- Brew Quality (50%)10.0/10
- Design (15%)9.4/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.0/10
- Brew Quality (50%)8.4/10
- Design (15%)7.4/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.3/10
The Toddy Cold Brew System and the Willow & Everett both came tops in terms of brew quality and brew strength. The two designs, however, are quite different, with Toddy using a free-style method and Willow & Everett an immersion filter.
The Willow & Everett has quite a favorable brew ratio of 1:9. The filter works well and is not too restrictive to the cross-flow. However, it doesn’t match the brew strength and the complexity of roasted, nutty, chocolate, and sweet flavors of the Toddy. The Toddy uses a free-style brew environment and a ratio of 1:4.6 grounds to water.
The Willow & Everett half-gallon brewer takes up about as much space as the Toddy for brewing on a refrigerator shelf. The Toddy, however, empties into a very stylish carafe which can then fit in a refrigerator door.
Both brewers have their quirks with decanting. With the Toddy, sometimes its filter can clog. Once removing the immersion filter (brew core) of the Willow & Everett, there’s an additional filter at the tapping point. The filtration is highly effective, but about 20% of the liquid still needs to be poured out via the top.
The Willow & Everett lacks overall quality. The spigot doesn’t dispense so easily on the first try, and the filter is roughly sewn together. On the other hand, Toddy is an all-round quality design with top grade eco-friendly materials and packaging.
- Bouquet (10%)10/10
- Drinkability (70%)10/10
- Sediment (20%)10/10
- Bouquet (10%)8.5/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.5/10
- Sediment (20%)8.0/10
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.
The Willow & Everett’s coffee presented a strong aroma with a degree of complexity. The bouquet was defined by a deep roasted note and a distinct herby edge. There was also a light underlying chocolatey or caramel note.
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.
We first tasted the brew without diluting and it was quite strong. It had a bold character and trended more towards a deep-roasted to bitter flavor with a sweetish aftertaste. When diluted, it was a lot smoother to drink. We were quite impressed with the strength and quality of the brew.
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.
Given the design of the Willow and Everett, we did two sediment tests. First, we decanted the contents into a separate vessel via the tap. We noted what sediment remained behind in the main vessel. We again allowed the decanted liquid to settle before decanting back into the original vessel so we could evaluate how much sediment ended up in the decanted brew.
A moderate amount of sediment, mostly a fine sludge, was left behind in the brew jug. The amount was comparable to what we got with the similar County Line filter as well as the laser-cut stainless steel filters of some of our top ranking brewers. Very little sediment ended up in the decanted brew.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.5/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)7.0/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)7.0/10
In the Box
- 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.
- Box WDH: 9 x 7.3 x 10.2 inches
- Assembled brewer only
The first brewer we received was broken when it arrived. The package had styrofoam packing at the bottom and top, but the glass around the tap was completely broken — thus indicating a clear weak point. At the very least, we think this product needs better packaging. However, we promptly received a replacement via Amazon at no extra cost to us.
- Heightwith Lid:8.7
- Base Diameter:5.5
- Width:7.1" (18.0 cm)
- Weight:9.7 oz (275 g)
- Material:recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Additional Features:silicone base stopper
The brew vessel is quite solid, although the detachable handle appears flimsy in comparison. However, removing the handle minimizes its footprint in the refrigerator. Therefore, while not ideal in and of itself, we feel this style of handle is a reasonable compromise.
- 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.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:7.9 in (200 mm)
- Base Diameter:5.1 in (130 mm)
- Width:7.1 in (180 mm)
- Weight:NaN lbs (NaN kg)
- Material:Glass and stainless steel
The glass of the decanter is quite thick. However, as detailed in the unboxing section, we remain concerned by its fragility around the spout. Initially, the tap’s valve was rather tight, but once you run some water through, it loosens up. There’s a screw on the top if you need to adjust it at any point.
We recommend caution when turning the valve. Since the lever started out tight, we worried that applying too much pressure might break the glass.
