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.