Review: Field-testing the Toddy T2N cold-brew coffee system

By day Thomas "cmdln" Gideon works at the intersection of technology and public policy, on issues ranging from Internet freedom and network neutrality to copyright. In his spare time he is a home brewer and a podcaster. After he sent me this detailed review of the Toddy T2N, I asked him if I could post it here on Boing Boing, and he was kind enough to say yes.

On a recent trip to New York, Cory introduced me to cold brewed coffee for the first time. I don't consider myself a coffee connoisseur as such but I do gravitate towards the better offerings that can be had through local roasters. I've also upgraded my coffee kit to include a middle of the road espresso maker and a better than average though cost conscious burr grinder. In retrospect I am surprised I hadn't tried cold brewed coffee sooner. Less surprising is how much I enjoyed it once I finally did. I was raving about it so much that on my return my wife offered to get me a Toddy so I could make my own.

The main appeal to me besides the subjectively superior flavor is the drastic reduction in the acidity of cold brewed coffee, by some claims as much as two-thirds. I've been limiting my coffee intake to strictly before noon for years due to the effects afternoon coffee had on my stomach. Even selecting and brewing lower acid varieties didn't do much to help a situation often made all the worse by my lurching evening commute on Washington, DC's metro system. Cold brew offers me all that I enjoy about coffee without that one limiting factor.

For the uninitiated, cold brewing generally refers to a set of methods for soaking coarse ground coffee at room temperature for an extended amount of time then filtering the result to produce a very concentrated brew. The concentrate can be diluted with water or with dairy and is consumed both hot and cold. I especially like it cold, over ice, with nothing at all in it. In the US, the most common method for cold brewing is to use a Toddy, a bit of kit invented and exclusively sold by Todd Simpson.

When the Toddy my wife ordered me arrived, I was surprised at its simplicity. It reminded me of those single serving drip makers that accept a paper cone filter and sit on top of a mug but scaled up considerably. In this case, the mug is replaced by a glass carafe that holds about a pint and a half. The part that sits on it is reminiscent of a small plastic bucket with legs. The bucket part has a depression at the bottom that fits a scrubbing pad-like filter and has a small hole which you stopper with an included rubber plug.

To brew up a batch you carefully alternate pouring measures of coarse ground coffee and water into the plastic bucket. The goal is to wet all the grounds without stirring. The included, all too brief instructions repeatedly warn that stirring will result in a clogged filter. The whole affair is left to sit at room temperature overnight. The bucketful of soaking grounds are then placed on the carafe and the plug is removed to allow the concentrated results to slowly drain out. Keeping the filter from clogging at all is next to impossible but the instructions include some good advice to improve your results.

I will admit I did not read the instructions closely enough at first. The first two batches I made were far weaker than they should have been. Even these weak batches were tasty, they simply didn't stretch as far. I made my first correct batch just a few days ago. The instructions recommend twelve ounces of coffee to seven cups of water. I may go to a full pound of coffee simply to have my local shop do the grinding rather than enduring the mess I made grinding and measuring myself. One pound of coffee simply ups the water to nine cups which the Toddy will just barely hold.

I need to experiment a little further but I suspect the trick really is to fuss with the grounds as *little* as possible. For the most part they float and as they soak overnight they sink into the water on their own. If you can keep them sinking slowly, it should allow more of the concentrate to flow through the filter before the mass of grounds hits it. With my first proper batch I fidgeted with the grounds, trying to sink the mass of grounds more into the water. As a result, the liquid portion only half filled the carafe. I am sure if I leave the next batch alone I'll get more concentrate out of it. For all that I made less concentrate it was plenty strong. The instructions recommend diluting three-to-one but I've been making servings closer to four-to-one that still have an excellent flavor.

We'll see how long the full strength but smaller volume batch lasts. The two weaker ones didn't last long at all, only two or three days. Part of that was no doubt the novelty coupled with the desire to finish the batch to try further tweaks as much as it was how little they stretched since they required far less dilution. Having a batch in the fridge at all times is incredibly convenient, whether I want an afternoon iced coffee or as an alternative to the Americano I usually make myself in the morning.

