Cold brewed coffee is smoother, less acidic and exceptionally more tasty than dumping ice into a steaming hot cup of coffee. By relying on time rather than temperature the results are much more concentrated. To see which of the more well known cold-brewing systems do the job better we pitted the beautiful Japanese Hario against the more plain-spoken American Toddy.
Hario's Water Dripper Clear sticks to the conventional drip set up of most cold brewers. A nozzle easily adjusts to leak water at roughly one drop per second from from the glass container into a grounds-filled beaker below. The drop-by-drop percolation process takes three to five hours, filling a small glass pitcher (in Hario's charming trademark shape) with the the highest-quality concentrate.
The Toddy, on the other hand, has less stunning looks but equally satisfying results. Easing the grounds into the brewing process involves a series of steps designed to ensure thorough saturation. Once the 12 hour steeping period is over you remove a small rubber cork from the bottom, which allows the fresh coffee to drip freely through a filter into the pot. The resulting bold infusion is reportedly 67% less acidic than a hot brewed version.
Both processes produce a strong flavor specific to the cold brew process, but Hario was the office favorite. Not only does it look like a mad science project on kitchen counters, it produces a slightly cleaner-tasting concentrate and involves a less complicated process. The Hario sells at a steep $243 through Amazon. For the price and utility (it's easier to clean too) the Toddy is also a great system, selling for a considerably more accessible $35 though Toddy's online shop.