Robot Serves Beer

Don Burleson sent me a link to this gizmodo article on the beer dispensing robot in the movie below.

While it’s certainly a cool toy I can’t see why the guys at Gizmodo are so impressed. For starters it’s slow, second it looks like it only does cans (let’s face it, if you like beer enough to have this robot you drink it out of bottles), but most disappointingly it looks quite messy!

So while I look forward to more commercially available automated drink makers/servers this robot just doesn’t stack up to the Bar Monkey.

beer, robot, drinks, drinking, alcohol

Aerobie AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker

Aerobie AeroPressAfter reading about the Aerobie AeroPress at Brotherhood of the Bean I was very curious about this new method of brewing coffee. Skeptical from my experience with the Toddy cold brew system I decided to see if Aerobie would send me one to review. Alex at Aerobie was quick to respond and a couple days later I got the AeroPress.

How it works

Part French press, part espresso the AeroPress is a new breed of coffee maker. First you insert one of the micro-filters into the filter holder and twist it onto the larger of the two tubes (seen in the picture to the left.) Set the tube on top of your coffee mug (not included, but I’m sure you don’t need another one anyway) and add one scoop of ground coffee for each shot of espresso or (small) cup of coffee you wish to make.

You then add hot water (165-175 degrees Fahrenheit) to the tube and stir for ten seconds with the included stirrer (the tube is graduated so you’ll know how much water to add.) Now the fun part… Take the plunger and press the coffee through the filter. This part takes about another 20 seconds.

If you want espresso, you’re done. If you want Americano-style coffee just top off your cup with a bit more hot water. Cleanup involves untwisting the filter holder, pushing the coffee and filter out of the tube and rinsing the plunger and filter holder. It’s just that easy.

I found the maker very easy to learn and I got fantastic coffee on my first try. The only tough part was getting the water at just the right temperature. An instant-read thermometer helped me figure out the timing and now I can nuke up the hot water with no guess work.

The results

Though skeptical at first, after using the Aerobie AeroPress for a couple weeks I have to say it makes great American coffee and some of the best espresso I’ve ever had! Now to back that statement up I feel I should mention that I used to work in a coffee shop with a Rancilio Z9 which served nothing but Lavazza espresso and this $30 home machine made equal or better espresso than the best we ever got out of our Z9! The AeroPress process even yields a nice crema on top of the espresso.

And yes, you read that right, $30 is the price. That includes the maker, funnel, scoop, stirrer, filter holder and 350 filters. The filters are proprietary, but hey, when you only have to order them once a year (or so) who cares…

After a couple weeks of use I can only see two drawbacks to it. First, you will use more coffee than in a typical drip coffee maker. This is typical to espresso makers. Second, the unit will only make four cups (about two typical mugs) of coffee at a time. Typically this won’t be a problem as the whole process is so quick you could still turn out a dozen mugs in less than 10 minutes.


The Aerobie AeroPress has earned a place on my counter. Fulfilling my need for an espresso machine, at a fraction of the cost of any other I would consider, and my occasional need for a single-cup maker my AeroPress isn’t going anywhere.

Beyond regular use I think this maker has great potential for camping. The maker, scoop and stirrer weighs in at just over 9 ounces and is all made of durable polycarbonate (I believe) so it would pack small and light and would be much less fragile than a French press.

The AeroPress would also make perfect espresso for recipes. At the price it would be worth having around for this alone.

Read more about the AeroPress at Aerobie’s site. They also have a complete listing of both US and international vendors.

coffee, espresso, drinks

Make Your Own Sour Mix

“Sour mix”, also known as “Sweet and Sour mix” is a bartender’s shortcut used in recipes which would otherwise call for both lemon juice and sugar syrup. Today, most recipes call directly for sour mix.

After being disappointed with every commercial sour mix and powder we could find, Alan and I decided it was time to try to make our own. After many nights of experimentation we finally settled on this very simple recipe.

Combine in a 1 quart (1 liter) pitcher or bottle:

  • 18 oz Water
  • 12 oz RealLemon brand lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Mix well and use in your favorite drink recipe. Highly recommended for Long Island Ice Tea.

While you could certainly make this with fresh lemon juice, Alan and I have yet to put in the effort. Even with the bottled lemon juice this is already much better (and cheaper) than any of the commercial offerings.

drinks, drink, drink mixing, alcohol, cocktail

The New Monkey In Town

After writing about Alan Baker’s Bar Monkey a couple weeks ago, Jack contacted me with a couple questions about a drink machine he is building.

Jack calls his device a Drinkputer and it looks like it’s going to be cool. It’s quite a bit different from what Alan and I built. Jack is using pumps instead of a pressure/valve system and his unit is intended to be small and portable.

Check out the pics of Jack’s device. He’s posted a ton of information on the parts and such. A great idea for tailgating!

bar monkey, drinks, drinking, alcohol