In short, I am totally happy with the Toddy despite the learning curve. The instructions are packed with useful information including using the Toddy to cold brew tea and several recipes for drinks using the concentrate. I just wish they had been a bit clearer on the measurements and process though clearly it is nothing a little trial and error didn't solve. The flavor is excellent, exactly what I expected and very comparable to what I've had in shops. Aside from the effort of grinding and measuring, cold brew is very simple to make with this rig. The twelve hour steep demands patience but getting another vessel means I could rack up more than one batch back-to-back just like I do when brewing beer. I can easily see weekly cold brewing becoming part of our household routine.

Toddy T2N Cold-Brew Coffee System


  1. Cold-brew is great, but you may not need the Toddy – I cold-brew in a cafetiere (french press coffeemaker)….

  2. Love love love my Toddy maker. Simple, little mess, and perfect coffee.

    You do use more grounds than a regular coffee maker, however, so keep that in mind. You get what you pay for.

    But the resulting intense coffee syrup, diluted 3:1 or 4:1 with water or milk, is so smooth, full of flavor, and wonderful that you may stick with only the Toddy. We did. We’ve been very satisfied with our Toddy for the last 5 years.

  3. I’ve had the Toddy for years, and I don’t find anything fussy about it at all. I pour in a pound of ground coffee, slowly pour water on top of the coffee grounds until the ‘bucket’ is full and the grounds reach the top. And that’s it. No thinking required, and the concentrate is always superb.

  4. Serious question: how is this better than simply making it in a glass container — in the refrigerator or at room temp — and then pouring through a filter into another container?

    1. Serious question: how is this better than simply making it in a glass container — in the refrigerator or at room temp — and then pouring through a filter into another container?

      It’s easier to pull the stopper at the bottom, since it doesn’t stir things up the way that you’re suggesting. Also you’d still need something to hold the filter while you apply a pound of coffee to it. The Toddy’s a little pricey at $30, but I suspect any other solution would be comparably priced.

      1. How does it compare to a french press? We cold brew in that regularly. And the french press is useful for hot brewing as well.

        1. How does it compare to a french press? We cold brew in that regularly. And the french press is useful for hot brewing as well.

          I don’t know, I haven’t used a French Press, or seen one. Could be a better system.

          1. The big difference between Toddy and a French press is the filtering. With a French press you’ll get a lot of sediment whereas the felt filter in the Toddy pretty much removes all that.

        2. I’ve been using a french press for cold brewin for some time now and it’s the most hassle-free, clean and effective method. Just put the grounds in, pour cold water over it, stir, press after 8-10 hours and pour the filtered coffee into a bottle for easier storage. No clogged filters, no strange systems, plus you don’t loose any liquid if you press the grounds hard enough. All in all, it takes about 3 minutes to prepare.
          And I bought a decent generic-brand press for an equivalent of below $10.

      2. I don’t understand why it’s important not to stir things up.

        I make cold-brew coffee by putting my grounds in a jug, mostly filling with water, giving it a good shake, letting it sit overnight, and then pouring it through a cloth filter. It tastes great. I don’t get what this specialized piece of equipment is supposed to add to the the equation.

        1. The problem with stirring has to do with the poor filtering design of this particular model. Is uses a very fine puck of fiber that clogs easily if the grounds and silt get compacted on it. What sort of cloth filter do you use, and how slowly do you have to pour? Does the filter sit in a funnel of any sort?

          1. Aha, thanks for the answer.

            I use a large Melita cone filter for the filtering part. There are a couple of companies that make cone-shaped cloth filters that are sold as replacements for paper filters for hippies (like me). I don’t have problems with clogging, but I can see how this could be an issue depending on the kind of filter you use. Using a fairly coarse grind and the cloth filter works perfectly for me, and I’m a whiny bitch about grounds in my coffee AND an impatient child waiting for it to filter, so I must have found the sweet spot.

