When we last left my experiments with the AeroPress, I had come to terms with the way that the device was treating me. After putting the coffee and water into the chute, and with a little agitation, the water had all drained into the mug before I could get the stopper inserted. This was not how the AeroPress was intended to work, so I investigated several different methods to get the water and the coffee to spend more quality time together.

The first method is the “inversion method”.

Here, we literally invert the device so the plunger — already inserted — is at the bottom. We add coffee into the chute, then water, then cap it with the filter. Assuming the rubber gasket of the plunger isn’t damaged, we can now let our coffee steep for as long as we want. When we’re done and ready to drink, we see one issue with this method: we have to flip a plastic tube full of scalding hot water and coffee grinds and hope we don’t fling it all over the kitchen. While this works, and is a method employed by many AeroPress Championship participants, it’s not the way the design is supposed to work, and that bothers me. I want to get it to work the way nature intended, so I tried a few more things.

  • Two filters. Thinking that more resistance would slow the flow of water, I added another paper filter to the basket. I now have two used filters and no better flow. Thankfully, paper filters can be reused a few more times before discarding, if that’s your thing (it’s my thing).
  • Flow-Control filter cap. This device replaces the filter basket. Whereas the original has several holes, this one has a singled gasket that requires pressure for the water to pass through. While this works, it is designed more for “espresso-like” brews which I’m all for, but not all the time.

It actually took a spin through Reddit to clue me in on how to actually stop the rampant flow without any kind of acrobatics or sorcery. The trick is to pour the water into the cylinder, and then to quickly insert the plunger, pushing down briefly before backing it off. This action creates a vacuum inside the chamber, effectively stopping the liquid from draining through until pressure is applied to the plunger. I believe that this is the way the AeroPress is designed to work, but no one anywhere (that I had seen) had mentioned the need to get that vacuum going.

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