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Abercrombie & Fitch?

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You will earn mad cosmic karma points if you can answer this one for me.

So my 95 year-old grandmother makes coffee with this big contraption she bought from Abercrombie & Fitch back in the 1940s when they were still a camping store. How to describe? A large white jar-like thing which she balances over a large mason jar and into which she places a filter, which feels something like a tightly compressed sponge. Fills the white chamber with an entire 1lb can of supermarket coffee and then cold water, leaves it to drip overnight. The result is a mason jar full of very concentrated coffee which she keeps in the fridge, waters down and heats up whenever she wants it. I have to admit I probably use twice as much concentrate as she does but the stuff tastes surprisingly decent, especially considering it comes from a can. And makes fantastic iced coffee, btw.

So obviously (apart from the difficulty of finding honest-to-god 1lb cans of coffee these days) the filter hasn't been replaced since the 70s. She soaks it very lovingly after each use so it is still useable, but it clogs up on her occasionally. She really needs a replacement. I feel real sorry for the family member who had to go to Abercrombie with her last year to enquire about this item :laugh:

I tried searching outdoor stores without any luck. Any ideas on where I might find something like this or some way I could jury-rig a substitute? She really doesn't want to try a new method, which at 95 I find completely understandable.

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Good question. She is using the Toddy Coffee system or something similar. If it's the same, you should be able to buy extra filter pads through the site. If it's not identical, you will need to buy the whole thing, but they are inexpensive (especially if amortized over 50 years!). Toddy coffee makers do make very nice iced coffee, and in general I think the cold brewed results are a little easier on the digestive system than hot-brewed.

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I can't believe how fast you answered this. I can't believe it took me so long to find eGullet. I love you people!

Reading this website I think she did mention she bought it in the early 60s, not 40s. Who knew my grandparents were such the vanguard coffee drinkers? I feel like I should send her the entire contraption but I am willing to bet it is the same machine, and she would get such a kick out of getting the filters as a surprise in the mail, without having to waste her old machine.

You have absolutely made my day/week/month. Thank you SO much!!

I think I might get one of those things for myself. If it does such a great job with the canned stuff, I can only imagine what it would do with fresh ground.


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Welcome to eGullet, Behemoth. :smile: I have not used the Toddy recently and lost mine along the way, but it does make very good iced coffee. It's a good idea to get an extra fiter or two, because they do need to be replaced after they start clogging up too much. But that would take quite a while. Let us know how it goes.

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