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AeroPress and cold brew are two of the easiest, most delicious ways of making coffee. But can you make cold brew with an AeroPress? You certainly can, and that’s exactly what we’re here to do!
We’ll take a look at what AeroPress cold brew is, what it tastes like, and two recipes for making it. I’ll even introduce you to an AeroPress attachment that will make cold brew the easiest recipe in your AeroPress arsenal.
Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew
Here’s one common misconception we have to deal with before getting to the AeroPress cold brew recipes.
Iced coffee is brewed using hot water then cooled down. You can make iced coffee from any hot brewing method, not just an AeroPress. Coffee intended for iced coffee is typically brewed slightly stronger than regular hot coffee because it needs to withstand the diluting effect of melting ice.
Cold brew, on the other hand, is actually brewed at or below room temperature. It uses very coarsely ground coffee, a high coffee-to-water ratio, and a long brew time (12+ hours) to create a coffee concentrate that is usually diluted to match the strength of regular coffee.
Cold brew tends to have a mellow, smooth flavor that has less bitterness and acidity than regular (or iced) coffee. Its flavor is also less floral or fruity than other coffees since it preferentially extracts the more chocolatey, nutty, or earthy flavors from the beans.
How to Make Cold Brew With AeroPress
Some recipes for making cold brew in an AeroPress will simply tell you to brew it hot and pour the concentrate over ice. That option is delicious, but as I mentioned earlier: It’s iced coffee, not cold brew. You can have iced AeroPress coffee if you prefer, but I want to highlight a couple of recipes for making actual cold-brewed coffee with the AeroPress.
Option 1: 2-minute AeroPress cold brew
We’ll start with a slight twist on Alan Adler’s classic AeroPress cold brew. This is a huge time saver over standard cold-brewing methods, and it’s very much in the spirit of other AeroPress recipes.
What you’ll need
- 14.0 grams (about 3 Tbsp) finely-ground coffee
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) of filtered water. You want the water to be at room temperature. Adler suggested tap water, which might be fine depending on the quality of your water. Filtered is definitely safer to ensure quality.
- More filtered water to dilute
- A coffee grinder. If you are using whole bean coffee.
- Your AeroPress.
This recipe uses a cold brew coffee-to-water ratio of 1:4.3. That’s stronger than I’d typically recommend even for cold brew, but it’s necessary when trying to do this quick extraction.
- Grind your coffee beans. (Only if using whole beans) Use a fine grind setting which should result in a texture similar to table salt. Use a burr grinder if you have access to one, as blade grinders will produce too uneven a grind for this recipe.
- Rinse and attach the filter. Rinse your AeroPress paper filter and put it in the filter cap. Then, attach the filter to the brewing chamber. Rinsing helps avoid any residue of filter paper making its way into your coffee.
- Prepare your AeroPress. Place the AeroPress brewing chamber (with the filter attached) on top of your mug or another sturdy container.
- Add the grounds. Pour the grounds into the brew chamber and shake lightly to level them out.
- Pour the water. Add the water to the brew chamber.
- Stir the mixture. Use the paddle to stir the grounds and water together for a full minute. Don’t try to cut this step short as the full minute is absolutely necessary to avoid under-extracting the coffee. Make sure to stir from the bottom to get all of the grounds into contact with the water.
- Plunge. Insert the plunger and press it down gently. You just need enough pressure to hold the plunger firmly pressed against the liquid — gravity will do the rest. Continue plunging until all of the liquid has passed through the filter. Remove the AeroPress.
- Dilute your coffee. Your mug is now filled with cold brew concentrate, which you’ll want to dilute. I’d recommend a 50/50 concentrate-to-water mixture, but you can add more water if it is still too strong.
Option 2: Overnight AeroPress cold brew
This one is kind of a hack, but it can be convenient if you don’t have another way to make cold brew. Basically, we’re going to follow a standard cold brew recipe using the AeroPress as a brewing container. Courtesy of the plunger, filtering the brewed coffee is very easy, but you’d still be better off just buying a cold brew coffee maker.
What you’ll need
- 23.7 grams (4 and 2/3 Tbsp) coarse-ground coffee
- 118.3 grams (4 ounces) of filtered room-temperature water. Any water will do, but filtered water has fewer impurities and minerals that can impact the flavor of the brew.
- More filtered water to dilute
- A coffee grinder. Skip this if you are using pre-ground coffee.
- Your AeroPress.
This recipe uses a 1:5 coffee-to-water ratio. If the brew is too strong, you can lower it to about 1:8.
- Prepare your AeroPress. This recipe uses the inverted AeroPress method, so place the plunger into the top of the brewer and turn the entire thing over. That way, the plunger is underneath the main chamber. If you have a coffee scale, place the inverted AeroPress on it and tare the scale to make weighing the grounds and water easier.
- Grind your coffee beans. (If starting with whole bean coffee) Use a coarse or extra-coarse setting, which should have the texture of ground peppercorn. A burr grinder is ideal for this since they let you control the grind size directly. If you are using a blade grinder, use 1-second pulses until the right consistency is reached. Add the grounds to the AeroPress chamber and re-tare the scale if you are using one.
- Add the water. Add the water to the brewing chamber with the grounds.
- Stir the coffee. Stir the mixture gently with the paddle. Your goal is just to get the grounds fully into contact with the water, so a second or two should be fine.
- Cover the AeroPress. Since we are going to let this sit a while, it needs a cover to avoid anything falling into the brew. It’s easiest to just put the filter and filter cap over the top of the AeroPress, but you can also use a lightweight cup or lid.
- Let the coffee brew. Leave the AeroPress on your counter or in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Just keep it out of direct sunlight and away from any sources of heat.
- Rinse and attach the filter. Rinse a piece of AeroPress filter paper, place it in the filter cap, and screw the cap into place. Rinsing isn’t strictly necessary, but it helps to eliminate any papery taste from infecting the coffee.
- Filter away the grounds. Flip your AeroPress onto a mug or other sturdy container and push the plunger down. Your plunging speed doesn’t really matter since we aren’t using the AeroPress as a pressure brewer here. In fact, you could even remove the plunger and let gravity do the work if you really wanted to, but it will take a while.
- Dilute your coffee. You’ve made the cold brew concentrate, but you probably want to dilute it before drinking. Start with a 50/50 concentrate-to-water ratio. If that’s still too strong, you can keep diluting until the strength matches your preferences.
- Enjoy your cup of coffee!
Bonus Option 3: Puck Puck cold brew
No, this isn’t another recipe. Instead, it’s an attachment that converts the AeroPress into a slow-drip cold brew system. You just attach a standard water bottle, and it’s good to go. The splash filter ensures that the cold water drips evenly across the coffee grounds, and it even comes with an app to help you calibrate the drip rate for the ideal brew.
Making cold brew with the AeroPress and Puck Puck takes about 2.5 hours, which is a nice middle-ground between the other two cold brew methods. Just make sure you buy water bottles that are on their compatibility list or pick up Puck Puck’s water vessel, which replaces the need for a bottle.
Is AeroPress Cold Brew Any Good?
If done properly, yes, but the flavor may not be what you expect. With any of the three methods, you’ll still want to stick to the best coffees for cold brew as those will provide the best recreation of the cold brew you are used to.
Not all of the methods work equally well. Not surprisingly, the methods that take longer do a better job of creating the traditional cold brew flavor.
The 2-minute cold brew method produces a coffee that is close to cold brew but still retains some of the characteristics of AeroPress coffee. It’s a good balance for those that like both methods, but some cold brew fans may be disappointed.
The overnight method will taste exactly like cold brew because, well, it is exactly the same as a standard cold brew. The only unique aspect here is that we used the AeroPress as our brewing container.
The Puck Puck makes cold brew that tastes very similar to cold brew. Compared to the 2-minute brewing method, It has more of the smooth flavor and low acidity you’d expect from cold brew. You can still tell the difference if you actively try, but it’s hard to find a closer recreation of cold brew that can be made in less than three hours.
Like AeroPress, but Colder
One of the best things about the AeroPress is its versatility. If you enjoy recipes like AeroPress espresso, then AeroPress cold brew is well worth a try. Whether you are new to cold brew or looking for a new way to make it, these recipes are easy (and sometimes quick) ways of recreating the smooth flavor of cold brew coffee.
If you are looking for other ways to enjoy cold brew, consider making nitro cold brew at home. It’s a delicious twist on classic cold brew — and one that you can even try with your newfound AeroPress cold brew.