How to Aeropress: Standard or Inverted?

Brewing with the Aeropress Coffee Maker is incredibly simple. Your first choice is: the Standard method or Inverted method? I'm here to walk you through the basics!

photo credit: Aukje v Rossum

The Aeropress came into my life in 2010 when I was working at a local cafe in Utrecht. The little plastic (phalatae & BPA free, of course) device was designed in 2005 by Alan Adler, and has since then reached a cult status in the specialty coffee industry. It has come so far in those years that it even has its own world championship since 2008: the World Aeropress Championship (W.A.C.).

If you want to read how I became world champion,check out my World Aeropress Championship recipe!

Ways to brew

But now that you own an Aeropress, you want to know how to make great coffee with it, right? The good news is: using the Aeropress is amazingly easy. Let's start with talking about two methods you can use: the Standard or Inverted method. But from there, your options are literally limitless!

The Standard Method

The standard method is probably called that way because it's the way Alan designed the Aeropress. He wanted to recreate the pressured brewchamber you find in espresso machine to make a shorter brewtime possible. Basically: a great cup of coffee but FAST. Can't blame the man.

Aeropress inventor Alan Adler photo credit: Daily Coffee News

Coincidentally, you’ll get a less bitter cup of coffee, which was precisely his goal in creating the Aeropress coffee maker. The standard method isn’t difficult at all, I’ll walk you through it step by step. Grab your Aeropress!

How to brew Standard Aeropress:

  1. place an Aeropress filter in the black filtercap and rinse it with hot water. This way, your coffee won’t get a ‘papery’ taste. Carefull not to burn your fingers!

  2. Twist the cap with the filter in the part of the Aeropress that we call the chamber and set it on top of a large cup.

  3. add the freshly ground coffee

  4. start a timer when you start to add hot water (ideally, you weigh the amount of coffee and water so you can reproduce your delicious cup of coffee!)

  5. give it a quick stir with the stirrer that comes with the Aeropress (a long spoon or even chopsticks works fine, too. Don’t overthink it)

  6. when the water is in, the coffee will start to drip. To pause the extraction, put in the plunger part of the Aeropress under a slight angle and lift it up a tiny bit. This creates a vacuum which will stop the extraction. This might need some practice.

  7. After 1 minute (longer or shorter is ok too- it’s really up to you) you press the plunger down. Pro tip: Hold on the chamber and the mug with your other hand. When you apply pressure things might get wobbly.

  8. Stop pressing when you hear a hissing sound: extracting longer will only extract unpleasant flavors.

  9. take the Aeropress off the cup, discard the filter & wet coffee grounds, rinse & repeat.

  10. enjoy your brew!

The Inverted Method

I know many barista’s (me included) love this way of brewing because it doesn’t have the tricky step of placing the plunger in fast to pause the brew (step 6).

An inverted brew is a bit easier to reproduce and it's not as messy (if you get the flip right, that is). Here goes!

How to brew Inverted Aeropress

  1. place the plunger in the chamber and put the Aeropress upside down

  2. add freshly ground coffee

  3. add hot water and start the timer (again, I highly recommend weighing coffee and water so you can reproduce this cup!)

  4. give it a stirr

  5. place a paper filter in the filtercap and rinse it

  6. twist the cap on the Aeropress

  7. After your desired brew time (1 minute is a decent starting point) place a large cup upside down on the Aeropress aaaaand….

  8. flip the whole thing carefully

  9. press the plunger down until you hear a hissing sound

  10. remove the Aeropress, clean it and enjoy your delicious coffee!

See how easy that was?

The Catch

Now how do you know which method to choose? Well, making that coffee tastes great has everything to do with extraction. The more coffee flavour is extracted from the grounds, the stronger the coffee will be. However, stronger isn’t always better! When you overextract, the coffee might start tasting dry or even bitter. Yuck. The catch about the Inverted brew method is step 8: the flip. When you turn the Aeropress, a lot of extraction takes place. So there’s a slightly bigger risk of over extracting the coffee! With some practice, you'll know exactly how much coffee to use and how long to let it 'steep' before you flip & press.

Choosing Standard or Inverted

Having said that, I usually base my choice for the brew method on the coffee. If I have a really light, delicate or fruity coffee, I might use the Inverted way to bring out as much sweetness and balance out acidity (i.e. extract more).

With a more developed roast (i.e. darker) or a coffee with a naturally lower acidity, I use the Standard Method to prevent over extracting it. Exception to my own rule of thumb is my World Aeropress Championship recipe which you can find elsewhere on my page.

How did you get on with these brew methods? How do you pick your Aeropress brew method? I'd love to hear from you!

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