It’s late-summer here in Kansas City and iced coffee is one of the best ways to beat the heat.
By EMILY MCINTYRE
That’s why I spoke with Benetti’s Coffee Experience owner Ben Helt about his favorite way to brew iced coffee: Iced AeroPress.
The AeroPress is a funny-looking tube that sits directly over a cup. Invented by Alan Adler, a mechanical engineer who lectured at Stanford University and who also invented the far-flying Aerobie, the AeroPress has built up quite a cult following in the last few years.
There’s a World AeroPress Championship which China is hosting this year. Many prominent figures in the coffee world have endorsed the device as a perfect extraction.
“The AeroPress is a really flexible way to make coffee since it utilizes full contact immersion between coffee and water, agitation, and pressure,” Helt said.
He and the team at Benetti’s have been serving iced AeroPresses for years in the Raytown coffee shop.
Helt pointed out that while “we’re definitely not anti-cold brew, one of the attractions of cold brew is that it lessens acidity. Sometimes we want that acidity. The AeroPress offers it.”
If you’re planning to maintain the more prominent flavor notes, you can come closer with an iced AeroPress than with a cold brew, Helt said.
When it comes to an iced AeroPress, Helt said to “approach with a mindset that you’re shooting for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes total coffee contact time with water. You’ll use a finer grind than for a hot drink — not an espresso grind, but more than you’d use for a V60.”
Since you’ll be extracting the coffee onto ice, you’ll want to make the coffee stronger than normal — Helt suggested using around 38 grams of coffee to 250 grams of water.
You can play around with the balance between agitation and steeping: “We choose to do a 30 second agitation and 1 minute steep. Then, including press time, that’s about 2 minutes.”
Use water around 30 seconds off the boil, around 198 to 202 degrees.
“Keep in mind that when you first introduce the water to the grounds, it’ll bloom about 3/4 of the way up the tube,” he said. “You’ll need to stop and break the crust before pouring the rest of the water in.”
The folks at Benetti’s catch the coffee in a small container with a little ice to start the chilling, swirl it until it’s cold, than pour it over fresh ice.
“That way the coffee is cooled in a more controlled fashion.”
Some of Helt’s customers have had success at home with straining the ice from the coffee before pouring it onto fresh ice.
However you make the iced AeroPress, keep in mind that one of the advantages of the extraction is its flexibility. There are hundreds of experiments to try on Youtube, and almost every barista and shop has a different opinion on the best AeroPress extraction.
It’s a great conversation starter!
Helt recommends using Kaguyu Auction Lot Kenya AA coffee when making the iced AeroPress.
“It’s got a citrusy appeal with some chocolate and when you brew it under pressure it makes for a great iced coffee experience,” he said.
The coffee retails at $15.50 for 12-ounce bag. It can be ordered online at www.benettiscoffee.com or picked up at the Raytown store.
The AeroPress can be found at www.aeropress.com or at most coffee shops in Kansas City, including Benetti’s.
HOW TO BREW 2-MINUTE ICED AEROPRESS
Emily McIntyre is a freelance writer who specializes in covering coffee culture. A Kansas City area native, she pursues coffee excellence throughout the country with her husband, a roaster, and her toddler.