            The only trick to this is that after sitting overnight, the grounds float to the top and kind of fuse into a brick, particularly with nice fresh grounds. So I poke it with a wooden spoon to break it up and make for easier pouring.

        2. If you were a chef, you would get a few snickers. Mixing, whipping, folding, blending, stirring and all those other cooking terms are essential and do factor in great food. I have stirred cake batter once, not folded as directed, and it was ruined.

          My father bought one of these many years ago from Starbucks, it had to be in the mid 80’s and the coffee is delicious. Some coffee bars serve iced coffee using Toddy, it’s excellent!

          And yes, the acidity level is almost next to none, good news for people who had to quit coffee due to ulcers and such.

          1. If you were a chef, you would get a few snickers. Mixing, whipping, folding, blending, stirring and all those other cooking terms are essential and do factor in great food.

            Huh? I have missed whatever point you were trying to make to me.

      3. Thanks for the reminder. I completely forgot about the fail that is pulling the stopper when the coffee is ready! Holding the basket full of coffee and water over the carafe, reach underneath and feel around for the stopper (or squat down and hold the carafe higher than your head so you can see). Pull the stopper out, trying not to let it slip out of your hand and fall in the carafe, and avoid getting your fingers in the way and splashing the coffee. Then set the basket down precariously on the carafe and wait for the coffee to drain. Better do it over the sink, though, because when you pick the basket up off the carafe, inevitably there will be some portion of liquid still that will dribble all over.

        Seriously, would a valve have been that hard to add?

        1. I don’t understand why it’s important not to stir things up.

          I didn’t realize you were using another filter, at which point it’s not a big deal.

          I completely forgot about the fail that is pulling the stopper when the coffee is ready!

          Never had a problem with it myself. Really it was pretty easy to find and pull out. Maybe this is a personal problem.

          I’ve also not had a problem with the filter getting clogged, maybe it’s the coffee we’ve been using? They recommend a very course grind, much courser that many people would typically use, which might be the reason for the clogged filters.

          Anyway, sounds like any sort of filter works pretty well. I’ve stopped using ours because I don’t want to drink a ton of coffee all at once.

          1. All the snide comments in the world won’t change the fact that this thing is cheap plastic bucket with a space for an easily-clogged filter and a hole in the bottom plugged only by a rubber cork. For $30 you get that and a flimsy carafe without a handle.

  5. I’ve been using the Filtron kit for about 15 years and love it. I don’t bother with the paper liners anymore. Clean up is a bit messier, but since it’s only once every two weeks I don’t mind.

  6. Been using the toddy for several years.

    A few things I learned:
    – always have at least 2 extra filters on hand, because it can be painful to find them when you need to replace !
    – always go for a medium roast or lighter.
    – sumatran coffee almost always works out the best
    – use locally roasted beans. if you have to use store beans, make sure they’re reasonably fresh and nitrogen flushed or vacuum packed.
    – make sure they’re freshly ground.
    – 18hours is the perfect timing.
    – you can make a smaller second a batch immediately afterwards. just add about half as much water as the first batch and soak for 12 hours. its more like ‘rinsing’ the beans. its not as strong, but just as good.

    1. What? The instructions I received many years ago was to store them wet in a sealed plastic sandwich bag and put them in the refrigerator; mine are in the butter compartment.

  7. i was introduced to the coffee toddy when working at my college’s bookstore’s computer shop, *mumble*mumble* years ago. one of the guys who worked there came in one day and set one up. simple to use. simple to clean. great coffee.

    it was an ideal setup since the last person out of the store would start the following morning’s batch steeping.

    i’ve always wondered why these things aren’t more popular. guess the waiting period is a deal killer for most people. oh. and also, we sometimes had problems ordering replacement filters. but i just looked on amazon, i doubt seriously that would be a problem for the t2n.

