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Cold Brewing of Coffee


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:16 AM

What's up with this cold-brewing business?

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#2 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:23 AM

I make the concentrate all the time. I am still using the little funnel/cork/filter set up we got as a weddin present.

The only thing I use the concentrate for is to make iced coffee (which I love). Hot coffee from this is too inconsistent for regular use. When I am making just one cup (especially at work) I use a press.

Are you just interested or did someone foist off a kit on you?
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#3 slkinsey

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:28 AM

It makes pretty good coffee of a certain kind. The big difference, I am given to understand, is that cold "brewing" doesn't extract any of the oils. So, if you want to make something that you're going to keep around for a while, cold extraction might be the way to go.
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#4 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:50 AM

The stuff keeps in a sealed jar in the icebox for a really long time. We almost always end up using it all before it goes sour (although it does seem to oxidize pretty rapidly- not unlike a half consumed bottle of wine left corked and refrigerated- Not really bad, just not fresh tasting.
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#5 Alex

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 12:07 PM

For the past month or so I've been using what I assume is the same setup as Mayhaw Man. It makes for a very smooth cup of coffee that I like very much. Mostly, I use a very dark roast, then dilute the concentrate with milk instead of water for a quick iced or hot latte. There are some posts about the toddy method on this old thread.
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#6 phaelon56

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 01:48 PM

Yes.... use in cold (i.e. iced) drinks seems to be the popular usage but if you're very sensitive to the acidity of most coffee, using a Toddy style concentrate mixed with hot water might be the answer. When I want or need low acidity I just brew with Indonesian coffees - Monsooned Malabar and Sumtra Mandheling both make a nice flavorful cup that is low in acid.

#7 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:46 PM

I had one of these many years ago, but it must have gotten lost in a move along the way. I think about getting another from time to time. It does make the smoothest coffee I have ever had due to the lack of oils. I had forgotten how good even coffee of modest quality is when run through that thing for making iced coffee.

#8 jsolomon

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 09:13 AM

FG, what I have gleaned from several 10's of cups I've had of cold-brewed coffee (at one point I knew the term for that brewing process) is that it is arguably a better tasting process to use whilst making coffee for many at one time. I believe that Burger King used to get some coffee of that nature from Dewey Egberts (definitely horribly misspelled).

If I were making coffee for 100 with marginal regularity (say 3+ times/year) I would consider using it instead of drip or--horror--a percolator. However, coffee for few, definitely press or individual I hold as superior. I love my Melitta 1-cup filter holder.
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#9 smallworld

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 10:38 PM

Any Toddy fans out there who can give some advine?

I've been using a Toddy for several months and am happy with the results. But one thing seems a little odd: No matter how slowly and carefully I pour in the water, there are always grounds on or near the top that stay dry. I assumed that after soaking all night they would get wet but the next morning they're still dry. This seems like a terrible waste. I've tried reducing the amount of coffee, and that works but the concentrate is not as strong. Perhaps I could just increase the steeping time? I've also tried stirring the mix, which also works, but the instructions specifically forbid this.

So why can't I stir?
Is 12 hours the maximum steeping time? Will it not turn out if I do it longer?
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#10 phaelon56

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:21 PM

If ythe grounds are wet after you've first added the water but are dry the next day... can't you just cover the top of the device with plastic wrap and a rubber band to seal it or perhaps use that new "press 'n wrap" stuff? It makes sense that some of the grounds would get dry if tyhe surface is exposed to air because the grounds have absorbed some of the water.

When you make coffee by hot brew methods the amount of fluid that ends up in the cup or pot is always less than what you poured in because some is absorbed. I suspect that if you let your empty Melitta or drip maker filter cone sit overnight and it was not sealed air-tight the surface of those grounds would be dry by morning - but they might still be damp underneath.

I haven't a clue about the stirring issue.

#11 smallworld

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 08:45 PM

Thanks.

I do cover the bucket with plastic wrap already (not to prevent drying but to stop refrigerator smells from seeping in). I think I should clarify- the grounds near the top don't dry out overnight, they are dry from the beginning. The water just never gets to them, no matter how I pour. I can get all the top grounds wet, and then they sink down and expose new dry ones.

Am I the only one with this problem? Wonder what I'm doing wrong...
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#12 torakris

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 11:47 PM

smallworld,
I have never had this problem....

I just drizzle the water in a circular pattern making sure I hit every part when I pour it in. Are you pouring it in 2 parts with about 5 minutes inbetween? I find that the first pour leaves most of the top dry, but minutes later when I pour in the second part I can easily saturate the top.
I don't cover it, nor do I refrigerate and the top is never dry in the morning.

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#13 smallworld

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 08:46 PM

Thanks, Torakris.
Yup, I pour it exactly like you do. And same as you, the second pour will saturate the dry grounds on top, but then the mix will bubble a bit and the newly wet grounds will sink and expose some dry grounds.

