How to (Safely) Flip Your Aeropress.

Author: george Posted: October 11, 2011

The aeropress flip that inevitably occurs while using the “inverted method” is one of the most dangerous (and thus exciting) moves in coffee preparation.  It is also no doubt a leading cause of burns and spills throughout cafes and households alike.

I have found a simple, subtle move that results in a safer flip, and also a more consistent and full extraction for your aeropress.

This developed due to the frustration I was having when I would flip the aeropress, and while plunging down would sometimes notice that in the air pocket some of the wet grounds of the coffee had stuck to the rubber part of the plunger.  When this happened that meant the coffee was OUT of the water, and therefore no longer extracting with the rest of the coffee during the plunge down.  Sometimes there would be none, but other times it would be up to a few grams worth.  This would result in a weaker cup than you had intended as the coffee stuck to the top would only be partially extracted.

So, without further ado, here’s what you do.

After you have prepared your aeropress and gotten to the point where you have screwed the cap on, stop.  Don’t flip it just yet.  While it is still in the upright position, literally pull the top chamber of the aeropress down, as if you are going to push coffee through it upwards.  Don’t stop until there is resistance.  This will feel awkward at first (and look awkward forever) and you will probably feel like you might push too hard and have coffee come through, but you won’t.  You’d have to be pushing down extremely hard and be very absent minded for that to happen, and it will be obvious when to stop.  The goal of this move is to get rid of that half inch or so air pocket that occurs at variant levels depending on how high you connected the bottom plunger to the top chamber at the start.

Now when you do the flip it will be extremely tight and secure, and almost impossible for the plunger to fall off (goodbye burns!).  And most importantly of all, it will ensure that all the coffee is in the water (steeping) the entire time during the plunge down, and not stuck to the rubber.

One effect it will have on your brew method is it will be harder (and therefore take longer) to plunge down without any air between the plunger and the coffee, so you may have to adjust your brew times accordingly.  Or experiment with leaving the smallest gap possible while pushing down.  You’ll figure it out.

It’s a small detail but then so is everything in coffee.

7 Responses to “How to (Safely) Flip Your Aeropress.

  1. Michael Wilson says:

    Just tried this. It works. Obvious. Thanks.
    Compared to my first aeropress of the day (pre-post), this one’s perhaps very slightly more acidic. But that could be due to other factors.

  2. Oct 11 — Ritual Roasters | YHZ 'morning' espresso says:

    [...] Using George’s NOW PUBLIC Flip trick. [...]

  3. Marcus bunker says:

    I know you guys do it over ice, and in that case it wouldn’t work because the ice would fall out, but you can just put the cup on the inverted aeropress and then with 2 hands, flip them both. Never has a spill or problem doing this.

  4. george says:

    Hey Marcus,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Yes, bringing the vessel to the top of the aeropress and then flipping with 2 hands is also another way, but then you have to use 2 hands instead of 1, and it still leaves potential for grounds to get stuck out of the water on the rubber part on the plunger.

  5. kristina says:

    what are the benefits of flipping vs. not flipping?
    I don’t flip, never have.
    It’s obviously easier not to, and the coffee that yields from using it without flipping (Wendelboe style) is great.
    Thoughts?

  6. Adam Marley says:

    @kristina:

    As far as I can see it the only benefit flipping really presents is the ability to steep longer without under-extracted coffee seeping through. Personally I sometimes flip sometimes don’t and the difference isn’t noticeable. Think it’s more about the flare with some recipes.

    I’ve used TW’s method (also like Marie Hagemeister’s method – very bright) to great success. Currently using Coffee Collective’s revised recipe and it is brilliant (http://coffeecollective.blogspot.com/2010/01/updated-aeropress-brewing-method.html). Hence I am flipping due to the increased steep time.

    If you use that recipe and the technique above (as I am at the moment) then you may want to do the final stir a little before 2min due to the extra time needed to pre-plunge. Also, I’ve noticed with a coarser grind there ISN’T a strong resistance when you reach the coffee and it WILL go everywhere if you aren’t careful ;) I’m also stirring quite vigorously (and deliberately whirlpooling) with the first stir as I add the water first (to cool it down to brewing temp) then the coffee, hence less aggitation.

    OP: Thanks for the tip! Useful :)

  7. Mark says:

    Love this blog btw – I’ve just found it and it’s been running for years! How come it’s not being updated much though? Shame, it’s really good! (But then I guess you know that too). More posts, more stuffs, more joy…….. c’mon :)

    bye – Mark

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