- Brew Quality (50%)6.6/10
- Design (15%)8.1/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Brew Quality (50%)10.0/10
- Design (15%)9.4/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.0/10
A lot can be said for the care and attention that went into the design of the Primula Burke. However, the ultra-fine filter does such a fantastic job of keeping the grounds at bay that the lack of cross-flow results in a poor quality brew.
The Toddy, on the other hand, is a specialized product from a brand that is a dedicated cold brew coffee maker. It uses a freestyle brewing method and its cold brew system was one of the first marketed for domestic use. While the Toddy comes highly rated, the Primula Burke is not a cold brew coffee maker that we recommend you buy.
- Bouquet (10%)6.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)6.0/10
- Sediment (20%)9.0/10
- Bouquet (10%)10/10
- Drinkability (70%)10/10
- Sediment (20%)10/10
The bouquet of the Primula was decidedly on the weaker side. It was light and sweet but our testers did, however, pick up a faint roasted note. This indicated that the brew was probably sub standard.
Like a good wine, the first thing you want to note about a cold brew coffee is the bouquet. Our three coffee appreciators found that the Toddy created a rich and complex bouquet. Hearty and bright notes complemented sharp and deep ones. The sweeter notes also tended to be more floral.
With a typical one-to-one dilution, the final drink was very light, watery, and somewhat sweet. In fact, even without dilution, it was still watery with little complexity. There was a slightly sour aftertaste, so not so satisfying. Although the brew is drinkable without dilution, it lacks excitement or complexity, which also means that the Primula is uneconomical for the amount of coffee ground used.
With the Primula, we would suggest a longer brewing period or brewing at room temperature. Either that, or using the hot blooming method to get a more substantial and richer brew.
The Toddy Cold Brew System recommends a 1:2 or a 1:3 dilution. We chose a 1:2 ratio (one part coffee to two parts water) based on a sampling of the initial brew strength.
The Toddy has so far produced the most complex flavor balance of any device we’ve tested. The overall flavor was full-bodied and well-rounded. Roasted, nutty, and chocolate flavors were strong, with a somewhat sweetish aftertaste. There was no single overpowering flavor. Our tasters also picked up a very slight bitterness and sourness.
The Toddy brew quality was excellent all around with perhaps the most complex flavor balance of any device tested.
Having to filter a large quantity of liquid means cold brewing can be time consuming. Convenience, however, comes at a price. Our repeated testing has found that the permeability of an immersion filter is key to producing a quality brew.
The Primula recorded very little sediment, which at the same time betrayed its fundamental flaw. The filter, as good as it was, lacked the permeability to produce a worthwhile cold brew coffee concentrate. In this case, the cost of a perfectly filtered brew was the quality of the brew itself.
While the Toddy Cold Brew System scored low in terms of the filter’s practicality and ease of use, the brew nevertheless had minimal sediment. The Toddy filter has proven one of the best we’ve seen in our testing program. Our initial test used the reusable felt filter which plugs into the bottom of the brew vessel. You can also use a paper brew bag or even double filtration if you wish.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)6.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.0/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.5/10
In the Box
- Box WHD: 7.9 x 9 x 7 inches
- Fully assembled unit
- Multilingual user manual leaflet
The Primula comes securely boxed with place holders and minimal plastic, but the package is nothing fancy. The unit comes fully assembled with a user manual inside that unfolds with instructions in English, French, and Spanish. Brew instructions, product care, and a few suggested recipes are included.
- Box WDH: 7.5 x 7.5 x 11.8 inches
- Brew vessel with detachable handle
- Decanter with suction lid
- Silicone lid
- 2 felt reusable filters
- 3 paper brew bags
- Silicone stopper
- Product manual
The Toddy Cold Brew System is not only well-boxed, but also ecologically packaged with no unnecessary plastics. The decanter flask sits neatly in the brew vessel and a flip lid with a hole secures the flask in place.
The latest Toddy Brew System includes three sample paper brew bags. These can be used as alternatives to the felt filter, for extra filtration, or for tea brewing. The product manual breaks down how to do each.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:7.9 in (200 mm)
- Base Diameter:4.7 in (120 mm)
- Width:7.4 in (180 mm)
- Weight:19.5 oz (553 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass & plastic
The decanter or brew carafe is made of thick borosilicate glass and enclosed in a plastic jacket. The jacket doesn’t detach and also forms a base cushion. While cleaning, we noticed that there is an additional silicone seal on the base of the decanter.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:8.7
- Base Diameter:5.1
- Weight:1.4 oz (40 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass
The elegant decanter is quite eye-catching. The ringed neck is easy to grip and pour from, but with a full-brew weight of around 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg), you should use both hands. A key design feature is its height — it measures just as tall as the brew vessel, meaning it can fit the same space in your fridge.
Stopper / Lid
- Diameter:4.9 in (125 mm)
- Additional Features:open/close function, silicone seal
The lid comes in three parts. The outer section has a silicone seal for an airtight fit. The filter attaches to the bottom and you simply press it into the carafe. With the inner lid removed, you can easily pour in the water and then seal the carafe for brewing. When storing decanted coffee, you can open this lid to stir the contents before pouring. To pour, you turn the lid handle to the open spout position.
