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Jul 12, 2010 09:36 PM

Cold-drop/ice-drip coffee maker

Hi- I found a few nice looking ice drip coffee makers online, but they're pretty pricey ($150-200) options for what is ultimately a pretty simple device.

Are there any cheaper options out there? I heard there are some cheaper options available in asia, but I can't seem to find any info on them.


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  1. As opposed to something simple like a Toddy?

    Cold-brews coffee into a concentrate you store in the fridge. Then dilute it with milk and/or water and serve over ice.

    It's basically a large reservoir with a nylon filter at teh bottom. There's a rubber stopper that leeps the coffee in. Add a pound of ground coffee, let it steep 8 hours or so, release the stopper and the concentrate flows through the filter into a carafe. Then dump the grounds and rinse it off.

    Amazon has it for $31.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Regular cold brew is awesome, but I was thinking of a "Kyoto" device, like you'd see at a few of the top coffee shops:

      1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

        Essentially a Toddy with some cool lab flasks. They're both doing "cold" (room temp) extractions from ground coffee. If you can taste the difference, fine, but there's no science behind it.

        1. re: ferret

          There are places that have both cold-brew and ice-drip coffee, and there is a very noticeable difference between the two. It's tough to say whether this is due to the machine, the grounds, or some other aspect of the preparation.

          I assumed it was because in a Toddy, you are steeping the grounds, whereas the ice water just runs through the grounds in a Kyoto device.

          1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

            Without applying heat you're essentially doing "cold-drip" either way. You aren't extracting more or less with time.

            And from what I can find online the Kyoto steeps for 8 hours then releases a drip of concentrate which is mixed with ice before serving. Sounds remarkably ... identical to the Toddy (and other cold-brews). You're paying for the lab-geek factor. If there's a difference, then it's in the ground coffee.

            1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

              What would you say is the taste difference between cold brew and ice-drip coffee?

              1. re: hobbess

                I've never had the "ice-drip" and as I posted above the description of their methodology appears to be identical to any other cold brew method so it's either that they're using a different ground coffee or it's the emperor's new iced coffee.

                1. re: ferret

                  But, if you've never tasted them, how can you be so adamant that there's no difference? That would be kinda like me saying that different types of cooking- saute, simmer, fry, etc.. -are all about the application of heat and oil and thus they should all taste the same.

                  1. re: hobbess

                    As the original poster stated even he didn't know if the difference in his experience was related to a difference in the coffee used. While I certainly agree that side-by-side comparisons are generally the best way to do anything from a scientific perspective, it's not a stretch to say that if you prepare the same ground coffee under two essentially similar cold brew methods there will be no discernible difference. Hot* coffee, sure. You can "overcook" coffee or use water that's not hot enough and fail to extract the proper flavor profiles.

                    However, if you take the same ground coffee and steep it in a plastic tub or glass bowl for 8 hours and then release it through a filter, there's no way any person can discern one from the other. Dripping it through a crazy-straw of glass tubing will have no effect unless maybe the tubing is lined with unicorn tears.

                    *Once you throw a real "cooking" method in then all bets are off. Application of heat requires a level of skill that will impact the flavor of everything, which is why your example is not directly comparable.

                    1. re: ferret

                      I *think* ferret is right. But I still can't figure out how Blue Bottle gets their Kyoto tasting so much better than any cold-brewed coffee I've ever had.

      2. The New York Times published a very simple recipe for cold-brewed coffee a while ago. All you need is a jar and a filter. Couldn't be simpler than that!

        Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

        Published: June 27, 2007

        Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours’ resting

        1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
        Milk (optional).

        1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

        2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

        Yield: Two drinks.

        NOTE: To make hot coffee, dilute concentrate one-to-one with water and heat in the microwave.

        16 Replies
        1. re: tanuki soup

          I do this with a half can of coffee at a time - I put the jar in the fridge anywhere from 12 hours to a couple of days before filtering, and keep the concentrate in the fridge, where it is good for up to 2 weeks.

          1. re: greygarious

            I am not a coffee drink, but my husband is a daily Starbucks iced coffee fan, either at Starbucks or the little mocha bottles.

            I read about the Toddy and purchased one from Amazon last month. It is so easy to make, using either the one pound packages coarsely ground at Starbucks or 3/4 pound bag, ground at the supermarket. We cold brew ASAP after the grinding. My husband likes their Verona.

            It sits on the counter overnight, no mess, just follow the directions for adding the coffee and the water, to make sure that the grounds are all thoroughly saturated and 12 hours later, you will have about 4.5 cups of concentrate that looks like motor oil.

            As soon as we drain the grounds, we immediately add another 4 cups water to the 3/4 of a pound - or five cups if we used 1 pound, and let it cold brew for another 12 hours. We get close to 75% more concentrate without a loss of flavor. The second batch according to my husband, is slightly more bitter, but the flavor is still good.

            He likes Vietnamese iced coffee, so he uses about 4 ozs. of the concentrate, a tablespoon or so of sweetened concentrated milk, and a few ozs. of milk (in our case 1% milk) and shakes it with ice in a metal cocktail shaker. He says that it tastes even better than the $3,.50 (?) Starbucks version.

