Coffee is such a versatile drink. It can be so hearty and warming on a cold day yet super cool and refreshing enjoyed over ice on a hot summer morning. Hot vs cold coffee is such an amazing choice as they’re almost completely different drinks.
Today we’re getting stuck into the world of cold coffee and how you go about making this wonderful concoction. There are many ways to brew this coffee and as I started researching the wild and wonderful methods people have come up with I stumbled across Aeropress cold brew.
This got me wondering, can you make cold brew in an Aeropress?
The short answer is, yes you can but I wouldn’t recommend it. You can easily brew iced coffee with your Aeropress so this is hot brewed coffee, served over ice to be enjoyed cold. Making cold brew isn’t practical due to the small brew chamber and the long time it takes to finish steeping.
To get into more depth on the subject, here’s an iced coffee vs cold brew guide discussing both drinks and what they have to offer. I’ve included an Aeropress recipe for hot and cold coffee as well as how to make the best cold brew without any fancy equipment needed. Let’s start off by looking at what actually is cold brew coffee.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold brew coffee is really defined by the brewing process. It’s a method of brewing coffee that uses ice cold or room temperature water mixed with coffee grounds to slowly brew a cup of coffee. Thanks to the cooler brew temperature it takes a lot longer to extract the full flavor profile from the coffee beans so the brew time ranges from 12-24 hours.
This gentler coffee brewing method makes coffee that’s rich and sweet in flavor with low acidity. It’s a really unique kind of coffee that’s well worth the wait.
Can you Make Cold Brew Using an Aeropress?
There’s a long and short answer to this question and the short answer is, technically, yes, you can make cold brew in your Aeropress but it’s not a very practical option. The reason for this is the coffee grounds have to steep in cold water for at least 12 hours to brew tasty coffee. This means you have to leave your Aeropress balanced upsidedown with cold water and ground coffee sitting in it as the inverted method is the only way to properly achieve this brew method.
After this steep time has passed you can then place a mug on top and flip the whole device to press the plunger. This is a rather impractical and inefficient way to make cold brew and doesn’t showcase the Aeropress coffee in its truest form.
The best way to make Aeropress cold brew is to use the device to make a kind of iced coffee. This is where you add hot water to brew your coffee and serve it over ice so it cools down after the brewing process. This allows for optimal flavor extraction using this coffee maker and still gives you a delicious ice-cold coffee.
Iced Coffee Vs Cold Brew
The difference between these two brew methods comes down to the temperature of the water used. Although the coffee they produce appears similar as it’s served cold, the cold brew method differs from the iced coffee method.
Cold brewing is used to slowly and delicately extract flavors and aromas from the fresh coffee and this process takes at least 12 hours. It’s gentle and delicate and the coffee is never burnt or bitter. It’s rich and bold and very easy to drink.
Iced coffee is hot coffee served over ice cubes to cool it down. This can be in the form of espresso or other brew methods can also be served in this manner. The issue with iced coffee is the ice melts into the drink so you get a watering down of the coffee flavors. This may not be an issue when espresso is used as the water simply dilutes it to a cold americano type cup of joe.
The best way to avoid watering down your iced coffee is to brew a batch of coffee in advance and freeze it in an ice cube tray so you end up with coffee ice cubes. If you serve espresso over this and add milk then you have a delicious iced latte!
Bringing us back to the Aeropress we can see how iced coffee is a valid option using this brew method. Cold-brew is a slow immersion technique so doesn’t typically lend itself to brewing with an Aeropress.
How to Make Cold Coffee in an Aeropress
You can use your Aeropress to make a really delicious cup of cold coffee and here’s how you go about doing this. The way I’m describing is the inverted Aeropress method which makes a richer and more balanced kind of coffee.
You’ll need coffee that’s ground up to a medium-fine grind (a finer grind than drip coffee but not as fine as espresso), boiling water that’s cooled a little, some ice cubes, and your Aeropress.
Get a tall glass ready (if possible, place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes) and add some ice to this.
Fix the plunger in place in your Aeropress and turn the device upside-down so it’s balanced on the plunger end. Add a scoop of freshly ground coffee to the brewing chamber.
Boil your water and let it cool to 195-205F (a minute or so should do). Add just enough hot water to coat the coffee and give it a stir. Start a timer and let this sit for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.
Add enough hot water to reach level 4 and let this sit until 1:45 shows on the timer. Add a paper filter, fix the filter cap in place, and grab a sturdy mug. Place the mug over the filter cap end and flip the whole device so it’s resting on the mug.
Press the plunger to brew the hot coffee into the empty mug.
Now, pour the hot coffee into your cold glass, over the ice cubes. This will cool it down and you can add water or milk if desired.
This method makes a delicious, bold, and rich cup of joe that’s super refreshing on a hot summer’s day. You can always use coffee ice cubes here to avoid watering down your java.
How to Make Hot Coffee in an Aeropress
If you’ve got the hang of cold coffee in an Aeropress then hot coffee will be a piece of cake! All you need to do is follow the steps above but don’t pour the coffee over ice! This makes an espresso-like cup of java that can be enjoyed as is or topped up with hot water or steamed milk.
Another variation that’s really delicious is once the blooming stage is complete, add enough hot water to reach the level one indicator mark, or until the brew chamber is three-quarters full. This makes a larger volume cup of java that can also be enjoyed over ice if that’s what you’re after.
Making Traditional Cold Brew
The best cold brew recipe makes a thick and very intense coffee called cold brew concentrate. This coffee concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and can be topped up with water to give your desired taste.
You’ll need a large jar or pitcher that has enough space for the volume of coffee you wish to brew. Your coffee needs to be a very coarse grind size so set the coffee grinder to the coarsest setting it has. Lastly, you’ll need some way of filtering out the coffee grounds.
I recommend brewing cold brew concentrate at a 1:7 ratio so if you’re looking to make a 350ml cup of concentrate you’ll need 50 grams of coffee.
Steer clear of tap water unless it’s filtered first as hard minerals and impurities can affect the extraction process and leave bitter flavors in the coffee.
Add the coffee and water to your jar and give it a stir. Leave it to sit overnight in the fridge or even just at room temperature.
Once the steeping time is up, pass the coffee through a cheesecloth, french press, or pour-over set-up to remove the coffee grounds.
Dilute yourself a cup of cold brew by adding water until it tastes just right for you!
An Aeropress may be a great way to brew cold coffee but to make an actual cold brew it’s probably best to just use a mason jar. It’s easier, more stable in the fridge, and can brew larger volumes with ease. Of course, if you’re really, really keen to make cold brew in an Aeropress then I’m not going to stop you! It is possible, just not the easiest way to brew this coffee.