  8. I’ve been using french presses (3 and 8 cups) to make cold-brewed coffee for awhile. I set it in the fridge the night before, and filter it in the morning. Am I missing anything by not using a Toddy? Grounds aren’t usually a problem if I let it sit a minute before pouring off. It takes slightly more pressure to press than hot coffee, but slow and steady wins the race.


  9. Love the result, hate the design.

    I got one of these about a year ago. As a sometime homebrewer, I realized that a big part of the hassle is the way the kind of filter and shape of the basket makes getting the grounds thoroughly wet without clogging the filter. Given the similarity of to process and the filtering needs, this is just like mashing the grain in beer making. Just like making coffee with this gadget, it’s possible for the mash to clog, resulting in a ‘stuck mash’.

    To make a better version of this, the filtering system needs to include a fine mesh, much like a reusable cone coffee filter. If there’s a reason why the coffee needs to be filtered as finely as the current easily-clogged ‘puck’ filter that causes the problem, that filter could be placed inline behind the primary filter.

    Next, a better way of delivering the water than just pouring it on the grounds would do a lot to help the mixing without threatening to cause a clog. A fill tube that would channel the water down to come up from beneath the grounds should do it.

    I also have an issue with the cheap plastic design of the basket handle. When full of coffee and water, it’s not very comfortable to pick up because of the sharp edges of the plastic. It’s also flimsy enough that it sags, potentially causing a mess when trying to deal with a full 1-pound batch of coffee and 9 cups of water.

    A cover on the basket would be nice, too. I improvise with whatever is handy, to keep stuff from falling in during the 24 hours that it has to sit there soaking.

    Finally, the carafe seems terribly thin glass, and it has no handle. The ribbed neck doesn’t provide a very secure grip, and lacks the leverage of proper handle that would allow for more confidence when pouring from it.

  10. I love love love my Toddy. And I love that I don’t need sugar for coffee anymore. What a great and simple tool. The only criticism that I have is that the glass container that it comes with is so insanely thin that there’s the fear of it breaking every time you use it. I suggest you get the Bormioli Rocco hermetically sealed glass container (2.3 L) and use it instead. This container fits the Toddy so you can drain right into it like the original carafe. I bought mine on Amazon. $20 and made of thick glass.

  11. I still cold brew coffee with a French press. It’s easier and makes a great cup, but generally not a concentrate.

  12. RE: French presses

    French presses are ideal for great tasting coffee, but let’s not ignore the fact that they filter the least. When you drink french pressed coffee, you are also drinking the oils and a lot of the smaller pieces of grounds that escaped the non-intricate filter that traditional paper or Toddy filters provide.

    What makes Toddy superior is that you are getting all of the lovely concentrated syrup, but without the bits of grounds that ingesting doesn’t benefit you at all.

  13. I use a french press to cold brew almost everyday, comes out perfectly. In a one of the small plastic 12 oz bodum plastic portable presses, 4 tablespoons of grounds and filled with water produce a decent amount of concentrate that is some of the best coffee I have ever had.

    You can get the press cheaper than a Toddy, and it can be used for brewing hot or even tea.

  14. Yes, the French Press was one option I was thinking about too. The filter is built-in, so simply pouring would be enough, especially if silt doesn’t bother you (ala Turkish coffee).

    I have nested mesh sieves; it’s easy to put some cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter inside whichever one is the ‘right’ size for the job and rest that over a receptacle (bowl, wide-mouthed pitcher, etc.).

    It sounds as if the Toddy is not much more stable or elegant than what I’ve just described; thus, I’m still wondering what makes it a better choice to create the end result? I’m all for specific-function appliances *if* they really do make the process so much easier or better that they’re worth the cupboard/counter space.

  15. I make fantastic cold-brewed coffee in a large glass jar just by pouring in some grounds and cold water, giving it a quick shake and leaving it to sit overnight. Then I just pour the coffee through a strainer lined with paper towels into a bowl, and pour the filtered result back into the (rinsed out) jar. I’ll admit I’m no coffee connoisseur, but it tastes great to me and cost me NO money to get started. I don’t think I’ll be shelling out $30 for something as fiddly as this…

    1. The Aeropress and the French Press solve very different problems. I’ve never been happy with brewing 4 cups in the Aeropress. It doesn’t work all that great when you’re at the top end of the volume. But it’s great for making something espresso-like.

