The hyperbolic coffee chamber

The other day, I was in Ann Arbor and at Comet Coffee in Nickels Arcade– it’s next to the place where I get my hair cut, and they do make a really good cup of coffee.   Anyway, they had the syringe-like AeroPress for sale.  I think I had read about it someplace– boing-boing maybe?– and I was sucked in by the hyperbole on the side of the box.

Now, I do like the AeroPress quite a bit.  I wanted something to make just a cup or two of coffee at a time, and my French press is a bit of a pain to clean.  What I like about the AeroPress is that it’s quick, easy, and even kind of fun to use, it makes a good single cup of coffee (well, sort of an Americano; one of these days, I might just try to “drink it straight” as if it were real espresso, or figure out a way to froth up some milk to make cappuccino), and it takes like 15 seconds to clean.  Plus it’s very portable– comes with a travel bag no less!

But some of the hyperbolic claims made on the side of the box and on the AeroPress web site are down-right bizarre.  For example:

“It makes the absolute best cup of coffee I’ve tasted in my entire life.” Lewis Singer – Cooks Junction

“I didn’t know the same coffee could taste so good.” Peter Whitely – Sunset Magazine

“A couple of years ago I bought a $1500 espresso machine. It works well – but it doesn’t turn out the consistent quality of the AeroPress. Now I use the AeroPress for ALL brewing and only use my expensive Italian machine for heating the AeroPress water and for foaming milk for my cappuccino.”
Tom Osborne – Stewarts Point , CA

Now, there are some people who do have some more coffee ethos who say good things about the AeroPress, but really? The best cup of coffee of your entire life?  Better than a $1500 espresso machine? And who are these people?  Should it mean something to me that it is the Lewis Singer of Cooks Junction?  Are the people of Stewarts Point known for their tastes in coffee?

And yet, I was sucked in by the hyperbole.  I saw the side of that box that a complete stranger with no ethos or credibility said “the best cup of coffee I’ve tasted in my entire life,” and I thought on some level “wow, let me give that thing a try.”  In other words, even though the claims made by the product’s advertising were and are completely ridiculous and unreasonable, it worked on me.

So, maybe making really outrageous claims can work sometimes.  And I could go for a cup of coffee, too….

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