Science-y, Steampunk-y cold drip coffee and tea maker

October 18 | meganfinley

Y'all, I love me some coffee, and my husband STILL laughing over when I got my coffee maker for Christmas and I HUGGED THE BOX. But it takes one dedicated-ass coffee snob to purchase THIS steampunk-y cold drip coffee and tea maker.

If you're confused yet fascinated about this contraption, like I am, here's the description on how it works:

Ice and water are placed in the top jar, and by regulating the dripping water through the valve in the center, coffee is steeped and ends up in the carafe at the bottom of the tower. Through a unique three hour process using pure ice water, ice drip coffee produces a unique flavor not found in regular brewed coffee. It's easy to use. Just put the water and coffee grounds into the brewer and you are ready to go. … By slowly brewing your coffee with ice water, the harsher oils in your ground coffee are not brought out. The final brew is a lot mellower than a regular brew machine.

Oh yeah, and it's $220! Okay coffee snobbies, here are my questions…

What the hell am I looking at here? Do you have one of these? Would you pay $220 for one of these? Does one of these make your coffee experience that much better? Should I get one these? Would you buy this just because it looks like steampunk awesomeness that ALSO makes you a cuppa'? Because, even though it confuses me… I kind of want it!

  1. the bitterness is what turns me off coffee. I love coffee cake, coffee biscuits, coffee ice cream, affogatos, etc. If I were to be a serious coffee drinker, this would be right up my alley. And it looks terrific!

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    • Try cold-brewed mochas, or siphon-brewed Panama Guessha (Geisha) (expensive as fuck though), or coffee made with that fancy coffee press that the guy who invented the aerobee invented. Also, try light roasts – they aren't bitter, if anything they are lemony!

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    • Honestly Coffee can be a bit like wine. Depending on where its grown it definitely does have different flavoring. I went to Costa Rica for a college class (best class ever?…YES!) and we went to a coffee farm. We got to drink very fresh coffee and everyone in my class was amazed by it including the non-coffee drinkers. They all said if they drank coffee that is exactly what they would drink and it was generally drank black by everyone. I bought a few bags and drank it black with 1 sweetner packet.

      And different type of beans produce different flavors and also different amounts of caffeine. That trip turned me into a huge coffee snob. And damn it now I want more of the one where they let the berry dry out with the bean as that stuff was really sweet and just…excuse my drool. Sadly its like $15 a lb to get it mailed to you and I can't afford that, but one day I will treat myself with that.

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    • I used to hate coffee also but then a pushy chef (owner/chef of Tasca Brava here in Raleigh) told me that if I didn't like it, I didn't have to pay for it. He wouldn't bring me cream or sugar until I tried it first.

      There was NO BITTERNESS. I asked him what the secret was and he said super fresh beans plus being super freshly roasted. It is the only place I have ever liked coffee, ever.

      This is exactly why people from countries that grow coffee beans think we have such crap-assed coffee.

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  2. This is gorgeous and I'd love one! My only question: Is it hard to clean?

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  3. LOL, Megan we really ARE secret sisters!! I got a coffee machine that grinds and brews a long time ago, and my DH had the same puzzlement as I hugged the box and squee'd excitedly (it should be noted that I almost NEVER squee.) However, not only does my machine grind and brew, I can set the fineness of the grind (wut? I have never seen another machine that does that…I'm so lucky) and it has a built in timer, so I can put beans and water in before bedtime, and awaken to the wonderful smell of custom brewed coffee in the morning!!

    As to ice brewed coffee, I've been dying to try it, and this thing looks totally rad, but I would NOT buy it, for two reasons…one, as Misha questioned…the cleaning…omg, the cleaning…and two, I have two very rambunctious dogs, and I cannot imagine one of these elements NOT getting broken and being expensive, or impossible to replace.

    But in a perfect world where someone else does the cleaning and money is no object…hellz yeah!

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    • I can't speak for the USA but you could totally replace elements of this thing in Taiwan. We have a whole street in the old city center full of nothing but home chemistry supplies that sells stuff that could replace broken elements of this.

      In the USA there would certainly be specialty retailers who could do that for you, but it might cost a lot. You'd probably have to order online, but such things must exist. There are enough coffee snobs nationwide to support such a business.

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        • Damn you Miranda! Don't tease me amazing, huggable, squeeable coffee makers that I can't have. ;)

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          • Lol, imagine my sense of impending doom as I have had this amazing ray of joy in my life for over 9 years. Sooner or later she's going to die. And she's NOT replaceable in any way. It will be like losing a family member.

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      • That's MY coffeemaker!!! :-) (Meg's, that is) I stared at it lovingly for days after I first got it, until my sweetie got verrrrry jealous. So now we have a special moment together before he gets up in the morning.

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  4. Two little thing you should know about cold brewing coffee: 1-It takes MUCH MORE coffee than a regular coffee machine. 2-You can make cold coffee with a bodum coffee pot, for a fraction of the price of the machine presented (but the fraction of the look as well…)

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    • Actually, those two premises are false. It is possible to use the same amount of coffee for brewing either iced or hot. The amount of coffee you use is directly proportional to the potential strength of you brewed coffee. People tend to use more coffee to make an iced concentrate and either add water/pour it over ice to be drank at an acceptable strength.

      Secondly, the method you are describing is an immersion brew, whereas this device utilizes drip filtration. It may not seem like a big difference, but they will produce very distinct and different coffees, whether brewing hot or cold simply because of the dynamics of dissolution and diffusion during extraction.