  16. Wife and I have been using one of these for 10+ years. We have found that we get just as good of a brew by putting in a pound of ground coffee and then slowly adding filtered water to bring the level up to the top of the basket. Never had an issue with clogging doing it this way either.

    The main advantages over the french press:

    volume (I’ve never seen a french press that could produce this quantity of concentrate if used to cold brew)
    filter (zero silt in the resulting concentrate – I personally think the Toddy filter and the drip process also cuts down on the acidity)

    Made the mistake of getting one of these for my father (a serious coffee junkie) and found out he was drinking the concentrate straight. He asked how much we spent on coffee since he was using a pound a day for a couple days. ;)

  17. Never used the Toddy but use my French Press for cold brewing during the summer months. I don’t make a concentrate, just add a little extra, than I usually use to the press, and then let it sit overnight. I’ve even put it into the fridge overnight with good results. The next morning I press the coffee and drink it thruout the day without diluting. Couldn’t be any easier, IMHO, and no need to buy another brewing device.

  18. “I make cold-brew coffee by putting my grounds in a jug, mostly filling with water, giving it a good shake, letting it sit overnight, and then pouring it through a cloth filter. It tastes great. I don’t get what this specialized piece of equipment is supposed to add to the the equation.”

    No one needs to spend money on this equipment. Cold brewing is very easy to do in any container with pretty much any filter setup you already have. The cloth filters are nice because they don’t add the filter flavor and chemicals of the paper ones.

  19. I agree 100% with cratermoon. I stopped using the Toddy mainly due to filter problems. Too frequently the filter would clog preventing it from draining correctly.

    If they designed a more sophisticated system that solved this problem I would buy it in a heartbeat.

  20. I tie up the grounds in a large piece of cheesecloth, stick them in a glass or plastic container of water for 12 hours, then pull out the cheesecloth and compost the grounds. I filter out escaped grounds and silt by pouring the coffee through my drip coffeemaker — not turning the coffeemaker on, just putting a filter in the basket and pouring the coffee into the filter. It drips into the glass coffeepot below. (This can go slowly as the fluid level in the filter drops, reducing the pressure forcing the coffee through the filter, but it doesn’t take that long. if I’m making more than one filter-basket-ful, I periodically pour more in there.) Then I rinse out the original container and pour the filtered coffee from the glass coffeepot back into the original container to store it.

    This lets me make up to 8 cups of concentrate at a time (since my glass pot holds 8 cups). I have learned the hard way that you can’t make cold-brewed coffee more than a few days in advance, though. It grows mold by about 1 week. So now I’d only make that much if I had guests.

    A French press would be a great way to make just enough cold-brewed coffee for each morning — don’t know why I never thought of that. Unfortunately I broke mine. Need to get a new one.

    jonathan_v, while good beans are obviously better, I’ve found that cold-brewed coffee is pretty forgiving. Even cheap beans yield a drinkable cold brew (even though their hot brew is undrinkable). Cold brewing extracts far less bitterness from the beans than hot brewing does, so it will make cheap coffee much smoother. If the cheap stuff is what you can afford, this is a better way to brew it.

    But I recommend Kona coffee for all of your coffee needs. The real stuff, not the “Kona blend” stuff where they wave one Kona bean over a bunch of cheap stuff. I get mine from Greenwell Farms, but there are lots of small farmers to buy from. It is expensive, but it’s so beautiful.

  21. Wouldn’t it be easier to go to Starbucks, buy a pound of coffee and as them to use the Turkish Coffe grind for you. Then put the finely ground, almost powderly, coffee into a French Press and let it sit in the refridgerator overnight? Press down on the French Press slowly and voila. Already, not room temperature, iced coffee just readly for some cold milk.

