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The Aeropress: Inverted vs Regular Methods

Published on under the Coffee category.

An Aeropress sitting on top of a Starbucks cup in front of kitchen equipment

I am a firm believer in the inverted Aeropress method. But, I did not always feel this way. An IndieWeb community member encouraged me to try out the Aeropress method a few days after I got the device. Up until then, I was a devoted regular method brewer.

The main deterrent for me exploring the inverted method was safety. I did not like the idea of flipping my Aeropress 180 degrees every time I wanted to brew a cup of coffee. I thought that I may spill more coffee. This has turned out to be true. Almost every time I flip my Aeropress I spill some coffee. Aside from one big spillage, my concern about safety never came to fruition.

I tried out the Aeropress inverted method in part because my friend recommended it. I also tried it because I saw so many people brewing their coffee using the inverted method. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

My Experience with the Regular Method

We’re going back a while now. It seems like so long ago since I started brewing with the Aeropress. I’m not sure whether lockdown has something to do with that or because I cannot imagine a world without drinking a cup or two of speciality coffee each day.

I started with the regular method. I found a tutorial on Stumptown Coffee’s website for the Aeropress which recommended this method. I’ve always held Stumptown in high regard. They have an awesome culture. I like the documentaries and videos they have produced. I thought that there was no better place to start than to try out their recipe.

I did mix in elements of other recipes into my own but Stumptown’s was my main guide. I had my Aeropress chamber in the regular position. I poured water through. I cannot remember every aspect of my recipe. I just remember what happened.

My biggest concern with the regular method was consistency. At the time, I brewed with pre-ground beans, and so grind size was out of my control. I would find that often quite a bit of water would drip through the Aeropress before I had inserted the plunger. To make matters worse, every time I inserted the plunger I pushed even more water down through the filter. I tried not to do this but it happened anyway.

I decided that it was time for a change after using that method for only a few days, or maybe a week or two.

The Inverted Method

I have not thought about trying the regular method for a while. I’ve settled in with the inverted method. Maybe I’ll go back and give the regular method a go now I have more refined brewing skills but for now I am happy with the recipe I use.

The inverted method is much more consistent than the regular method. I do not worry about water dripping through the filter with the inverted method. I can focus on watching my timer and enjoying the brew process. I know that every time I’m going to pour in exactly the right amount of water. At the time I used the regular method, I didn’t have a scale, so it was not possible for me to accurately track how much water I used.

This consistency is a big deal for me. When I am tasting coffees, I like to separate out the brewing process from the coffee itself. That’s why I have not changed my recipe much since I found one that I really like. I do not want process to change how I perceive all the coffees I try. I did get a consistent brew with the regular method but I feel more comfortable with the inverted one. I control every variable almost exactly.

The biggest downfall with the inverted method is spillages. It would be so easy for me to knock my Aeropress over and spill coffee everywhere. I already had a minor spillage which escalated because I tried to clean up the spillage while coffee was still in the brewing chamber. But, this has not been a big problem for me. I do not mind spilling a bit of coffee now and again if I am able to achieve a more consistent brew.

My Recipe

I do plan on experimenting with World Aeropress Champion recipes when I get the chance. I’m presently working my way through a surplus of beans I have as a result of some delivery issues from a few weeks ago. I’d like to try a new method with some new beans to make sure I can brew at peak freshness, which is what I was used to before this surplus of beans accumulated. I do not think there is one right way to brew with the Aeropress.

In the Aeropress documentary I watched earlier this year, I found out that Alan Adler, the founder of Aeropress, is somewhat stingy about what he thinks is the right method. But without the versatility of the device, I’m unsure whether the Aeropress would have become the phenomenon it is today. There are competitions all around the world that judge brewing with the Aeropress because so many variables can be changed.

I do not remember what the recipe was that came with the Aeropress but I remember that it did not work out for me. I much prefer the inverted method and its consistency.

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