Cold Brew Coffee Systems

Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

Though the method has been around for centuries, cold-brew coffee has only recently gained the notice of caffeine cravers in the United States.

Overview:

Update: May 2014

We've learned that the Hourglass Coffee System is currently unavailable while it is being re-designed by the manufacturer. The manufacturer promises that the unit will have the same features, will be smaller, and will be lower in price. We will retest the redesigned coffee maker when it becomes available. The Toddy is our new winner.

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Though the method has been around for centuries—some believe it may have originated in ancient Peru—cold-brew coffee has only recently gained the notice of caffeine cravers in the United States. We reviewed two products that claim to make coffee with less acid and caffeine and no bitterness. They work by steeping coffee grounds in cold water over a prolonged period (12 to 72 hours, depending on desired strength) to release smooth-tasting compounds. The resulting extract is then diluted with hot water for serving.

After comparing cold-brew coffee with coffee from a traditional drip machine, we found both cold-brew machines… read more

Update: May 2014

We've learned that the Hourglass Coffee System is currently unavailable while it is being re-designed by the manufacturer. The manufacturer promises that the unit will have the same features, will be smaller, and will be lower in price. We will retest the redesigned coffee maker when it becomes available. The Toddy is our new winner.

_________________________________________________________

Though the method has been around for centuries—some believe it may have originated in ancient Peru—cold-brew coffee has only recently gained the notice of caffeine cravers in the United States. We reviewed two products that claim to make coffee with less acid and caffeine and no bitterness. They work by steeping coffee grounds in cold water over a prolonged period (12 to 72 hours, depending on desired strength) to release smooth-tasting compounds. The resulting extract is then diluted with hot water for serving.

After comparing cold-brew coffee with coffee from a traditional drip machine, we found both cold-brew machines did, in fact, deliver a less bitter, less acidic, smooth beverage. Lab tests revealed they also had less caffeine. The low-acid taste might not please all palates—the mildness was either received as a pleasant break from coffee's usual bitterness or frowned upon as "kiddy coffee" or "coffee on training wheels." However, a few tasters felt they could drink this milder brew without the milk and sugar they use to tame regular coffee.

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