I'm starting to think the measurements are wrong- the instructions are American so I converted them to metric. I've been assuming that 1 cup = 240ml and therefore 9 cups is 2.130L. And that 1 pound of coffee is 454g. If these are off then that would explain my problem...
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#14 torakris

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 11:29 PM

Thanks, Torakris.
Yup, I pour it exactly like you do. And same as you, the second pour will saturate the dry grounds on top, but then the mix will bubble a bit and the newly wet grounds will sink and expose some dry grounds.

I'm starting to think the measurements are wrong- the instructions are American so I converted them to metric. I've been assuming that 1 cup = 240ml and therefore 9 cups is 2.130L. And that 1 pound of coffee is 454g. If these are off then that would explain my problem...

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Those sound right.....
Have you ever tried not refrigerating it? maybe the coldness is doing something?

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#15 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 12:16 AM

I think Kris is on to something. Try just leaving it out on the counter without the plastic wrap.

#16 maher

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:05 AM

ive never had a problem with the dry grounds, but i also havent detected any difference between when i stir and when i dont (yes i know the instructions prohibit it, but the tinkerer in me couldn't resist, and it made no difference at all)

my experience also is that to make any decent body when using this for hot coffee rather than iced, i need to use a much darker roast than i would use with my press. that somehow compensates for the cold brew and the acidity is still very low

#17 Hiroyuki

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:44 AM

I don't have a Toddy. I am still a novice when it comes to coffee brewing.

I have some questions:
How coarse are your ground coffee beans?
Doesn't stirring shorten the life of the resulting coffee extract because of the extraction of unwanted components?

#18 maher

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 07:17 AM

i grind to a medium coarse grind, about the same as for a french press

as far as the unwanted ingredients ive been pretty happy with the results regardless of stirring and cant really discern a difference between the two

#19 Hiroyuki

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:58 PM

I found an answer relatively easily:

It is very important when adding water to the coffee grounds to be careful not to stir. When you stir the brew it will disturb the filter bed and the fine sediment will go down and clog the filter. Using a course to medium ground coffee is essential to produce a filter bed that keeps the sediment from falling down and clogging the filter.

from here:
http://www.redbagcol...m/toddyfaq.html
Read under 8).

Also, I found this passage:

If you task your local cafe or market to grind your beans, ask them to grind them on a "Coarse" setting. Don't grind them as you would for use in a French Press, Automatic Drip or Espresso machine, you'll be disappointed in the results.

from here:
http://www.toddycafe...id=18&issueid=1

#20 kjente2

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 11:02 PM

Any Toddy fans out there who can give some advine?

I've also tried stirring the mix, which also works, but the instructions specifically forbid this.

So why can't I stir?
Is 12 hours the maximum steeping time? Will it not turn out if I do it longer?

View Post


Call me a rebel, but I always stir and have never had any complaint about the outcome of my concentrate. Even my french press encourages stirring.

#21 Mistinguett

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 12:24 PM

If you task your local cafe or market to grind your beans, ask them to grind them on a "Coarse" setting. Don't grind them as you would for use in a French Press, Automatic Drip or Espresso machine, you'll be disappointed in the results.

The French Press setting gives pretty coarse grounds, I'm a little confused here, it's the second highest setting. I was ready to try today the cold brewing for the first time, should I not waste the coffee?
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#22 smallworld

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:08 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I do sometimes leave my Toddy brewing in a cooler part of the house, when the fridge is too full. But I would never ever do this in the summer- things go bad fast here in the hot and humid months. (I usually dry my used grounds out in the sun to reuse them around the house, but in the summer if I leave them in the house waiting for the sun to come out, they'll have mold growing on them less than a day- yuck!) And I would hesitate to leave the bucket uncovered- who knows what could get in there- yucky smells, bugs, dust...

Jeez, I sound like the Anal Retentive Chef here (Phil Hartman RIP).

I've tried changing the grind, and the problem disappears if I use a finer grind. I guess I won't try that anymore. No more stirring either.

Yesterday I tried using more water than called for, which worked. I brewed it longer than usual, about 16 hours, and the coffee tasted the same. Unless it turns out that longer brewing times are bad too, I'll try it this way from now on.
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#23 smallworld

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 07:59 PM

Any Toddy fans out there who can give some advine?

I've been using a Toddy for several months and am happy with the results. But one thing seems a little odd: No matter how slowly and carefully I pour in the water, there are always grounds on or near the top that stay dry. I assumed that after soaking all night they would get wet but the next morning they're still dry. This seems like a terrible waste. I've tried reducing the amount of coffee, and that works but the concentrate is not as strong. Perhaps I could just increase the steeping time? I've also tried stirring the mix, which also works, but the instructions specifically forbid this.

