What We Like
Cold brew and tea recipes are very clear
What We Don't Like
Somewhat of an eyesore when brewing
Patience required for setup
Takes up a lot of space
Pouring lip isn’t super precise
The cold brew coffee trend has risen in the last few years, with some fans opting to make their own at home rather than pay for a daily cup at the cafe. We decided to test one of the most popular cold brew coffee makers on the market: the Toddy Cold Brew System. First developed in the ’60s by a Cornell chemical engineering student, the brand claims to have perfected the process of making “coffeehouse”-quality cold brew—and many swear by the system.
Through multiple batches over the course of two weeks, we tested this product’s ease of setup and use, design, and of course, flavor, to see if it’s worth the price. Keep reading to find out.
Setup Process: Patience required
The included instructions are easy to understand, but setup requires close attention the first time around. There are two brewing methods that you can choose between: the Toddy Classic and the Toddy Dual Filtration. The former uses only felt filters, and the latter uses both the felt and disposable paper filters.
Using the Toddy Dual Filtration method, we inserted the rubber stopper into the outside bottom of the brewing container. After wetting down the felt filter, we inserted it into the inside bottom of the brewing container. Next, we placed a paper filter bag into the container and added 12 ounces of ground coffee. We then poured 56 ounces of water over the grounds and stirred the mixture gently.
After twisting the top of the bag to close it, we allowed it to steep at room temperature for 24 hours (12 to 24 hours is recommended). When it was finished steeping, we removed the stopper and let the coffee drain into the glass decanter. We placed the lid on the decanter before storing it in the fridge to cool.
There are two brewing methods that you can choose between: the Toddy Classic and the Toddy Dual Filtration.
For the Toddy Classic method, the first steps are the same, until you get to the disposable paper filter. This time, we skipped the paper filter and instead poured 1 cup of water into the bottom of the brewing container along with 6 ounces of coffee grounds. We slowly added 3 more cups of water over the grounds, then waited, and added the remaining 6 ounces of grounds. Next, we poured in the last 3 cups of water without stirring. The remaining steps were the same as the Dual Filtration method.
It’s important to make sure you’re following the same method throughout the brewing process—whichever you end up choosing. Because the instructions start on one page and then carry onto the following pages, you have to look at the top of the page to ensure you’re following the appropriate directions. We noticed if you’re not reading carefully, you could easily mix up the two methods.
Since the Toddy can also be used to infuse tea, the instruction manual also comes with clear instructions for tea concentrate.
Performance: Makes a strong concentrate
The instructions recommend a ratio of 7 cups (approximately 1.7 liters) of filtered water to 12 ounces of coffee grounds, which is typically a whole bag of coffee beans or grounds. But it brews coffee concentrate, meaning you will dilute with water or milk. Sure enough, our resulting brews were very strong, yet smooth.
It’s so strong, a single batch lasted us a long time—especially since it brews up to 38 ounces (over a liter), or about 14 servings. We liked that we were able to make each cup as strong or as weak as we wanted.
Design: Cute decanter, but the whole system takes up a lot of space
The Toddy Cold Brew System is on the larger size in terms of cold brew coffee makers, and it yields about the same amount of concentrate as its competitors. It comes with a brewing container, stopper, disposable and reusable filters, detachable handle, decanter, and decanter lid. The brewing container is where the filter, grounds, and water sit and brew for 12 to 24 hours. It’s a large, round, open container made of plastic, and if you use paper filters, they extend out of the top. We found that it was a bit of an eyesore while brewing.
It’s so strong, a single batch lasted us a long time—especially since it brews up to 38 ounces (over a liter), or about 14 servings.
However, once the brewing process is complete, the brewing container is no longer needed. The same decanter the cold brew filtered into serves as a storage container as well. It’s a very attractive vessel that fits in the fridge and looks great on the table.
We did notice, however, that when we got to the last bit of cold brew, the pouring lip caused some spillage. The lip is fine for pouring when the vessel is full; we only seemed to experience issues when pouring the last cup.
Cleaning: Painless thanks to pieces that detach
Another great feature of the Toddy system is that all of the pieces detach, which allows for easy cleanup. All of the components are dishwasher-safe except the felt filters, which require extra attention. To clean properly, we removed the reusable felt filter from the brewing container after dumping out the grounds (and paper filter if used) and rinsed it out with just water. Immediately, we put it into a resealable plastic bag and placed it in the freezer until next usage.
The guide suggests washing the brewing container, glass decanter, and rubber stopper by hand to make them last longer (though they can be placed in the dishwasher).
Other: Uses felt filters
Rarely do you use anything but paper or sometimes steel filters for making coffee, but the Toddy Cold Brew System comes with two reusable felt filters for the Toddy Classic Method. You can use each filter ten to 12 times (or for up to three months).
We noticed that in using this method, there were no coffee grounds in our coffee. Plus, we felt better about reducing paper usage.
Price: Worth the price
The Toddy Cold Brew System retails for around $40, which is slightly above the average price of a cold brew coffee maker. However, because it yields such a strong, potent concentrate, your dollar is stretched. The concentrate can provide about 14 beverages, which could translate to about two weeks worth of drinks if you have one per day.
Toddy Cold Brew System vs. County Line Kitchen’s Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Coffee Maker is another popular option we reviewed. It differs in a few ways: County Line Kitchen’s setup is very simple and intuitive, whereas the Toddy system requires closely following a brewing guide. The mason jar system also uses a steel filter to make the cold brew concentrate, while the Toddy Cold Brew System uses felt or paper filters.
Though they both yield about the same amount of concentrate, we noticed that the concentrate was much stronger in the Toddy system, and there weren’t any grounds. With the County Line Kitchen brewer, we saw some sediment. Finally, the Toddy is a bit pricier than the competitor product, but it yields more servings each cycle.
- Product Name Cold Brew System
- Product Brand Toddy
- UPC 758591011027
- Price $39.50
- Weight 1.48 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7.2 x 7.2 x 12.5 in.
- What’s Included Brewing container, glass decanter with lid, 2 reusable filters, 1 rubber stopper
- Capacity 38 ounces