You have no items in your shopping cart.
Review: Toddy Cold Brew System Coffee Maker
Toddy, known for the past 50 years for its commercial cold-brew coffee systems, has created a home version and it's super easy to use. Toddy's Cold Brew System Coffee Maker is as simple as it gets - the whole kit is comprised of only 6 pieces and leaves no question on how it's supposed to work. The included user-friendly instructions are spot-on when it comes explaining how to make perfect cold-brew coffee. Cold-brew coffee is the top-shelf bourbon of the coffee world. Its bold smoothness and rich, complex flavors have a natural sweetness because the cold-brew process makes a cup of coffee that's up to 67% less acidic than what you get with traditional brewing methods. In addition to being easier on your stomach, cold brewing lets you re-experience the flavor of your favorite freshly roasted beans. And, the slow-and-cold extraction process retains even more caffeine than you get from a shot of hot espresso.
- Dead-simple brewing system: Having only a few components to assemble makes cold-brewing with the Toddy system pretty straightforward
- Very thick fiber filters: Not even the finest of grinds can make it through a Toddy filter
- Clear, concise instructions: Toddy's manual perfectly explains how to make a flavorful cold brew like a pro
- Not much to look at: The Toddy system isn't very attractive to the eye and is kind of bulky
- Experience preferred but not required: The Toddy has no fail-safes against breaking the bloom when adding water, so it helps to have a basic understanding of cold-brewing coffee, or at least a lot of patience to keep at it until you get that bloom just right
- Cat-like reflexes needed: Once you remove that rubber stopper at the conclusion of the brew cycle, you need to quickly set the brewing container on the decanter to drain - making this system not the easiest to use
Quick Specs: 56-oz. Capacity | Includes two washable, reusable, high-quality filters
Best For: Coffee enthusiast who like to be intimately involved and hands on with the brewing process while achieving the perfect cold brew coffee.
Design & Construction
When it comes to design, the Toddy's is the simplest of all the cold-brew coffeemakers Everything Kitchens carries. The whole Toddy kit is only six pieces: the brewing container, two filters, a rubber stopper, the glass decanter, and the decanter lid.
The plain white-plastic brewing container has a removable handle. There's a well in the bottom of the container for a filter, and a draining hole in the well. The stopper goes in the draining hole until you're ready to strain your cold brew. The Toddy kit includes two thick felt-fiber filters you can wash and reuse. Not even the finest grind of coffee is going to make it through these thick filters. The brewing container perches on the no-frills glass decanter as it drains the steeped coffee grounds. There are no questions on what any of these parts do or how they work - Toddy kept it simple.
Like a nice chef's knife, when you have a simple design, the trade-off is that you will need a little skill to get the best results. Once we got started, we decided it helps to have a little knowledge of cold brewing when making a coffee concentrate. The brewing process requires you to "layer" water and ground coffee to create the desired coffee "bloom," meaning you have to gently pour a steady stream of cold water in a circular motion over your ground coffee to evenly soak it, which causes a layer of foam to bubble up over the coffee. This "bloom" is the release of naturally occurring carbon dioxide trapped in the beans. If you pour too fast, you can break the bloom and won't get the best-tasting cold brew possible. So as you can see, it takes a little bit of patience and practice to get your pouring technique down and to know what to look for when blooming your ground coffee. Thankfully, Toddy's instructions are exceptionally clear and will deliver a smooth, deep-flavored cold brew, if followed closely.
Also, the old-school rubber stopper kind of makes you feel like you're channeling Indiana Jones when it's time to pull the plug then swiftly place the brewing container on top of the glass carafe before the coffee concentrate starts to pour out. Other than navigating these learning curves, making coffee in the Toddy isn't too hard and produces an amazingly smooth, rich cold brew.
Pulling the plug and quickly transferring the brew container to the top of the glass carafe. Indiana Jones fedora and whip not included.
The Toddy Cold Brew System made one of the best tasting cold-brew coffees we sampled. Closely following the manual's instructions allowed the system to extract all of the desirable flavors from our ground coffee. The thick filters are made of excellent quality and blocked every tiny grind of bean from contaminating our cold-brew concentrate. Whether you're a cold-brew beginner or a professional barista, the Toddy will not disappoint. Just please, follow the instructions. Carefully.
The Toddy Cold Brew System Coffee Maker is an inexpensive way to get into cold-brewing coffee or tea at home with expert results. The entire system is easy to understand and assemble, and the included instructions give you professional coffee-shop results. You do need to develop a bit of pouring skill and know some cold-brew basics to get the absolute best-possible cup of cold brew with the Toddy, but it's not too difficult to learn. The Toddy isn't the prettiest or compact piece of equipment; it's not something I would want to keep on my counter-top. Also, the process of pulling the rubber stopper and draining the finished cold brew can be cumbersome. But, all that being said, the smoothness and complexity that the Toddy produced made it all worth it.
Still deciding on the perfect cold-brew coffee maker for you? We performance- and taste-tested Everything Kitchens' top coffee makers to see which machine is best. Click here to see the comparisons.
We taste-tested cold brew coffee from our top coffee makers to see which machine is best for you. Click here to see the comparison.
Everything You Need to Know about Cold-Brew Coffee
- Less Acid = Smoother Taste: Ever have a sour or bitter cup of coffee that had been sitting on the warmer? Heat is what brings out the natural acids in coffee, so a cold brew can have up to 67% less acid than coffee brewed the traditional way. If you're sensitive to acidic food, cold-brew coffee could be an option for you.
- More Time - Heat = More Caffeine: The process of slow-steeping ground coffee beans in cold water retains more caffeine than other brewing methods. In fact, cold-brew coffee has more caffeine than espresso! Yes, we mentioned that before - but it does! Can you tell?
- Cold-Brew Concentrate = Coffee for Weeks: The cold-brew process produces a coffee concentrate. One pound of coffee grounds makes up to 32 ounces of coffee concentrate. At one part coffee to three parts water (or milk, or cream, or whatever liquid you use to cut the coffee), those 32 ounces of concentrate equate to about 128 ounces of drinkable brew. The concentrate stays fresh in your fridge for up to two weeks, so a single brew can have you drinking cold-brew coffee for a full fortnight.
- Brews Tea, Too: Not a coffee fan? You can make a tea concentrate with any coffee-cold brew system as well! The process is just the same.
- Great For Recipes - Making tiramisu or a coffee cocktail? When a recipe calls for espresso or coffee, cold brew can be used as a replacement for hot coffee that's just been allowed to get cold.
About the Author:
Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.