  22. It’s never a good idea to use a paper coffee filter. Paper absorbs some of the oils of the coffee. It’s this oil that gives coffee its distinctive aroma and taste. Always use a metal filter.

  23. The toddy glass is also extremely fragile. It does have something that says do not use metal glass, and it really means it. Grabbed it to use for lemon as it was the nearest pitcher in the kitchen. I wasn’t thinking and used a metal spoon to stir. One clink against the side, and it cracked and started leaking. Stupid of me but for the price it should not be so fragile. Luckily, I have large mason jars lying around.

    I have not had an issue with coffee growing mold even storing it two weeks.

  24. You know what would have made this a better review? A picture of the inside of the filter basket (or whatever you want to call the top thingie) so that one can get a sense of what this contraption actually does.

    Also, I do not believe this sentence: “In the US, the most common method for cold brewing is to use a Toddy…”

    Can it possibly be true that this is the most common method?

  25. Toddy is fine for cold coffees which are usually just glorified milkshakes. I’ve found that Toddy simply cannot be made to taste like regular “hot brew” coffee. The flavor profile is most often described as “muted”.

    My friends and I have tried many different ways of re-introducing heat into cold brewed coffee to make a flavor that is either comparable to traditional methods or unique in its own appealing way. We have never succeeded. Hot Toddy coffee is invariably inferior to other methods in every respect other than its low acidity. If that is the key factor for you then more power to you, but I don’t think that’s why most people drink coffee. Personally, I drink coffee for the flavor and the caffeine effect with the acidity being but one variable in the overall flavor profile. To most people, Toddy is not a substitute for hot coffees. YE BE WARNED!!!

    If you want a bright and fruity flavor then go with a hand pour or if you can afford it, a vacuum brew.

    If you like espresso, then go to a coffee shop with either a great machine and a great barista or a good machine and an exceptional barista. An amazing piece of machinery and a not so great barista will consistently produce inferior espresso.

  26. “The main appeal to me besides the subjectively superior flavor is the drastic reduction in the acidity of cold brewed coffee, by some claims as much as two-thirds. I’ve been limiting my coffee intake to strictly before noon for years due to the effects afternoon coffee had on my stomach.”

    I apologize for the bickering in terminology and being “that guy”, but I gotta say it.

    Nine times out of ten, the acid isn’t what’s hurting your stomach.

    Coffee generally speaking has a pH of 6.7-6.6 when brewed properly, which, yes, is acidic, but substantially less so than most fruit juices, fizzy drinks, or alcoholic beverages. Cory, I will happily believe you that the acid is what’s hurting your stomach if you find you also can’t drink apple juice, coke, or (most) beer without it hurting your stomach.

    Coffee, when overextracted (which frankly is a *lot* of coffee out there, even coffee people pay money for at premium cafes) extracts astringent compounds and tannins, which taste bitter, and can wreak havoc on one’s digestive tract. For funsies, drink a glass of cheap red wine and see if it affects your gut the same way a standard cup of coffee would.

    Cold brew coffee does decrease the acidity of the coffee, but the fact of the matter is that it decreases everything about the coffee. Acidity is the brightness and tartness (and as a result a lot of the character) one tastes in a delicious cup of coffee. The result is kinda like “MTV presents Coffee: Unplugged”

    Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty worse cups out there than a cold brew one, but it’s also possible to have a non-astringent and even more delightful cups out there. I don’t know if they’re still in operation, but Penny University in London were an amazing group of brewers that were capable of delivering a smooth and delicious cup.

    Also worth noting is that many of the better roasters out there sell their coffees in 12 oz/350 g bags, including London’s own Square Mile, who are amazing (assuming you’re still in London), definitely worth checking out.

