Can someone tell me the difference between a coffee made using the "normal" aeropress technique and an "inverted" technique?
The differences are minor, but there are differences. When brewing normally, water begins to drip through the paper filter immediately when poured over the grounds. After stirring I usually have to add more water after the bloom recedes. Inverted, all the water stays with the grounds until you flip it over and start extracting. The extra water added with the normal process is hotter, and I believe will tend to over extract bitter notes more easily, not only because of the higher temperature, but by virtue of the added volume of water passing through the grounds.
Inverted, however, the volume of water is less, and because of that, the temperature of that water will be lowered a bit. You can extract quickly, or wait as long as you want to extract the coffee. Additionally, I have seen it claimed that with the inverted method, oils that will rise to the top of the column will be forced through the filter first and flavor the coffee more than with the regular method where they tend to get trapped in the grounds.
I have gone back and forth but always seem to go back to the inverted method. It provides more control of the variables and for me gives a better flavor, even when using the same beans, same roast, same water temperature. Your mileage may vary of course.
5A little trick about the normal usage: If you pull the lever just a bit, a vacuum will occur and the dripping stops.– MTSanMar 11, 2016 at 23:54
I have noticed that the inverted method gives more flavour as well– OGCJul 13, 2020 at 6:56
> [...] until you flip it over and start extracting. You start extracting coffee immediately when the water hits the coffee, I assume what you meant was "until you flip it over and start plunging". If you meant extracting as in extracting the brewed beverage from the AeroPress I would still consider changing your wording since "extracting" usually means extracting "stuff" from the ground coffee, as you used it in the next paragraph. 19 hours ago
The difference can be scoped purely to the side-effects of how the coffee is extracted. You can make up for most deficiencies from either method, by accommodating for it.
Normal - starts dripping almost immediately, meaning some of the water didn't get a chance to extract.
Inverted - you can let it brew for as long as you want.
Normal - grounds fall to the bottom and create a self-filtering layer. This layer allows for proper pressure/extraction/etc.
Inverted - as you flip and press you may not have allowed enough time for a layer to form and some of the grounds get stuck to the top - solution: after flipping, whirl the water to collect the stuck grounds and then wait a bit before pressing.
Essentially it's not really that Normal vs Inverted affects the taste directly, but rather what you do with that position of the AeroPress is what affects the taste. Having the AeroPress inverted ensures that you are fully submerging the coffee in water which you can now label full immersion brewing. If you allowed the coffee to drain in "normal" orientation, you'd instead be essentially drip brewing at least a small part of the coffee. The effects on the resulting brew could be nominal and undetectable, but if you were to drastically change time/pressure/stirring/agitation/bloom/ratios THAT is when the resulting coffee taste would change.
Check out my blog article for the AeroPress, it explains a lot of how the different AeroPress techniques affect the coffee.
1Can you expand on what that means for the taste though? Mar 9, 2016 at 9:53
1@ConsumeCoffee The Areopress will almost always give you more flavor, regardless of how you use it because you are adding the variable of pressure, which is non-existent in a drip device. Personally I think the inverted method is best because it allows you to control how long you steep the coffee. A longer steep could result in more flavor than if you just say, poured water in and immediately flipped it over. It is all personal preference. I usually let it steep for 1-2mins and plunge for 30s, making sure to press firmly on the grounds to get more flavor out.– GeoMar 9, 2016 at 16:42
@Geo surely not more flavour, more bitter and less acidic, right? Mar 9, 2016 at 16:53
1Yes and No-Actually more flavor. Depending on your bean/origin the acidity and bitterness will vary greatly. "The acids make up about 31% of your brew and add some serious dimension to the overall flavour. Favourable acids make the cup more complex. Washed coffees have a prominent, clear acidity potential compared to Natural or Pulped Natural coffees." Your water/grounds ratio will also affect this. When you steep coffee and press it, you are literally extracting more flavors from the grounds. More on this -> bit.ly/1QM2lGI– GeoMar 9, 2016 at 17:00
My palate may not be refined enough, but as far as I can tell there aren't any major taste differences. I find that the brewing process does tend to go a lot smoother when using the inverted method- especially if you are using a kitchen scale to measure water volume.
@Jason Abalos has a superb answer here but since I don't have reputation to comment, I'll expand in a separate answer: Inverted is heavily preferred. I suspect that perhaps the risk of topple and therefore burn is the reason the default instructions do not mention this technique. The primary criticism of this technique being lack of formation of a grounds filter during plunging is easily addressed as Jason mentions by just waiting a bit after tilting upright before plunging. To clarify, since timing is a hugely critical part of the Aeropress brew process, I substract 30s from the brew time and allow 30s upright before the plunge. I also recommend using two filters.