicer with the AP. These days, I buy pretty much whichever the cheapest fairtrade coffeebeans the supermarket has, and grind enough for each cup, and it tastes great.
I'll second that, with the AP even decaf folger's will brew a cup that I really enjoy.
At the risk of sounding insane, sometimes my biggest motivation to stop working and go to sleep at night is that I can have a cup of coffee in the morning. I actually just confided that fact to my wife, and she empathized, so either we're both insane or it does indeed make very good coffee.
I find that with drip coffee, it's much harder to tell the difference between bean varieties and burr ground vs conical. The AP brings out the flavor as intensely as you can stand.
I find that areopress tends to make cleaner coffee - if that makes sense - and that the flavours come out more. Especially certain kinds of coffee it's nice to let them brew longer - french press / cafetiere style. The areopress can do that easily (inverted style), but the pour-over ones can't.
If you want, you can use an areopress pretty similarly to a pour-over, by simply not pushing down the plunger and letting gravity pull the water through.
> With his plans mapped out, Adler went to Westec Plastics in Livermore, California,
> ordered $100,000 worth of molds, and put the invention into production.
Just how does one go about stepping up from something like 3D printing (manifold meshes  are easy) to something like injection molding?
Pretty straight forward actually. If you have the solid shape you want and can find a line of symmetry that does not result in any over hangs, a good CAD package will let you slice the shape and create two halves. You use boolean subtraction from a solid block to create the mold profile, now you will add alignment pins (at least 3) and add sprue paths (this will depend on the injector you are using) then send that to a suitably equipped milling machine to mill out of a couple of blocks of alumninum. Assemble to two halves and hold them together (you can use a press or bracket for that) take your thermo plastic under modest pressure and heat, and squirt it into one sprue hold until it squirts out the other. That has to happen reasonably quickly as the plastic starts to harden as soon as it hits the Alumninum.
Pull apart the mold, pop out the part. if you get a machine like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/140895101602?lpid=82 you can pop out a hundred copies pretty quickly.
The process of developing the molds (aka putting them into a CAD system, slicing them, and then cutting the mold itself. Is called 'tooling.' Any tool and die shop can give you a quote. Back in '99 when the company I was with got quotes for tooling for a desktop gateway, a tool and die shop in Milpitas quoted us $36,000 out the door, and then $4,800 for each additional set of dies. A set of dies was good for between 100,000 and 500,000 uses. I don't doubt they were not the cheapest way to go, shops in China were willing to spread the tooling cost across an order of 100,000 units.
So are you trying to see if your design "fits"? If so get a stereo lithography shop to print one for you. If you are trying to see what it will cost to make take your printed part to a tool and die shop and ask for a quote. You will probably specify which type of machine you are going to use for the molding (dies are specific to machine models).
Then it's a couple of weeks of milling, drilling, polishing, welding on support channels, etc. There's a lot of CNC time involved, and that's runtime on million-dollar machines with high maintenance and deprecation costs. If you want it done by hand by experienced machinists, that's even more money.
The Aeropress has some pretty tight tolerances on it's design, so there's more money right there. Size also kills. You want something the size of an Xbox housing? That's gonna be even more.
My startup  makes an Android App just for the occasion!
We run statistical quality control and flavor profiling for coffee roasters, beer brewers, and distillers, so your reviews may actually help your favorite coffee companies make better roasting and sourcing decisions.
> Aerobie has been shipping AeroPress coffee makers made of the materials described above since August 1st, 2009. Prior to that date, the clear chamber and plunger were made of a very special high humidity and temperature resistant polycarbonate. Polycarbonate does not contain phthalates but it does contain BPA. Even though the FDA and other governmental agencies around the world approve polycarbonate for use in contact with food, we had an independent lab test coffee brewed in a well used AeroPress to determine how much, if any, BPA leaches into coffee brewed in a polycarbonate AeroPress. Absolutely none was detected. Given that result, one could ask why we switched to using copolyester. The answer is simple. The use of copolyester removes any perceived risk from BPA and it is a more attractive material.
This way, you get a longer brew time, but still get the benefits of finer paper filtering, easy cleaning, etc.
I often use this method for columbian light roasted coffees, I feel it works better for some reason. You can use less coffee, and a much coarser grind. For some coffees, and for "espresso"-ish things, it doesn't work so great though.
That's what's cool - you can tweak so much with how long you brew, temperature, grind, etc.
I add water and ground as normal, stir for a little while, then top off the water and put the plunger in place. Depending on the coffee, I then wait 0-90 seconds before depressing the plunger. The plunger seal holds the water in place with no problem.
I tend to wait the longest with South/Central Americans, and don't wait at all for Africans. Most Indonesians are somewhere around 30 seconds.
The Aeropress cleanup is a breeze though, and it makes a nice clean cup. I'm not a fan of the sludge and mess of the french press.
Meanwhile in all cases having fresh roasted and evenly ground beans makes a big difference.
I had to google French glass press.
Also Moka Pots are often called "stove top coffee makers", and vacuum pots are often called "Cona"s.
(Also, Espresso is often called "Expresso", Tasimo or Nestle pod machines are often called "Espresso machines", and Instant is often called "Coffee"...)
Very good. You don't get the creme that you get with a French press, but it's still head and shoulders above drip. I had roughly equivalently good quality coffee over a wide range of beans and a fairly moderate range of grinds/grinders from espresso to fine grinds in the cheapy bean/spice grinders you can get at your grocery or walmart/target.
Cleanup and maintenance is better than my drip ever was and the process is quicker, somewhat fun even, and a little bit zen.
I wonder if they A/B tested it ;-)
Side note, I just discovered that what I was referring to as a percolator, is actually called a Moka Pot : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot