As the crisp days of fall and the last sunsets of summer fight for your affection, there's always time for one last stab at hot-weather refreshment (or if you're in Los Angeles, and it's still 100°). And though you've heard of cold brewed coffee, and Japanese-style iced coffee, there's yet another—faster!—way to brew cold. And goodness knows with winter rolling right in, time is of the essence.
Gregory Zamfotis of New York City's bustling Gregory's chain swears by Aeropress-over-ice, a speedier way to brew cooled coffee that doesn't lose as many characteristics of the coffee as other methods. What works for delivering brewed-to-order cold coffee in a fast paced cafe is also very easy to reproduce at home—and worth it in terms of flavor.
"We find that we get a lot more consistency using Aeropress in general," says Zamfotis, whose newest cafe at 31st Street and 6th Avenues features an Aeropress brew bar. Zamfotis says that brewing Aeropress cold "allows the aroma experience to come through," believing firmly that the technique's preservation of a coffee's acidity is where ice brewing really shines.
Unlike the long, room-temperature brews of cold brewed coffee, or the more delicate extracting finesse involved in cone filter brewing (whether over ice or no), Aeropress relies on the the properties of steeped brewing and air-pressure extraction: no fancy pouring kettles are required, only a little physical oomph. Best of all, brewing with hot water directly onto ice tends to preserve the brightness of the bean.
Here's Gregory's method for brewing cold coffee using Aeropress. It's handy to have a kitchen scale such as this or this to weight your coffee and ice. You'll also need a liquid measuring cup that shows ounces.
1. Place sturdy mug on your scale and use the tare button to zero out the weight. Fill with 4 ounces ice—make sure the cup is large enough to add an additional 4 ounces of liquid, too. Remove mug from scale.
2. Weigh out 15 grams of coffee beans and grind to a medium, or filter, grind. Place coffee into an inverted Aeropress (where the filter part will go should be at the top).
3. Bring hot water to a boil.
4. Quickly measure 4 ounces of boiling water and pour over the grounds in your Aeropress. Stir to make sure all the grounds are evenly saturated and screw the filter cap (with filter in it) onto the Aeropress.
5. After 1 minute 30 seconds, invert the Aeropress over your ice cup and press down until you hear the air just escaping the Aeropress. This should take about 30 seconds.
As the water hits the ice in your cup, you'll have already cool-to-drink coffee that's full of the aromas and acidity that make coffee wonderful at any temperature. Enjoy!
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop later this year.