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Able Disk (Fine) - First Impressions

April 12, 2012

Social media is what the gentlemen who broke with Intelligentsia in order to form Handsome Coffee used in order to build their brand.  They had something called the "Handsome Wager," where they'd send their roasting samples to forty folks at a discounted price.  The folks tended, of course, to be the kind of coffee lovers who blog/tweet about their coffee, and their social-media activity helped to build up Handsome's name. Coava/Able's KONE became popular a little differently. Oliver Strand, the NY Times's "coffee curator," blogged about it and sales took off afterwards. With the latest iteration of the DISK (version 3 by my count), they're more consciously using a Handsome strategy -- give stuff away to people who will probably fill the interwebs with reviews. I don't mind playing along.

Able gave 100 Disk FINES to Prima Coffee, a very cool coffee equipment supplier located in Nashville, and Prima has now distributed those Disks. I was fortunate enough to get my caffeinated mitts on one, and here are my first impressions.

It's a significant improvement over versions one and two. I was able to use the Aeropress upright (non-inverted) more successfully than I could with the previous two versions. I still experienced some drip-through--since the metal is more porous than paper--but it wasn't significant enough to detract from the final cup, as far as I could tell. The final cup was intensely aromatic, much moreso than a papered Aeropress. Given the cylindrical chamber, the Aeropress is not going to give you great body, even if you updose. (See Barismo's "cake filtration" theory.) What the DISK does is it allows more oils through, which greatly enhances aroma. Body is maybe slightly increased, but not greatly, and you pretty much have the same flavor clarity that you do from a papered Aeropress. There were a fair bit of fines at the bottom of the mug, so I didn't finish the final 1 cm. But for the heightened aroma, the fines aare a fair trade-off I think.

Prima is also selling cloth Aeropress filters, created by a Boston-area barista. All-organic cotton, they should give a cleaner cup than the DISK, although they of course involve more maintenance.

If you're committed to the Aeropress, I say the FINE is a nice upgrade. My favorite method is still pourover, but I will certainly give the FINE a spin from time to time.  






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