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Non-Toddy cold brew


BeJam
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Notes on an attempt to cold brew w/o a Toddy

I am an avid Toddy brewer but I want to find a way to cold brew coffee away from home. I also have a slight aversion to the bulk of the plastic Toddy tub and the need for special filters. I assume that if the Toddy process is based on Latin American traditions, I should be able to replicate the results without special equipment. I decided to try to cold-brew coffee in a French press, which is unused 23.75 hours each day, and a wide-mouth mason jar, and compare the results with the Toddy.

The Toddy is a plastic tub with a thick, tight-fitting, carpet-like filter disk and rubber stopper in the bottom. Water is poured over coffee and allowed to steep for 10-12 hours. With the stopper pulled, the highly concentrated coffee slowly drains into a carafe. The concentrate is then mixed/diluted with hot water for regular coffee, water and ice for a cold cup, or milk and sugar syrup and a little vanilla for an iced latte. While I find the hot coffee weak and lacking teeth, the cold drinks are smooth and silky without any bitter acid taste.

For the experiment, I used the same coffee proportions and brewing method described by Toddy, except I halved the amounts. I put a ¼ pound of Illy medium roast, medium grind coffee in the bottom of each, then poured one cup of cold water over the grounds. I gave each a little swirl to make sure all of the grounds were wet. After five minutes I added 1 and ¼ more cups of cold water and let the three units sit on the counter overnight.

The next morning I drained the Toddy into its carafe by pulling the stopper. It took about 15 minutes. I plunged the French press, which was surprisingly stiff, and decanted the concentrate in just a few minutes. For the mason jar, I placed two paper filters over the open top, screwed the lid ring down, and inverted the jar over a funnel into a second jar. (In the interest of full disclosure, the paper filters were in the vicinity of ten years old.) Nothing happened. The grounds completely stopped up the paper. I then took off the double layer and replaced it with a single sheet. I little coffee flowed through, but not much before it stopped too. I then took the ring off and poured the whole mess into a gold-cone filter and finished it draining in about fifteen minutes.

I was a little surprised with the results. I expected each to taste the same anticipating that the Toddy was bit of a gimmick. It was not. Both the French press and mason jar coffees had some of the bitterness of hot-brewed coffee poured over ice--although not nearly as much. The Toddy was smooth and silky. There was also a noticeable amount of sludge in the bottom of the mason jar brewed carafe but none in either the Toddy or French press.

Outside of the filtering method, the main difference between the Toddy and the French press and mason jar is the amount of agitation the brew experienced during decanting. The grounds in the Toddy were relatively undisturbed while the French press grounds were pressed and inverted. The mason jar grounds, however, were vigorously disturbed being inverted twice and dumped into a cone filter. Ultimately, in a side by side tasting, the French press and mason jar were nearly identical, thus even minor agitation must disrupt the filter process.

The Toddy filter clearly worked better than the paper filters/gold cone and had similar “no-sludge” results as the colander-like French press. This was a bit of a surprise too; I expected the paper filters to work better and more grounds in the FP.

The grounds themselves must be filtering some of the acids, other compounds, and finer grounds in the coffee before the concentrate flows through the Toddy filter (which must replicate the same action). The gold cone must be more porous than the FP or serious agitation must really stir up fine particles. Next time I will try to use the FP but pour very slowly and NOT plunge the grounds. For now, I suppose I’ll have to order more Toddy filters.

Bode

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Anybody use the Filtron or Filtron Jr.? They look to be very similar but they don't appear to be made by the same company. Both have been available at eBay lately but google doesn't turn up too much info on either. There is some info (and links to retailers) for the Filtron .

If anyone has experience with either system I'd be interested in a review. If anyone has the Filtron Jr. I'm curious as to where you are getting your filter supplies and/or whether the Filtron filters and pads are the same for both units.

Thanks.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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Follow up note:

I mixed the coffees brewed in the french press and mason jars and put them in the fridge while I drank the Toddy-brewed first. Yesterday I opened the combined brew and found a sludge in the bottom of the jar and a whitish particulate suspended throughout. Wholly unappealing and down the drain went $15 of coffee. Does anyone know what that might have been? It was clean when I combined them.

Bode

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Sounds like mold and it most likely came from the sludge. I'm surprised to see it appear after only five days. Was either of the batched originally brewed at room temp or left out at room temp for a fair amount of time after brewing? E have a little superauto espresso machine at work that is used for making cafe cream's and Americano's. The pucks of leftover coffee grounds in the waste bin start developing mold after about two days at room temp. The amount of particulate in the French press and paper filter coffee might have been enough to allow mold to develop.

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Sounds like mold and it most likely came from the sludge. I'm surprised to see it appear after only five days. Was either of the batched originally brewed at room temp or left out at room temp for a fair amount of time after brewing? E have a little superauto espresso machine at work that is used for making cafe cream's and Americano's. The pucks of leftover coffee grounds in the waste bin start developing mold after about two days at room temp. The amount of particulate in the French press and paper filter coffee might have been enough to allow mold to develop.

Both brews were made at room temp by sitting out over night. The next morning they all went into the fridge. It looks like the sludge and white particulate both came out of solution during the five days between brewing and attempted drinking. I didn't look like mold (although I can't really say what mold looks like). The white stuff looked more like curdled milk or the matter that always finds its way into my carmel sauce. It was suspended in the coffee itself and not in the sludge. The sludge looks like very fine coffee grounds, but I used a burr grinder which is usually pretty good at normalizing grind size.

Bode

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I thought I'd try making a cold brew and then filtering it through a cloth filter (a "COLADOR DE TELA")

Any comments/suggestions?

Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.
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My only suggestion at this point would be to agitate the brew as little as possible and note if anything settles in the bottom of the decanter after a couple of hours.

Good luck and please pass on your results.

Bode

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  • 2 months later...
Follow up note:

I mixed the coffees brewed in the french press and mason jars and put them in the fridge while I drank the Toddy-brewed first.  Yesterday I opened the combined brew and found a sludge in the bottom of the jar and a whitish particulate suspended throughout.  Wholly unappealing and down the drain went $15 of coffee.  Does anyone know what that might have been?  It was clean when I combined them.

Nakagawa of Flavor coffee reports on a similar substance: When he heated up his ice-brewed coffee, he found that it got muddy.

He suspected that it was protein at first, but has not yet identified the substance. What he has found about this substance is that it turns into white powder when purified and it easily dissolves in citric acid and acetic acid.

Have you identified it yet? I'm curious to know. So is Nakagawa.

Ice-brewing coffee:

i10655.jpg

White substance resulting from heating:

i10654.jpg

P.S. Nakagawa says it can't be mold.

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You might consider visiting a laboratory glassware supplier and check out the very inexpensive flasks, filtering flasks, filters and funnels that work beautifully for filtering all kinds of liquids.

There is a type of flask with a top opening and a tube connection on one side that is great for your type of application. As long as the plug is on the side tube of the bottom flask, the liquid in the top section (the filtering flask) can't move into the lower flask.

Many years ago we often made coffee or tea in the (totally sterilized) lab glassware at work.

When we stopped doing lab work in the office, about 18 years ago, I brought all the glassware home. I have carboys in which my vinegar is working, volumetric flasks that hold the various flavorings I make, and etc.

There is a decorater on Melrose, in Los Angeles, who uses lab glass a great deal when he is "doing up" a kitchen. I am sure he charges a bundle for these interesting items but they are really very, very cheap. The borosilacate glass is tough, heat proof and you can do a lot with it.

You can even set up a small still, it is easy to do, if you want to make pure coffee essence.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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You can even set up a small still, it is easy to do, if you want to make pure coffee essence.

This is an intriguing notion. I'm not interested in drinking coffee essence but there might be some baking applications. Can you elaborate on what equipment is needed and how one would set this up?

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This is where I buy the glassware I need that I don't already have on hand.

The volumetric flasks are very nice to give as gifts when they contain something colorful.

lab glassware

Scroll down - - -

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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You might consider visiting a laboratory glassware supplier and check out the very inexpensive flasks, filtering flasks, filters and funnels that work beautifully for filtering all kinds of liquids.

Could you (or chould anyone else) describe how the Toddy Coffee filter differs from other types of filter?

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There is a mention on this site

Toddy brewed coffee of brewing a special coffee in the Toddy that includes cinnamon and vanilla syrup.

The filter appears to be made from felt.

Here is one story about the development of it.toddy coffee filter

And here is a different story: Toddy coffee filter system

The first time I saw one of these contraptions was in Solvang (Danish tourist trap near Buellton, California, north of Santa Barbara).

The nice lady, in traditional Danish dress, gave the sales pitch and told me the idea came from high in the Andes where water boils at a lower temperature and full coffee flavor couldn't be extracted except with the long, cold brewing method. I believe she said the filters were made from dense felt made from Llama wool.

Who knows for sure, only the guy who thought it up.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

My first attempt to cold-brew coffee with a PET bottle

Last Saturday, I made my first attempt to cold-brew coffee with a PET bottle. My primary purpose was to simulate the Toddy system as closely as possible to compare it with the Matsuya method.

For a discussion of the Matsuya method, go to:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=0entry679972

I decided to use a 900-ml PET bottle to brew 100 g of ground coffee with 500 ml of water (same ratio as that described by Toddy). I cut the bottle at the bottom, leaving one corner uncut to use it as a 'hinge'. (I later taped the diagonal corner for sealing.) I rinsed a paper filter under running water to remove the odor it had absorbed due to poor storage, folded it up into a thick block to mimic the felt-like Toddy filter, and placed it at the neck of the bottle. I rinsed another filter, opened it, and placed it on top of the first to hold and support the ground coffee. (I thought that without it, the first filter would give way under the weight of the coffee.) I then placed the ground coffee, poured about one third of the water, waited for five minutes, and poured the rest. Three hours later, I found most of the coffee grounds still floating on the water. (I had thought that that the first pour was meant to remove carbon dioxide from the coffee grounds, but apparently it was not. Or, perhaps the coffee that had been coarsely ground for brewing with the Matsuya method was too coarse for the Toddy.) I had to take a drastic measure that might change the taste of the coffee: pouring another 80 to 100 ml of HOT water over the grounds to get rid of the gas. About another half an hour later, nothing changed. I had to take another drastic measure: stabbing the coffee grounds with a chop stick. After ten stabs or so, I finally managed to cause all the coffee grounds to sink to the bottom.

i11590.jpg

After 10-hour steeping, I screwed off the cap of the bottle to drain the concentrate.

i11591.jpg

I diluted the concentrate with water at a ratio of 1:3, as described by Toddy, and tasted the resulting coffee. I first felt that something was missing. I'm not sure, but I guess this is due to less acidity. I took two drastic measures that might change the taste of the coffee, so I think that the real Toddy coffee tastes even less acidic.

I think I'll make more comments in the Matsuya method thread later.

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  • 1 month later...

On Ebay, another type of cold-brewing system Cold-brew set, non Toddy

Smaller more compact and better looking.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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