            I make a batch of cold brewed Ceylon Pekoe tea the other day and it is excellent. I used 1/2 lb. of the tea and 9 cups of water, brewed for 12 hours. I add about 1-2 ozs. of the tea concentrate and maybe 6 or 7 ozs. of water and some ice and we like it better than the Tea Java that we have been drinking for years.

            You can also make ice cubes with either the coffee or tea.

            Both concentrates stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, although so far it hasn't lasted that long in our house.

            I bought another one from Amazon for our vacation house where it has been really really hot.

            If you are worried about breaking the fragile looking carafe that comes the Toddy, as we were, buy a 2 quart canning jar - the Toddy plastic top fits very securely on top of it.

            1. re: Canthespam

              I got a Toddy as well, and it's been very good. I brewed my first batch using fresh Intelligentsia grounds, and I'm currently brewing some cheaper (Trader Joe's Sumatra) grounds. I did this because I'm interested to see how much of a difference the beans will make.

              I have a feeling that it will prove worthwhile to buy fresh beans from a good (read: not Starbucks or DD) coffee shop. But I'll let you know either way.

              1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

                My husband has tried several different brands of coffee, but likes Starbucks for his iced coffee. He thinks that even though it is made in bulk, it is still a good product. We have it ground at the Starbucks 3 blocks from our house, and brew it within an hour.

                On another thread someone recommended Henry's House of Coffee on Noriega Street, here in San Francisco. They roast daily and have been in business locally for over 40 years. My husband is looking forward to sampling a few other coffees, and we will be going there in a week or so.

                Anxious to get your opinions on the other fresh beans.

                1. re: Canthespam

                  I'll actually eat my words.. Trader Joe's coffee yielded a pretty tasty concentrate at half of the cost of my fresh Intelligentsia. Not quite the same, but it's a very good value proposition. I'll likely alternate between the two from here on out.

                  San Fran, though. Wow. You have some amazing coffee beans roasted in your neck of the woods. Based on yesterday's experiment, I bet the SBUX is good enough for everyday brew, but I would love to give my Toddy a try with some Blue Bottle beans. I recently had a terrific, chocolatey, rich Kyoto at Blue Bottle that I believe used beans from Sulawesi (or one of those islands). I wish I remembered the name, because it was by far the best iced coffee I ever had.

                  1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

                    Since I'm not a coffee drinker, I have never gotten into the different types, so I am not familiar with many beans. But, from what I've heard and read, Blue Bottle's iced coffee is supposed to be excellent. It sells for about $22 a pound and they add chicory. I have been trying to get my husband over there to try one.

                    I get into various things and prod... (read that as nudge) my husband to try new things. He is pretty good about going along with me. I read about the Toddy and cold brewing in the SF Chronicle a month of so ago, and I was off and running.

                    Fortunately, he loves it and it hasn't been chalked off as one of my 'impulse' purchases.

                    I forgot to mention that he also uses Guittard chocolate syrup in his iced coffee.

                    When we do make it to Blue Bottle, he'll try your Kyoto suggestion.

                    1. re: Canthespam

                      Blue Bottle actually serves two types of iced coffee: a New Orleans, which is brewed with chicory, then mixed with simple syrup and whole milk; and a Kyoto, which is this dark, rich, syrupy brew that I can't replicate in my Toddy.

                      If your husband likes flavored iced coffee, then I think he'd be a huge fan of Blue Bottle's New Orleans. You can't go wrong either way. You're very lucky to have such a great coffee shop (with excellent breakfast food, by the way) in your vicinity.

                      1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

                        It is that taste of the Kyoto that I'd love to reproduce. Not sure how.

                    2. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

                      Regarding the Toddy may or may not know this, but the reason that you are suppose to change it after 10-12 batches, is not that it wears out, but according to their customer service guy, it is because of the bacteria in the filter. He said that some people boil it in water for 10 minutes after every 3-4 uses. I did it after my last batch, but who knows if it does any good..

                        1. re: Canthespam

                          Interesting idea. I do find the storage method for used filters to be a bit suspect, so I was planning to change my filters every few batches. I'll give boiling a try, though.

                          1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

                            Since the filters can only be purchased online I was curious why they 'wore out' as they are pretty thick. That's why I called the Toddy. The rep did not officially recommend boiling them, he just told me about the bacteria and said that other users had told him that they boil them. It sounds reasonable, but once they are put back in the fridge, doesn't the growth of the bacteria immediately begin again.

                            This is a case for Alton Brown.

                            1. re: Canthespam

                              Boiling sterilizes the filter and assuming you then place it into a clean ziplock, it shouldn't be a problem.

                              1. re: ferret

                                I never use the same baggie twice - that would defeat the purpose....I hate to think about what is in the filters or the bags.

                                I read a Toddy customer review that said she has friends that have used a Toddy filter regularly for TWO years and she plans on doing the same thing. Maybe it's just me, but I find that really disgusting.

                                Where are the bacteria police when you need them!

                                1. re: Canthespam

                                  Has anybody tried and tested the difference between the Toddy , Hourglass Cold Brew Coffee, and the Hairos? Which one was your favorite, and why?

                                  1. re: Canthespam

                                    Direct from Toddy website:

                                    How long can I use my Toddy filter?

                                    After brewing your coffee, rinse out your filter with water (no soap). Immediately, place your filter in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag or plastic container. You can use your filter up to 10 times, but discard it after 3 months.