- Diameter:3.5 in (90 mm)
- Material:low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
- Additional Features:N/A
The stopper is another excellent design feature of the Toddy. It sits slightly above the rim, thus protecting the rim from above. The stopper also has a clever suction design and the fit is perfectly secure and airtight.
- Length:6.7 in (170 mm)
- Material:polypropylene and nylon mesh
- Additional Features:detachable base
The filter is solid and well-made. In terms of design for a cold brew coffee maker, the plastic jacket appears to be limiting. It is uncertain how much permeability this kind of filter design will allow for proper brewing. In test brewing, we found the filter design to be fundamentally flawed.
- Diameter:2.7 in (70 mm)
- Material:felt filter x 2
- Additional Features:3 paper brew bags
There are two types of filters you can use. Both are a healthy and environmental choice. The felt filter can be used up to 10 times. Newer models now include three unbleached paper filter bags. You can use a bag in lieu of a felt plug or in addition to it. The bag filter is perfect for finely ground coffee and for brewing tea. You can easily buy filter pads, Toddy brand filter bags, or generic replacements online.
Overall we love the high quality of the materials and the convenient design. The mid-range 1.6 qt capacity is also very convenient, and we like how the brewer is wider rather than taller. The only fault is not so much the build quality, but rather the ill-conceived design of the filter.
The Toddy is made from safe, durable, high-quality materials. We particularly liked the quality of the decanter, and the design of the decanter stopper is excellent. The silicone lid is very practical, but we, like many reviewers, felt that the handle build could be improved. The packaging is very minimal and also environmentally friendly. If anything goes wrong, Toddy offers spare parts on their website.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)10/10
- Brewing (45%)8.0/10
- Decanting (35%)7.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)9.0/10
The Primula filter takes around 3.5 oz / 100g of coffee grounds, which means about an inch to a half below the filter rim. After securing the filter onto the outer lid, you insert both into the decanter. Next, pour enough water to wet the grounds. After a couple of minutes, you slowly continue pouring water until the rising water hits just below the top of the plastic jacket. That’s about 40 fl.oz (1.2 L) or 6 measuring cups. Finally, screw in the top lid so that the spout is also closed.
The brew decanter can sit in the door of your average 33- or 36-inch refrigerator but may be too big for an apartment-sized refrigerator. Brewing was relatively straightforward except for the lack of markers on the vessel. We also found the full carafe to be a little heavy. It weighed 4 lbs or 1.8 kg, so make sure to grip it firmly and avoid letting children handle it.
The Toddy Cold Brew System’s felt filter demands a bit more precision than most other brewers. You must add water and grounds in a staggered manner and be careful not to stir the contents. Also, it takes some time to properly wet the grounds by gently pushing them down and mixing in.
If you use a paper bag filter for brewing, it’s a lot easier. Just add the grounds and water, and you can stir around the contents all you want. If you try to stir without the paper bag, the felt filter will clog. The process takes a few brews to master.
The lack of measurement markings on the brew vessel is an unfortunate oversight. Therefore, we had to weigh grounds for each brewing. The brewer vessel may also be a bit heavy for some. We found it best to carry with two hands, but removing the detachable handle made it easier to fit the refrigerator.
We found that decanting worked best by simply lifting up the outer lid with the filter attached. Because the base of the filter is not permeable, it’s best to let the filter stand in a dish as quite a bit of extra brew still trickled out.
You can immediately remove the filter from the lid. We found a few granules of coffee had gathered around the edges so it’s best to completely rinse off the lid before putting it back. Once again, make sure the spout is closed to prevent coffee odors building up in your refrigerator.
- Total height when decanting: 15 in (380 mm)
Decanting is simple enough. You hold the brew vessel by the handle, pull the stopper, and slip it onto the decanter. The liquid won’t immediately come out, so it’s unlikely to make a mess.
We found, however, that the lively stream can slow to a steady drip. The felt plug filter was temperamental. We actually had to remove the contents of the brew vessel, clean the filter, and then resume. Decanting can thus take 20 to 40 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use a paper bag filter. This works out better and decanting takes 20 minutes or less.
The filter pad, despite its drawbacks, produced the best filtration results. It may also help remove coffee oils, especially if you use an additional paper brew bag. The biggest disadvantage is that you’ll need to continue buying replacement filters and/or bags.
Cleaning and Storage
Cleaning the Primula is effortless all round. It separates into seven parts. The filter parts and the lid can go on the top rack of a dishwasher while the decanter on the lower rack. It’s probably best to just rinse off the silicone seals. While cleaning, we discovered an additional seal at the base of the decanter. The plastic padding on the base gives a comfortable feeling when placing on the table, and peace of mind when storing away. We loved the quality of the decanter, except that it can be heavy for some when full, but the grip and pour is good.
- Storage diameter: 8.6 in (220 mm)
- Storage height: 11 in (280 mm)
The Toddy Cold Brew System has minimal components, so storage is straightforward. The brew vessel is easy to clean and all parts can go into a dishwasher, but hand washing is recommended for a longer lifespan.
The decanter neck is wide enough for all but the largest of hands to reach in and clean. It fits comfortably into the brew vessel for storage. Since the silicone lid is flexible, it too slips in nicely.
The felt filter, however, must be placed in a plastic bag while wet and then put into the refrigerator, which is a little inconvenient. You can easily keep the silicone stopper in the brew vessel when not in use, or place it into the empty decanter.