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Jul 16, 2009 09:04 PM

Cold Brew Coffee - Anyone Tried This?

So I found this cold brew coffee system online...

Supposedly makes the smoothest, best tasting coffee ever. You basically make an extract over 12 hours and then use it to make coffee - hot or cold. Because it's cold-brewed, it never gets stale, so you can use the 'extract' for up to 2 weeks.

Sounds freakin' amazing. But, has anyone actually tried this?

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  1. I cold brew my coffee for iced coffee, per a recipe in the NYT a few years back. Like the article mentions, it does indeed take on chocolate-y overtones and lack the bitterness of traditionally brewed coffee. Good stuff!

    6 Replies
    1. re: operagirl

      We used to use a Toddy - don't remember why we stopped - and made delicious coffee with it. First learned about it when some friends brought their Toddy - made coffee concentrate on a camping trip. I checked and it's still available on Amazon and at the Toddy website for about half the price of the hourglass model.

      1. re: janeh

        janeh - "don't remember why we stopped". I know we stopped because you have to know that you will be at home in exactly 12 hours. I can only make that committment about once a month.

        The Toddy brewer does make the whole process easier and since Toddy has stopped selling their concentrate, I'll just have to start brewing my own again.

        1. re: SeaHorse

          I haven't found exact timing to be important. I usually start between 5 and 10 and night and take out whenever I wake up. Never had any problems, I think the range of time the grounds have soaked is 10 to 18 hours and it has always been good.

          1. re: SeaHorse

            Shoot, I let mine sit for 2-3 days. Gets a more powerful flavor, no bitterness. And I'm kind of a pain in the butt about my coffee.

            1. re: EWSflash

              Wow, I never thought of doing that. 'Course, we're so bad that we generally run completely out before we're motivated to make more. But I'll try to remember this. And that's a money saver as you'll get more bang for the buck.

        2. re: operagirl

          I do the same thing (thanks to the same article), and the resulting coffee is surpringly great. What's more amazing is that my don't-feel-like-splurging-for-super-great-beans coffee still tastes very good with this method (the great beans produce great coffee no matter what).

          soypower - the equipment is totally not needed. You can grind your own beans and just use a thermos or water bottle or whatever. I then use a cheap $1 cloth filter to separate out the grounds.

        3. It sounds interesting but is it better than a French press?? I'm just curious how this would liberate all the tasty oils in the beans.

          Do you grind the beans or leave them whole??


          1 Reply
          1. re: Davwud

            Yes, it is better than a French press...less bitter and it can be stored in the fridge. The coffee does not get bitter with cold brew becasue the grounds have not been heated in the brewing process. It is a simple process but it takes 10-12 hours to sit, steep, and as you say "liberate all the tasty oils" prior to the coffee being ready.

            Cold brew uses ground beans. We use the Toddy package and order the pre-ground beans at the Toddy website. We have found that even the most course grind at the store is not course enough, but I know others who have found the course grind at the store is adequate. Try it, we have used this for 7-8 years.

          2. I make cold brew all the time. I don't have special equipment so here is what I do.
            1. I grind 1 slightly small bag of my fave beans a bit coarser than normal. (I do this at the store since I use it right away)
            2. I line a strainer with a couple of layers of cheese cloth. This all goes into a large bowl (or pot).
            3. Put all the coffee in the cheese cloth. I add 3 quarts of cold water and let the whole thing sit over night.
            4. In morning put strainer with coffee in it over another bowl to drip, and pour the contents of the pot into jars, and into the fridge.

            I do this all the time in the summer. It makes very strong coffee that I usually just drink iced. No change in quality as it is stored (never lasts more than a week around here), and I think I can taste some different things that I miss in my usual hot coffee drinking.

            Here is a link for more discussion on this topic:

            6 Replies
            1. re: corneygirl

              What the heck is a "slighty small bag..."???

              1. re: scuzzo

                Corneygirl, are you sure you meant to recommend that coffee bean/water ratio? I use 1lb coffee to 10c water, based on this recipe:


                Three quarts of water would require an awful lot of coffee beans.

                1. re: small h

                  Isn't cold brewing more than a little inefficient if it only yields 10 cups from an entire pound of beans? That kind of turns me off the whole thing before even trying it :)

                  1. re: afoodyear

                    It yields 10 cups of coffee concentrate, which makes about 40 cups of coffee. You mix the concentrate with water and/or milk and/or ice. I think it saves energy (you never need to heat water) and labor (you make all that concentrate at once).

                    1. re: small h

                      AH! Thanks for that :) That makes a lot more sense now.

                2. re: scuzzo

                  Scuzzo: I take the normal coffee bean bag and fill it about 2/3 full. I assume completely full this would would be about 1 lb., although many pre filled bags are 12 oz. I have never taken the time to measure it.

                  small h: I know it sounds like a lot, but a quart is 4 cups so it really isn't that much more I only dilute with ice and this makes very strong coffee. It might depend on the roast of the bean as well I lean towards french roasts.

              2. i agree, no equipment is needed. i do this with a big pasta pot, several layers of cheesecloth and a can of Cafe du Monde or other chicory coffee. makes great iced need to add sugar.

                1. I got a filtron cold brewing system as a gift and really like it since I drink iced coffee year round. It is about $40 online.