I love coffee, and I love gadgets, so it’s not a surprise I was stoked to try out some new coffee-making gadgetry just in time for summer. Eight Ounce Coffee Supply asked me to review some of their cold brew and iced coffee making devices and I was glad to experiment.
Cold brew, iced coffee & iced tea brewers
Cold brew coffee is all the rage. It’s said to be less acidic, smoother and can contain less caffeine than hot coffee. Cold brew is a very different thing from iced coffee.
What is Cold Brew coffee?
Cold brew is a particular method of extraction, that uses only cold water. Iced coffee by contrast uses hot water, but runs the hot beverage over ice, so you’ll add less water, to account for the ice.
With cold brew, you use cold filtered water, coarsely ground coffee and a much longer steep time to prepare. With Iced Coffee, you can make a cold coffee faster, since hot water speeds the extraction, while ice then cools it off.
While it’s possible to do it with something as simple as a French press, there are a bunch of new gadgets that allow you to make dedicated cold brew or iced coffee easily and conveniently at home.
I had the chance to sample four gadgets:
V60 Glass Ice Coffee Maker
Hario Cold Brew Coffee Jug
We’ll look at what each one does, how it works, and what the coffee is like on the other side. To shop these devices, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Hario cold brew coffee & tea brewer
This is a newly designed glass cold brewer from Hario. I like it because it’s very simple. All you need do is add some medium-ground coffee to the plastic mesh filter, fill with cold water, and leave it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. This is definitely the easiest cold brewer I’ve tried, but I find you may want to make the coffee a bit stronger than you would otherwise by adding more grounds.
With the sleek, tall carafe and the brushed metal, it’s a great looking coffee device that first timers will find easy to use. It’s also excellent for cold steeped tea. Hario also makes a beautiful format wine-shaped bottle for steeping cold brew tea, and it coubles (like the coffee version) as an elegant serving vessel too.
Hario Mizudashi cold brew coffee & tea
Hario has another cold brewer we’ll look at; the Hario Mizudashi.
In Japanese, Mizudashi means “water soup”. Not the most elegant name for this sleek looking cold brew! It works the same as the cold brew jug with slightly different aesthetics.
Add medium-ground coffee to the metal mesh filter, fill with cold water, and leave it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Both of these jugs, as I said, are also dynamite for making cold brew tea, which is my new obsession. Cold brew teas are the ultimate summer refreshers, and when you use cold filtered water, you don’t get any of that bitterness that you can with hot tea that’s been cooled.
I did find a bit of sediment can get into your drink with this particular brewer, with both tea and coffee, but it’s not too much and it’s not unpleasant.
The Toddy cold brew system
The biggest surprise for me with this gadget is that it’s been around for over 50 years. The Toddy brand cold brew system is a dedicated method for making not just cold brew, but cold brew concentrate.
It works by extracting all the natural and delicious flavours of coffee— or tea— and leaving behind the bitter acids and oils attached to their warm brew counterparts.
The Toddy uses a lot of coffee — about a pound. While that may seem like a lot, keep in mind you’re making a lot of cold brew CONCENTRATE, so it should go a long way. It keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container, so there’s no rush.
Here’s how it works: First stick the included rubber stopper into the bottom of the brewing container, push it in from the bottom; doing this backwards will ruin your day. Also, make sure it’s in tight.
For the best flavour, start with 12 ounces (340 g) of coarsely ground coffee and 7 cups (56 fl. oz./1.65 L) of filtered water.
Dampen the included fibre filter and insert it into the inside bottom of the depression in the brewing container.
Next, add 1 cup of water into the bottom of the Toddy® Cold Brew System brewing container and 6 ounces of ground coffee. Slowly pour 3 more cups of water over the grounds, in a circular motion. Wait about 5 minutes, then add the remaining 6 ounces of ground coffee. Finally, slowly add the last 3 cups of water.
Don’t stir it! (Stirring the bed of grounds can result in a clogged filter). Instead, lightly press on the topmost grounds with the back of a wooden spoon to get them wet. Let your mix sit at room temperature for about 12 to 24 hours. You can also line the brewing container with a Toddy Filter bag before adding your grounds if you want a pristine brew instead of leaving them free-floating.
Remove the stopper and let your coffee concentrate flow into the included glass decanter.
Toddy recommends you use 1 part concentrate to three parts water or milk when you’re making your drink, but you can of course adjust this to taste. I really liked 1:1 but I’m a caffeine junkie!
The Toddy is really easy to use and makes a nice bold concentrate. Cleanup is surprisingly easy; the fibre filter disc rinses out well and it’s reusable, and you can wash out the brewing container for next time.
I found virtually no grounds or sediment in this coffee.
Hario V60 glass ice coffee maker and pour-over brewer
This cold brew kit will look familiar to many coffee lovers. With a glass carafe and filter brewer, it can brew both hot coffee and cold. Here we’re making Japanese style iced coffee, not cold brew.
What sets it apart for cold or iced coffee brewing is an ice chamber that drops into the centre of the pot. Here you’ll also need a paper filter.
To make iced coffee, fill the chamber with ice, add your coffee grounds then pour hot water over top. As it brews, it’s cooling the coffee. After, you can add more ice to serve.
This is definitely made for iced coffee and you’ll notice cleaner, brighter iced coffee when compared to cold brew.
I like the convenience of being able to use if for traditional hot coffee, or iced, and the sleek glass and clear plastic looks chic on the counter.
A transparent silicone ring is attached to the upper part of the dripper to cushion contact with the glass carafe.
To brew pour-over hot coffee, just remove the ice chamber.
Using this method, with the paper filter, you’ll get a pristine brew, so if you don’t love grounds or sediment in your coffee, this is the iced coffee method for you.
Which cold brew coffee maker is the best?
I liked each of these brewers for different reasons. For cold brew concentrate it’s the Toddy. For cold teas I really love having two flavours going in the glass carafes, and for iced coffee, well, the V60 is your guy.
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I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.