So why can't I stir?
Is 12 hours the maximum steeping time? Will it not turn out if I do it longer?

View Post


Problem solved. I had been using an dark Italian roast, with very oily beans. And like I said in my previous posts, when I made cold brewed coffee, there were always some grinds that floated to the top of the mix and stayed dry. Even after 12 hours of seeping.
But recently I tried a more medium roast, with greaseless dry beans. And the cold brew worked perfectly- when I added the water, the coffee grinds sank to the bottom and each grind was saturated.

It seems that the oil in darker roasts acts as a barrier to cold water and prevents saturation. So cold process coffee really only works with oil-free beans. I wonder why the Toddy instructions (or any of the various directions for DIY cold process coffee) don't mention this?

Edited by smallworld, 27 April 2005 - 01:30 AM.

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#24 torakris

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 05:48 PM

I am glad you figured it out! :biggrin:

Maybe you should write them a note and let them know....

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#25 prasantrin

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:26 AM

Back to cold brewing. . .

I bought a HARIO Water Brew Coffee Pot Mini last week.
http://www.harioglas...e/coffee03.html

I'd like to try using it, but I only have decaf that's ground for a Moka maker. Is it too fine a grind to use for making cold brewed coffee?

And will decaf coffee give me really nasty cold-brewed coffee? It's Intelligentsia Decaf Black Cat brew if that makes a difference at all.

#26 weinoo

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 06:40 AM

I've done cold-water brewing just using a Mason jar and letting the coffee and water sit overnight before straining...it makes decent enough coffee for iced coffee. No reason decaf shouldn't work - though make sure the coffee is strained thoroughly before refrigerating.

After a number of cold water brew attempts, I've decided I get the best iced-coffee simply by:

a: brewing extra coffee when I make my morning coffee and immediately letting it cool down before refrigerating

b: brewing a pot of hot coffee and letting it cool and then refrigerating

c: making coffee ice cubes

I should add that the brewing method I use to turn coffee into iced-coffee is "Melitta" drip.

I should also add that I find the espresso blends, from Intellegentsia and others, are best used for brewing espresso...when I've used them for drip, I don't like them as much as other blends and single origins.
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#27 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 09:49 AM

A look at the photo of the mini suggests that finely ground coffee is going to get through the filter or clog it. You could try a little bit of your coffee in it just to test that. I think that if your decafe tastes good hot it will taste good iced.

I have used the set up with the white plastic container and the fabric filter and cork in the bottom in the past, and it makes a great concentrate for turning into iced coffee.

Let us know what you think of your Hario mini after you have a chance to use it a bit. And how much do these things cost? No prices on that site.

#28 prasantrin

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 03:20 PM

Thanks weinoo and Richard.

The filter itself is very very fine, so I don't think the coffee will get through. One day I'll take a picture of it so you can see. It's almost like very finely woven organza.

The mini cost Y865 which at today's exchange rates is about US$8.50. When I was searching for English instructions, I found that it will be selling for about US$12. The store I purchased it at had larger ones, too, and some other similar vessels for making iced coffee (At least one other was HARIO, but I'm not sure of the makers of some of the others I saw).

I hope to make some iced coffee up tonight, and I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow morning! (my time)

#29 andiesenji

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:27 PM

I've had a Toddy brewer for many years and use it perhaps a couple of times a year when friends who like that type of coffee come to visit (and bring their own coffee).

These same friends have tried to talk me into buying a Filtron brewing system but I see no point in it as the Toddy works fine for me. (and it was half the cost of the Filtron)

Many years ago I knew a Danish woman who made cold-brewed coffee in large batches using a muslin "jelly" bag suspended in a two-gallon pickle jar filled with water which was placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
That was before the days of "boutique" coffees and as I recall, she used 8-O'Clock Coffee, regular grind, as it was stronger than Folger's, Maxwell House or Yuban.
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#30 prasantrin

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:48 PM

I washed out my Mizudashi Coffee Pot last night, and put it to work. It took a bit longer to make than I thought (it takes awhile for the water to filter through at first, so you have to stop and let it go down before adding more water), but it wasn't so long that it was annoying. This was the mini, however, and I imagine filling the larger one might be a bit more annoying.

After sitting about 8 hours in my fridge, I made my first iced coffee. I like it. There are no errant coffee grounds in my cup (the filter really is very fine), and the coffee is neither too bitter nor too sour. I think I'll have to try it using a different grind and fresher coffee, however. The makers suggest using coffee roasted specifically to make iced coffee, so perhaps I'll stop buy my local coffee shop and see what they have.

One note--it uses quite a bit of coffee--50grams for what I think is maybe 800mL of water. I don't make a lot of coffee (and when I do I use a moka) so I don't know how much coffee one usually uses, but it seems you could go through coffee grounds very quickly with this thing, and it could get very expensive.