First introduced to the world at the Seattle CoffeeFest, Aeropress has gained a cult following who appreciate its flexibility, greater control, and brewing consistency. Among coffee aficionados, the Aeropress is among the must-have coffee making accessories. While affordable, it allows consumers to make great tasting coffee similar in quality to coffee available at artisanal coffee bars.
What Is An Aeropress Cold Brew?
Aeropress cold brew is a cold coffee brew filtered through the Aeropress. While the traditional met doc preparing a cold brew involved soaking the fine grind for as much as 36 hours for a strong brew, cold brewing using the Aeropress involves soaking the fine coffee grinds in water for 5 to 10 hours. After the soaking, the slurry is filtered through the Aeropress in its normal stance/position, yielding a smooth cold cup of coffee.
Brief History of Aeropress
The Aeropress is an invention of Alan Adler, a retired Standford engineer lecturer. The first prototype he developed was in 2004 in his garage. As an avid coffee drinker, Alan did not like the bitterness and acidity in coffee regardless of the brewing method he used.
As such, he set out to find a brewing method that would give him greater control over the various brewing parameters, including temperature, brewing time, and grind size.
8 Basic Aeropress Techniques
- Aeropress Stance
Alan Adler intended brewers to place the Aeropress over a cup while plunging the coffee. This is the normal/standard method/stance of brewing coffee using the Aeropress. However, as the device became more popular and its use increased among coffee enthusiasts, some brewers wanted even more control over the brewing process. Hence, they literally flipped the device on its head and started using it while in an inverted stance, creating the inverted method.
In fact, most people new to the Aeropress learn the inverted method before learning the traditional method. While inverted, you have better control over the extraction process by avoiding coffee dripping out. However, some brewers object to using the inverted method as they are not keen on their coffee coming into contact with rubber gaskets.
- Blind Press
For a flavourful cup of coffee, rinse the Aeropress with warm water. This ensures the device is not only clean and devoid of taste-altering contaminants but it’s also warm and ready to brew. The rinsing process also wets the paper filters, preparing them for brewing.
An easier method of rinsing the Aeropress is to blind press the device. Blind pressing means introducing hot water to the set-up without adding your ground coffee. Gently pressing the hot water rinses and warms every part of the Aeropress.
- Temperature Control
Traditional coffee brewing (such as brewing pour-over or espresso) stipulates one to use water at a temperature of 200°F. However, Alan Adler and Aeropress enthusiasts reckon the ideal water temperature is 175°F.
- Grind Your Coffee Properly
Choose the right grind size for the coffee strength you are interested in. Grinding your coffee too fine will cause over-extraction. Conversely, too coarse a grind cause under extraction, resulting in weak, watery coffee.
Blooming has its origins in pour-over brewing. It involves dampening the ground coffee to help release the carbon dioxide that arises whenever coffee comes in contact with hot water. While the name might conjure images of something technical, blooming is simple. Pour about two to three times the weight of the coffee. Start at the centre of the bed and move to the side. Wait for 30 seconds as the coffee blooms.
- Gentle Press
While the Aeropress is meant to force hot water through the ground coffee, you’ll get the best results by applying a gentle press. Pressing hard compacts the ground coffee, making it difficult for water flow, creating a bitter-tasting coffee.
- Discard The Slurry
This technique is especially important if you want your coffee to have a smooth texture and devoid of any bitterness. It involves discarding the last brew water at the 1-mark, therefore avoiding your coffee from getting bitter.
- Use Back Pressure To Stop Drips
When using the traditional brewing method with the Aeropress over a cup, you’ll face the challenge of stopping coffee drips. As soon as you add hot water, it will start to drip through. However, you need to force the water to pass through the coffee under pressure. To stop the drip, insert the plunger and pull it up slightly to create backpressure that stops the drips.
The Ideal Aeropress Coffee Ratio
Brew ratio is the amount of coffee and water used. The vast majority of traditional coffee brewing methods use a ratio of 1:15 or 1:18. For the most part, there is no universal ideal Aeropress coffee ratio. However, Aeropress enthusiasts use a far more concentrated coffee ratio. The coffee ratio during competitions typically averages 1:11.5.
However, for daily brewing, such high concentrations are not ideal. The best way to find your ideal ratio is to experiment and determine which ratio suits you best.
How To Use An Aeropress To Make Cold Brew Coffee
Below is a step-by-step process of making a cold brew cup of coffee.
Step 1. Measure And Grind 30 Grams Of Coffee - Coarse grind your 30 grams of coffee in readiness for steeping. Grinding your coffee too fine will result in over-extraction, resulting in unwanted bitterness and acidity. However, you can experiment with a finer grind for 2, 4 or 6 hours steep times.
Step 2. Steep The Ground Coffee In An Aeropress – Invert your Aeropress and add the coffee.
Step 3. Add Room Temperature Water Or Slightly Cold Water To The Coffee Grounds – Depending on your ideal coffee ratio, add the necessary amount of water. For this Aeropress recipe, consider using 132 grams of water. Give a gentle stir to ensure all coffee grounds are in contact with water.
Step 4. Let The Coffee Steep – Allow the coffee to steep at room temperature for 24 hours. Ensure the steeping coffee does not come into contact with sunlight and heat.
Step 5. Prepare Your Aeropress Coffee – Rinse the paper filters. Add the filters to the basket, and screw the Aeropress. Flip the Aeropress on a cup or glass filled with ice cubes. Gently plunge the Aeropress for a quick finish. Alternatively, remove the plunger for dripped coffee.
When using an Aeropress, you don’t need to steep the coffee for an extended period to get a great cup of cold coffee. The coffee grind level in your coffee optimises the contact between the coffee and water, enhancing flavour extraction.
On the other hand, the Aeropress makes a cold brew fast and easy without compromising the quality of your brew. With the ability to control virtually all variables that go into brewing coffee, making a smooth brew of cold coffee doesn’t have to be a hassle.
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