  27. I have been using an older Filtron system for years. It has a bowl for the the filter/coffee and another bowl on top of that for the water. The top bowl has a tiny hole that allows the water to wet the grounds very slowly (typically over an hour for the water bowl to drain). It also has a perforated plastic disc you place on top of the coffee to keep grounds from floating to the top. I have never had a problem with the filter clogging. BTW, best toddy mocha – 2 parts Toddy concentrate, one part vitamin D milk, one part half and half, then add chocolate syrup to taste. Delicious hot or cold. Since I get almost half a gallon of the concentrate per batch, I put that in a plastic gallon jug with a quart of milk and quart of half and half, throw in the fridge and enjoy.

  28. As a coffee addict, I’ve happily used the Toddy for over ten years. Some tips: For a deeper flavor use a finer grind then Toddy suggests and brew it for more than 18 hrs. You will need a fairly fresh Toddy filter so use it less than 5-6 times. I bought a whole bunch at one time. Don’t forget to put the rubber stopper into the white tub. Make sure you soak the filter and add a layer of 2 cups of water into the white tub as the first step. Then use 12 oz of coffee. You can put it all in a once or if you are worried about clogging put in 6oz, wait 5 minutes, and add the rest of the coffee, then slowly add water to the top. You are done. Don’t stir or shake it. You can cover it or not. Put it in the fridge. Wait 18 hrs. When ready for dripping attach the handle to the white tube and place it a few inches over the glass carafe, pull out the rubber stopper, and let the tub sit on the carafe and drip concentrate. It may drip slowly and take as long as on hour to fill the carafe, so have patience. About 2/3 hot water and 1/3 concetrate makes a delicious cup. The coffee concentrate stays fresh in the fridge for a least a week so you always get a fresh tasting cup of coffee. Sumatran is superb with this method. Yes you can cold brew using other equipment and if you like it that’s fine. Toddy is handy, makes a lot, and is not expensive. Happy coffee drinking.

  29. I’ve been doing this for some time using a pitcher to hold the grounds and water and then filtering through a strainer covered with cheesecloth into another pitcher. It’s a tad messy, but it makes great coffee.

  30. Do you REALLY use a full pound of coffee for each batch in the Toddy? That’s incredibly inefficient and expensive.

    In my method, I use 3/4 cup automatic drip grounds in each quart mason jar and just like the Toddy, I dilute three or four to one to get proper strength. If I start with cold water, a full cup of grounds makes similar strength concentrate.

    I cold and warm brew all the time with a mason jar and plastic lid. Mix the batch, shake it up, and put it in the fridge. Shake it up a few more times, and filter the next day. I strain it twice. The first time is through a gold permanent coffee filter, and I add a few ounces of fresh water to rinse the jar into the filter. The second time is through filter paper. I usually only filter the “bottom half” of jar through paper, though.

    It doesn’t sound nearly as cool as “cold brewing”, but lately I’ve been warm brewing mostly. It is a little more acidic and probably has more caffeine. (I’m pretty sure hot water helps extract the caffeine.) I’ve been measuring the starting temperature and taking note to find exactly what I like best. Somewhere between 140 and 160 degrees is a good sweet spot for me depending on the grounds I start with.

    I never hot brew anymore. And every commercial coffee I’ve had lately except two have tasted burnt. Some tasted more like ashtray than coffee to me.

    The best thing about cold and warm brewed coffees is that the flavors are much more complex and inviting to me.

  31. Also: you can fill icecube trays with toddy and freeze it.
    A single cube makes one cup of coffee handily and the frozen toddy stays good at least three or four weeks.

    I’ve never had a clogged filter in over eight years. The only thing I can think is that the OP ground the coffee too fine or just got impatient with the decanting. It does take over an hour for all the water to drip through to the carafe.

  32. True Story: I’d gotten a Toddy in 2001. My first time drinking it, I’d decided to go half’n’half with the concentrate — half the black fluid, half milk and a bit of water. I like it strong, what can I say.

    But that was hella strong. I drink as I do my morning thing (back then) of turning on CNN and seeing what’s up.

    I’m all like, why is the World Trade Center on fire? I drink more freakishly strong coffee as I watch 9/11 happen. I end up yelling, freaking out, running around the duplex telling neighbors and some confused guys working on an upstairs apartment about the horror.

