The Toddy Cold Brew System is our top-scoring cold brew coffee maker, and for good reason. The Toddy simply makes the best tasting cold brew. It’s smooth to drink and overall satisfying. The brew is rich and complex with a balanced flavor.
The Toddy design is practical with a minimal part count, recyclable materials, and eco-friendly packaging. And the quality carafe is its key attractive feature. Despite its larger size, the Toddy design is quite ergonomic and the brew quantity can also be adjusted.
On the downside, decanting and brewing are more complex if you choose not to use the included paper filter bag. Whether you choose to use a paper bag or just the felt filter, you’ll have to buy new ones on a regular basis. Fortunately, bag filters can also be used to brew tea.
Things We Like
- Minimal parts
- No over-packaging
- Ergonomic components
- Attractive carafe
- Included paper filter bags
- Cold or hot brewing
Things We Don’t Like
- Felt filter tends to clog
- No brew vessel markings
- Updated Jun 15, 2022:
The Toddy Cold Brew System is a highly popular and acclaimed cold brew coffee maker. It’s also one of the oldest cold brew systems on the market and manufactured in the USA. No search for the best cold brew coffee maker would be complete without it. We, therefore, put the Toddy to the test to evaluate it for ourselves.
Toddy Cold Brew System Coffee Maker In-depth Review
Brew QualityHow We Tested
The test of any cold brew coffee maker is ultimately the coffee it produces. Our repeated testing found that the Toddy makes the best cold brew coffee. Specifically, it’s the most rounded, full-bodied, and complex brew with a balance towards sweeter flavors. Its filtration system, although not the most convenient, is highly effective.
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 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.
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.
DesignHow We Rated
Overall, the Toddy Cold Brew System is a high-quality product. It’s well thought out from eco-friendliness to aesthetic appeal to the practicalities of brewing and storage. The only feature we found lacking was the temperamental filter.
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.
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.
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.
10Stopper / Lid
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.
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.
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 UseHow We Rated
Making cold brew coffee can be messy. The purpose of a cold brew coffee maker is to make brewing and decanting as easy as possible. There are more steps to the Toddy system than you’ll find in a simple immersion filter brewer. However, it produced superior results and the whole process can be made easier if you use a paper filter bag.
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.
- 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.
9.0Cleaning 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.
Compared to Other Cold Brew Coffee Makers
For a free-style brewer and a brew ratio for making a cold brew coffee concentrate, there are only a few comparisons to be made with the Toddy Cold Brew System. One is the OXO which produces a stronger and more defined brew with its proprietary rainmaker water dripping lid. We tested the OXO Compact which is very similar in design to the large OXO Good Grips.
Another close contender to the Toddy is the Bodum French press cold brew coffee maker. Its fast and efficient filtration method outperforms the Toddy, but the felt filter of the Toddy produces a smoother finished brew. For other comparisons, you can see our complete reviews for the best cold brew coffee makers.