Standard Aeropress vs Inverted Aeropress Methods: What’s the Difference?

The Regular Aeropress vs Inverted Aeropress_ A Comparison

The Aeropress is a single cup method brewing coffee manually. It is a brewer with a manual plunger that steeps coffee like a French press before pressing it through a filter into your cup.

There are two different methods of using the Aeropress: one is the regular, or standard method, and the other is the inverted method.

Let’s compare the two ways of making coffee with the Aeropress.

The Regular Method for Using the Aeropress

The regular method for using the Aeropress is the most common method, and the one that is stated on the Aeropress website.

Here are the steps for the regular Aeropress method:

  1. Measure out your coffee, and grind to a fine texture, if using whole beans. Typically 15-18 grams of coffee is used.
  2. Place an Aeropress filter in the basket and twist it onto the bottom of the chamber.
  3. Place the Aeropress on top of a sturdy mug.
  4. Add the coffee into the top of the Aeropress, using the funnel if you’d like, and shake gently to get it level.
  5. Add hot water (anywhere from 175-200 degrees Fahrenheit) into the chamber up to the “2” fill line and saturate all the grounds by stirring for 10 seconds.
  6. Insert the plunger and gently plunge for 20-40 seconds into your mug.
  7. Drink as is for an “espresso” type pour, or add additional hot water to the mug for traditional coffee, or add steamed milk for a latte.

The Benefits Using of the Regular Aeropress Method

The regular method of using an Aeropress is a good option for beginners to the Aeropress, as it is the easiest method.

Another benefit, compared to the inverted method, is that there is less risk of spilling hot water or coffee. All of the coffee will be contained inside the chamber in the regular method.

Lastly, the regular method keeps the grounds in a nice layer on the bottom of the basket, which can help with pressure for the plunger.

The Downsides of the Regular Aeropress Method

There are a few downsides to using the regular Aeropress method. Many Aeropress fans think that the flavor is compromised while using the regular method.

This is because some of the water will start to filter through the bottom, into your cup, immediately. This may result in the first few ounces of your coffee being under-extracted. An under-extracted coffee may taste too weak, or can sometimes even taste sour or salty.

The coffee can leak through prematurely faster if you have an older Aeropress, with a rubber gasket seal that is starting to become compromised.

See this post on cleaning your Aeropress to avoid this problem.

The Inverted Method for Using an Aeropress

Many people now swear by using the inverted method for brewing Aeropress coffee.

Here are the steps for the inverted method: 

  1. Measure out your coffee, and grind to a fine texture if using whole beans.
  2. Place the Aeropress plunger facing up.
  3. Turn the chamber upside down and insert the plunger an inch or so into the chamber, or just under the number “4”.
  4. Make sure the plunger is not crooked at all.
  5. Add the ground coffee, using the funnel if you’d like.
  6. Add a paper filter to the screw cap and wet it with hot water. This helps to ensure the filter stays stuck to the cap.
  7. Pour water (175-200 degrees Fahrenheit) to the number “1” on the chamber and stir for 10 seconds.
  8. Screw on the filter cap.
  9. Set a timer for 60-90 seconds.
  10. After the desired time has passed, firmly hold both chambers and gently flip it over to sit on top of the coffee mug.
  11. Gently press the plunger down for 20-30 seconds.
  12. Drink as is for an “espresso” type pour, or add additional hot water to the mug for traditional coffee, or add steamed milk for a latte.

The Benefits of the Inverted Aeropress Method

The inverted Aeropress method has the benefits of not releasing any under-extracted coffee into the mug. All of the coffee is fully extracted in the water before plunging.

Coffee grinds will also have more contact with the water, which may result in a more flavorful cup of coffee. This is called full, or total, immersion.

If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, the inverted method is better equipped to do that, because you have more control over how long you want to keep the coffee in the chamber before plunging it.

There Are Downsides to the Inverted Aeropress However

There are some downsides of the inverted Aeropress method. The main one is that there is a high risk of spilling hot water or coffee on yourself or on your counter.

This method is likely not for a beginner, or for someone who has never used an Aeropress, as it is a bit more complicated.

Lastly, cleaning up after using the inverted method can be harder. Sometimes, coffee grounds can get stuck to the inside of the chamber, which can be difficult to clean.

Now, let’s consider what filters you are using, traditional paper vs steel.

Are Aeropress Metal Filters Worth It for Inverted or Traditional Methods

Like most other competitions in the coffee world, the competition between metal and paper Aeropress filters is one decided by taste and preference.

Advantages of a Metal Filter

  1. Savings
  2. Flavor Profile

Cost Savings: Metal Filters Cost Less in the Long Run

A metal filter, the reusable option, can save Aeropress users money over time, especially if they are consistent users and don’t mind waiting for their savings to trickle in.

The initial purchase of a metal aeropress filter is of course more expensive.

Last time I checked metal always costs more than paper.

However, over time, as the paper Aeropress filters begin to pile up, a metal Aeropress filter begins to actually produce savings.

I know, I know. You are wondering how long or how many cups of Aeropress it would take to see a positive return on your investment.

Well, if we compare the price of paper filters:  roughly $5 for every 300 filters

and the price of a metal filter: roughly $10

We can see that after the 600th cup brewed using your metal filter you will begin to experience savings.

Flavor Profile Changes a Lot Using Metal

However, savings isn’t the only positive attribute of opting to brew using a metal Aeropress filter.

Metal filters are also revered by Aeropress enthusiasts because they produce full-bodied cups of coffee. This change in flavor profile from paper to metal filters is a result of the metal filter’s ability to allow smaller substances found in the coffee ground to pass through the filter.

Most of these substances are oils and some sugars that give coffee its flavor which don’t typically pass through the paper filtration normally associated with Aeropress coffee.

Cleaning is the Main Disadvantage of Using a Metal Filter

Using a metal Aeropress filter involves cleaning. Since metal filters are reusable, it is important that users clean their filter immediately after each use. Though it is listed as a disadvantage, this cleaning process is quite easy.

All one has to do to clean their metal Aeropress filter is:

  1. Dump coffee grounds into trash bin or compost pile
  2. Run your metal Aeropress filter under hot water (this should remove the smaller coffee grinds that are still trapped in your filter).

If you let your filter screen dry out then you may have to use an abrasive pad or brush to remove oils and grounds from the fine holes. Soaking in hot soapy water first can make this chore slightly easier but it’s always best to just clean the screen right away.

Standard vs Inverted Aeropress Methods in Summary

Overall, both the regular and inverted Aeropress methods are good to use. The regular method is easier, but may result in under-extracted and weaker coffee.

The inverted method may result in a richer cup of coffee with more flavor, but also is more complicated and has a higher risk of accidents related to spilling.

Try it if you like experimenting! 🙂

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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