    Too much caffeine was not a good thing for the morning of 9/11/01. I decided after a month of the Toddy that I should put it away, go back to the french press (freedom press, it became in that era).

  33. The formula I found to work best for me is to pour in the coffee grounds and add four cups of water a cup at a time. Wait 10 minutes (roughly) and then add five more cups. Doesn’t clog. Also, I clean my filters by boiling them in water every so often. It doesn’t effect the discoloration much, but does extend the life. I leave it overnight.

    The part about the Toddy process that makes it different is the use of these compressed felt filters. As NotJack pointed out, it’s not so much the “acid” as the other astringents that trigger reflux that get filtered. It’s a similar thing with truly good espresso as the process “filters” out a lot of the elements which can trigger reflux. I find that I can get away with Americano, as long as the barista is good, and the beans aren’t burnt like Starbucks does.

    For all the “this is how it ‘should’ be done wonks, may I refer you to the real best coffee ever formula

  34. I have made cold coffee for literally decades. Started doing this when my sister ran across the “sun tea jar” when they were all the rage a couple of decades ago. I thought, hmmm if tea works, why not coffee? and viola! The best coffee ever. The secrets I have found are using distilled water, a glass jar, and the medium-to-dark roast beans (the really cheap kind – on super sale, nearly gone to their expiration date). I grind my own coffee and distil my own water so this saves on a lot of money as well. I used to use cheese cloth to strain it but that’s expensive and just started using regular large white dish towels (the kind people buy to embroider on). I make a jar of coffee in the morning, let it sit on the counter during the day, and before I go to bed I put it in the fridge. By the next morning, I am able to strain it into another glass jar and put it back in the fridge to use freely. I have also taken this concentrate and have put it into an ice cube tray and freeze it when I know I am going to have company over and use it for coffee-flavored alcohol type/desert beverages. These always have been a big hit.

  35. Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

    1) Grind a pound of coffee coarse.
    2) Put it, and 9 cups of water, in a spaghetti pot, let steep overnight.
    3) Strain through a chinois, put in a jar, Bob’s your Uncle.

    Would that work just as well?

    The chinois is a cool tool. Here’s what mine looks like:

    It exists for one extremely useful purpose: to extract the liquid from a muddy fluid — QUICKLY. This is most commonly done when making stock or jelly.

    But as it happens, IF you already have a chinois, making large quantities of coffee is the easiest thing in the world. Just mix boiling water and coffee in a spaghetti pot, stir, wait a few minutes, then dump it through the chinois.

    At the moment, Amazon wants $27 for that chinois, which is a pretty good price. The metal band across the bottom means you can put the strainer into a pot and the strainer mesh won’t touch the pot. If you’re making a jelly, that means less cloudiness.

    You can get cheaper ones, but the one you get should have a “metal fabric” mesh cone — much tighter weave than the typical strainer. Definitely NOT the kind that is a sheet metal with a bunch of holes.

    1. Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

      1) Grind a pound of coffee coarse.
      2) Put it, and 9 cups of water, in a spaghetti pot, let steep overnight.
      3) Strain through a chinois, put in a jar, Bob’s your Uncle.

      Would that work just as well?

      Yep, as good as or better than the french press for someone who’s already got the steady hand for pouring it through the chinois ;) I’ll stick to my press because my hand-eye co-ordination is terrible, but it sounds like you’ve got exactly the equipment you need right there.

      The Toddy’s felt filter is like paper filters but it hoovers out even more of the aromatic oils. Nuts to that. The chinois metal mesh sounds exactly like the filter mesh in my Bodum press. Perfect for the job :)

      1. Thanks for the info!

        The chinois is pretty enormous — about 10 inches across the top and about 10-12 inches tall, so no coordination is required, assuming your receptacle is large enough. (This is also why it’s expensive.)

        I know, there’s no sense in buying a $30 strainer just for coffee. If you also make stock and jam, it’s a nice thing to have, and in that case, it will pay for itself promptly.

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