Cold Brew Coffee

coldbrewI understand that most coffee lovers don’t like their coffee cold, so how does a thing like cold brew coffee catch on?  Well, it all comes down to chemistry.  The story behind the Toddy is that a chemical engineering graduate came up with the idea because cold brewed coffee is 67% less acidic, and smoother than many other brew methods.  Along with that, no risk of burning! So our hero Todd patented this ridiculously simple device, and probably never worked another day of his life. I wish I could do something like that.

Just because it is brewed cold doesn’t mean it has to be consumed cold.  Add boiling water, which dilutes it a smidgen, or just throw it into the microwave to heat it up.  Being one of the 25 million acid reflux sufferers in America, I understand the benefit of making things a little easier on the stomach, and this is a good way to do that without having to drink less than you want.  It is also very convenient as you can refrigerate it for several days.

You can order a Toddy cold brew system online, or from specialty coffee stores if you can find one. I am only aware of one such store in Tulsa, Mecca Coffee Co.  However, you can also buy a near identical product from Walgreen’s for half the price, which is what I did. And seriously, there is nothing to this process, so the contraptions work just the same.  The only difference is the size.   My little cold brew device is smaller, so you don’t get quite as much.  The other down side is that you are much more likely to find replacement parts for a Toddy than the “As Seen on TV” thing that I have, I know from experience.  My wife accidentally threw away the plug to mine, but luckily, the plug for the Toddy fits just the same, so I bought one from Mecca and was back to cold brewing in no time.  The other part you may need to replace is the cloth filter that fits into the bottom of the tank, and those do not come in the same size.

The Method

coldbrewfilledI suppose I should get to the details. Don’t worry, this will be short. How much coffee and water you can use depends on your device.  With the Toddy it is one pound of coarse ground coffee and 9 cups of filtered water.  With mine, I use something close to 12 ounces of coffee and 7 cups of water.  you can adjust the ratio if you like, but that will give you a pretty strong result, which is good for diluting in hot water to make an Americano type drink.

The instructions are explained quite well on the ToddyCafe web site.  As such, I will not go into detail on how to, but here is the skinny just to give you an idea of what it takes.

  • Put the cloth filter in the bottom of the canister, making sure to push it all the way to the bottom.
  • Insert the rubber plug in the hole from the bottom side.
  • Add one cup filtered water.
  • Dump half of your course ground coffee in
  • Pour four cups water slowly and in a circular motion as to wet all of the grounds.
  • Add the rest of the coffee.
  • Pour the rest of the water.
  • Cover it and let is sit for 12 hours, do not stir!
  • When it is done, place it over the carafe and unplug it. The coffee will slowly drain out.

The Enjoyment

Drink it, heat it, pour it over ice, in hot water, or in a blender. There are a multitude of uses for cold brew coffee. It is perfect for an iced coffee or any kind of blended coffee drink. During the summer I will just pour it over ice cubes and drink it like that. In the winter I typically heat it in the microwave, just make sure you don’t boil it, that will produce some bitter flavors.  Another great feature of cold brew coffee is that it keeps for 14 days!  There is no waste.  If you don’t finish it, save it for the next day.

Cold brew coffee comes out very strong. I have heard others say as strong as espresso, but I wouldn’t say that. The lack of acidity and bitterness makes it much easier to drink than espresso, but for espresso lovers, it really isn’t the same.  As much as I like cold brew coffee, it will never take the place of a good hot double shot.

There is my take on cold brew. Let me know what you think.

Trackbacks Comments
  • Joe Blend says:

    That is incredible! I have to say that during the summer, it would be a great way to save money, instead of going to Starbucks for an iced latte or comparable beverage.

    I never knew you could buy a commercial cold brew coffee maker…and I’m embarrassed to admit that since I’m a dedicated, and seasoned, coffee drinker. On the website, I saw they are $30, which is about how much I paid for my percolator. That seems a bit overpriced; however, I’ve never used one so I’m sure it’s a sound investment.

    Thanks for the great information!

  • I’ve just recently turned to cold brewing, and LOVE the results. I have personally completely given up espresso. The smooth, full-coffee experience without the bitterness is just what I’ve been looking for my whole life… and didn’t even know it.

Leave a Comment