Also of note is the wire handle, which is practical, easy to grip, and gives the unit a down-home, country feel.
Stopper / Lid
- 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.
- Diameter:4.3 in (110 mm)
- Additional Features:None
The Willow & Everett brewer is similar to a mason jar. The lid appears to be aluminum and is somewhat cheaply made with low-quality threads. More to the point, it doesn’t even have a silicone seal. Also, we noticed rust-like markings that refused to come off even after cleaning. The lid fitted tightly enough, though.
- 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.
- Length:6.9 in (175 mm)
- Diameter:4.1 in (105 mm)
- Material:Stainless steel
- Additional Features:Additional tap filter
The filter is quite different from others we have tested. It is made of a flexible gauze-like type of mesh. During cleaning and on closer inspection, we noticed that the cut of the mesh is rough and uneven, and the seam is haphazard. You could easily prick your finger if you’re not careful.
The filter’s flexibility, however, allows it to easily bend and fit behind the tap at the base. And in terms of brew quality and sediment containment, we were very happy with the filter’s performance.
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.
Overall, we were not too satisfied with the build quality of the Willow & Everett cold coffee maker. The lid is poor in both design and material quality. Additionally, the filter is roughly constructed and could cause slight injury. The tap doesn’t pour very well and is difficult to operate at first. Since the packaging was inadequate, and the first item arrived damaged, we can’t vouch for the long term durability of the glass around the tap outlet. Given that at least 20% of the liquid doesn’t drain through the tap, additional hand pouring and decanting just adds extra inconvenience.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)8.0/10
- Decanting (35%)7.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)9.0/10
- Brewing (45%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)7.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)9.0/10
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.
Initially, we poured around one liter of water into the glass brew jug and then lowered the filter, filled with grounds, into position. We drew on our experience with numerous other brewers and left an inch of unfilled space at the top of the filter. This worked out to be a perfect 7 oz (200 g) of coffee grounds.
The rest of the water we poured over the grounds cup by cup to measure how much water the brewer could take. After each pour we waited a couple of minutes for the water to soak through the grounds and level out.
The final water volume was 63.5 fl.oz, or 1,850 ml — a brew ratio of approximately 1:9. The final weight was 105 oz (2,976 g). The full capacity of the jug without the filter and grounds was 68 fl.oz, or 2 liters.
We then sealed the lid and placed it in the refrigerator to brew for 18 hours. Since the soft and bendable mesh filter was a first for us, and considering the favorable brew ratio of 1:9, we were excited about the impending results. It’s worth noting that the County Line cold coffee brewer, a similar type of mason jar design, has the same brew ratio.
- 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.
We decanted the brew by opening the tap and draining the liquid into another container. Once again, it proved difficult to turn the tap with one hand. After some liquid had flowed through, it loosened up again. We also noticed that it flowed out in a splattery manner until we fully opened the tap.
Given the tap’s position, it's obvious that a good 20% of the liquid remains below the tap line. This means that ultimately you will need to pour the brew out the top of the vessel. This just adds additional inconvenience. As nice as this brewer appears, and as good as its brew tastes, the design is not well executed.
Lastly, the filter is quite large so when you take it out you should allow it to drain into a dish. We left it for 30 min and collected an additional 50 ml of liquid coffee.
Cleaning and Storage
- 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.
The Willow & Everett brewer is quite easy to clean. Both the filter and the glass brew jug are big enough for any hand to reach inside. We also recommend cleaning the spout by running clean water through it. We worry that coffee oils might clog the mechanism over time but haven’t run it through enough cycles yet to say.
While cleaning, we noticed the inside of the mesh filter is a little rough at the seam, so you have to be selective about the kind of sponge you use. Also, take care to avoid pricking your finger while you work with it.
Because there are minimal parts, everything fits together easily as one unit for storage. Take care not to lose the small filter that plugs the rear of the tap assembly.