Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

How to Brew With the Toddy Cold Brew System

Autumn is right around the corner but the cold brew craze is still going strong. Before the days turn from muggy to brisk, I want to squeeze in one more cold brew post, this time about the Toddy cold brew system.

The Toddy cold brew system is an extremely popular way to make cold brew. I don’t own one (I certainly have too many brewing apparatuses already) but was able to borrow one for most of the summer to play around with.
Here is my two cents about the Toddy, its pros and cons and my go-to Toddy recipe.

What is the Toddy Cold Brewer

The Toddy is a device that makes brewing large batches of cold brew (just over 1.5 liters) pretty much as close to effortless and mess free as something gets. The classic Toddy cold brew system consists of a large plastic vessel for brewing and a glass carafe for storing the cold brew once it is filtered.

Are you new to cold brew? You can read more about cold brewed coffee here and here.

The Toddy is designed so that the brewing vessel sits securely on top of the carafe. The brewing vessel has a spot at the bottom for a small hockey puck shaped filter (about the diameter of an Aeropress filter) to sit above a hole that is blocked by a removable rubber stopper. When brewing is complete, filtering out the coffee grounds is as easy as unplugging the stopper and setting the brewing vessel on top of the carafe.

My Overall Impressions of the Toddy Cold Brewer

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the Toddy cold brew system. Let’s face it, cold brewing with the bare bones equipment (the ol’ cheese cloth and glass jar method) can be kind of a pain (I typically end up making a mess when it comes to the straining part). I also like to filter my cold brew through paper to get the consistency I like. The process can be a little time consuming.

The Toddy makes the filtering part super easy. It takes less than ten minutes and the resulting cold brew does not need the extra step of paper filtration. If you drink a lot of cold brew, I think the Toddy would be a great investment (if you find yourself making multiple batches a week, you can even get an industrial sized Toddy).

For my situation, I really don’t drink enough cold brew to make this bulky contraption worth it. I would rather drink flash brew iced coffee than cold brew most days. If I want cold brew, I will typically make it in much smaller batches.

My Go-To Toddy Recipe

While I use the technique recommend on the Toddy website, I make my cold brew at a much lower dosage. I prefer to drink my cold brew over ice and otherwise undiluted. Toddy suggests using 340 grams of coffee and about 1650mL of water for their cold brew (a 1:4.8 ratio), I prefer 187.5 grams of coffee and 1500mL of water (1:8 ratio).

340 grams is a full 12 ounce bag of coffee by most standards and I can’t bear the thought of not at least brewing a cup or two of hot coffee to see how it tastes.

Here is the method I use when making a batch of cold brew with the Toddy (technique taken directly from the Toddy website):

  1. Start with 187.5 grams of coffee and 1500mL of cold drinking water. You will need the white brewing vessel, the rubber stopper and the filter for the first part. Place the glass carafe and lid in a safe place; it will not be needed for 12-24 hours.
  2. Make sure the rubber stopper is securely fitted into the hole at the bottom of the brewing vessel. Place your filter into its spot at the bottom of the brewer. I like to add a few cups of water to soak the filter and test the vessel for leaks. Remove all water before continuing.
  3. IMPORTANT: Do not just dump all the water and grounds into the brewing vessel. If you do this, the filter will most likely dislodge from its spot and create a mess when it is time to filter your brew.
  4. Pour 200mL of the water into the Toddy (with filter and stopper in place) and add 90 grams of the coffee. Gently pour in another 600mL in a slow circular motion; like you are doing a pour-over (style points for using your gooseneck).
  5. Add the remaining 97.5 grams of coffee. Wait about five minutes. Add the remaining 700mL of water making sure to wet all grounds. According to Toddy, you should not stir the slurry (a clogged filter may result) but you can gently mix in the top most ground if there are some dry floaters.
  6. Let your coffee cold brew for 12-24 hours. You can either let it brew at room temperature or place it in the refrigerator.
  7. When you are ready to harvest your sweet black gold, carefully remove the stopper and place the brewing vessel on top of the carafe. It helps to have someone help you with this process. If there is someone available, have them remove the stopper while you focus on quickly and securely placing the vessel on top of the glass carafe.
  8. Experiment, evaluate and enjoy!

Toddy Tips, Tricks and Points of Interest

Here are a few other tips, tricks and Toddy points of interest:

  • If you prefer to add hot water to your cold brew to make a regular strength cup, stay closer to the Toddy’s recommended 1:5 ratio. This way you can add enough hot water to warm up the cold brew concentrate.
  • A nice consistent coarse grind will make the Toddy less likely to clog. If you know you are going to be cold brewing an entire bag of coffee, you can go ahead and get it preground (it is okay).
  • Put your brewing vessel into an 8-cup Pyrex (it fits wonderfully). In the event that something goes horrible awry you won’t have to explain how 1.5 liters of coffee concentrate ended up all over the kitchen floor (or refrigerator) to your significant other.
  • If, in your zeal to get the party started, you forget to add your water in the way detailed above, (I’ve done it several times) not all is lost. You can hold the filter in with a wooden spoon for ten minutes of so while everything settles. In the worst case scenario, you can always go back to your primitive cheese cloth filtering ways.
  • DON’T THROW AWAY THE FILTER. The temptation to dump that giant bucket of spent coffee grounds will be fierce. Remember that there is a reusable filter sitting at the bottom of that bed of grounds. Dig the filter out first. New filters are only about $2.50 a pop so it is not the end of the world (maybe buy a few extras just in case).

 

2 Comments

  1. A good article. I am a fan of Manual brewing myself, but cold brew is not something of my taste. I believe a ‘real’ coffee should a be hot fresh brew, since the flavors and textures are completely different, more lively.

    • David,

      Thanks! I am also partial to my hot coffee. There is something about having a hot cup of coffee. Cold brew doesn’t scratch the same itch for me.

      Thanks again,
      John

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