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  5. I'm not really answering questions directly to this device, but it sounds like this is a variation of cold brewing coffee. I'm nuts over the stuff and do a huge vat once a week. My technique is to just let the coffee sit in a pot (4 quarts water, 8 oz coarsely ground beans) for 24 hours on the counter. And I haven't used ice cubes…yet. As for the taste, I personally find cold brew more mellow and richer in flavor. Hopefully that'll give someone a bit of insight.

    I've never tried to heat the finished product so I can't encourage or discourage it.

    edit: This link is one of my favorite instructions for cold brew:: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/

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    • I was going to suggest the Pioneer Woman's Recipe. It makes awesome cold brewed coffee for Iced Coffees.

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    • I use the PW's recipe too – lived on this all summer!

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    • Do you think you could just get a beverage dispenser, put some cheesecloth in the bottom, put ground coffee over that, pour water on top, refrigerate, and go? It'd pour pretty slowly, but…

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  6. These are amazing. I wouldn't buy one because while I am a coffee snob to some extent, I can get cold-brewed coffee at a good price at any number of coffeeshops in my city (Taipei) – it's popular in Japan (along with hot siphon brew) and anything popular in Japan is also popular in Taiwan. But yes, it does make a tastier, naturally sweeter/less bitter, more complex and flavorful ice brew. It really beats the stuff from an American-style machine, which doesn't extract the more complex flavors from the beans, and leaving it on the heating pad destroys what complexity it preserves (french presses are better but more trouble). Icing it destroys even more of the complex flavor. Brewing it iced preserves it. I love my fancy coffee, but I buy that at the various fancy coffee shops around Taipei (we have one in a restored old Japanese colonial wooden villa that I am particularly fond of, and another that gives you your coffee both in a mug and in a tiny crystal glass, so you can taste the difference in flavor when serving it in different ways). At home we just use an American style coffee-maker with OK coffee (a strong medium roast that can stand up to the heating pad) for our morning cups.

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  7. It looks like you'll be paying for the novelty of this item. After about 30 minutes of pricing online I've found that I can make this exact object for under $80us.

    I have had cold-drip coffee before and it's a much nuttier and mild flavour. You have the benefit of using less coffee per cup as well.

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  8. I'm a coffee newbie – do you heat up the cold brew after the, er, cold brewing? You drink it hot, right? [/stupid question] :-D

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  9. Just remember- you'll have to plan ahead to use this thing. I don't see any reason it would be much better than any other cold brew technique, taste wise.
    http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/08/cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

    I can't say enough about how much I love my cheap, elegant, delicious, easy to clean coffee maker. What I do is keep all the parts on a little tray that has its own shelf, out of the way, when out of use. Here it is. I will never look back! http://www.aeropress.com/

    I especially like Love Buzz coffee.

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  10. oh my, that is simply gorgeous.

    that said, i can make a good cold-brew coffee with two gallon pickle jars that i got for free: fill jar 1 with coffee grounds and cold water, wait, strain into jar 2. i think it would be easier and more efficient to have some sort of coffee grounds tea bag that you could just steep in the cold water and no straining, but this works, and i have the equipment.

    which is not to say i don't totally want this.

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  11. This is beautiful, and I'm tempted to buy it for my dad (though my stepmom might kick him out if another coffee-making device enters their household). Like others have said, I do cold brew for way cheaper with this. It uses a pound of coffee, but it lasts in the fridge for several days and is super easy to prepare. I pour mine plain over ice, my husband will stir in some sugar and cream then ice it. You can heat it up. It's smooth and delicious and the components can store inside in each other so it's not too much cabinet space eaten up.

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    • shut up and take my money! Going to order this asap…

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  12. Oh man, I want to figure out how this works, so I can build my own! I'm thinking lab glassware from Corning or the like, plus some wood and spindles from Lowes….

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    • You do that and you better write up a post for us! 'Cause that sounds AWESOME.

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  13. Looks awesome, and COMPLETELY makes me want it for my absinthe parties…but $220? Hmmmm…

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  14. If I had the spare cash I would buy it. Then again, I will probably ask the Mr. if he'd make a version. Ice coffee is essential here in the warm months! The best cups of coffee we've brewed has been in our vintage Silex Vacuum (siphon) Maker which is pictured left in the photo below. We gave the one on the right to a friend several years ago.

    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5096/5515333502_919b10ef66_o.jpg

    Now if we can only find a suitable replacement for our iRoast2 that I broke during our move and which has been discontinued (not that we've been overly looking atm). Fresh roasted coffee is good shit.

    For the daily grind, it's our beloved French Press.

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  15. Now I have to learn to make cold brewed coffee! I don't drink coffee, but I love making my husband his morning cup. It's a strange thing but I love the smell and I love that this is a little thing I can do for him that makes him happy. I bet he'd love this.

    That said, I want an espresso maker badly so it'd come before this much better looking and cooler device.

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  16. Our local coffee shop has one of these. It is a long process, but I heard the coffee was good. I wasn't there that day.

    Personally, I'm a french press kind of person.

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  17. This is called a Dutch Coffee Maker, since the dutch were the ones that invented cold brew to drink on their boats while trading between their settlements in Indonesia and other south-east Asia countries. What's nice about Dutch coffee is that it makes an extract of coffee, unlike a normal coffee maker you see in your kitchens. You can add hot water for a dutch americano, or cold for an Iced Tea feeling. You can add milk for a dutch latte, or even pour dilute it and pour it into ice cube trays to use with your standard iced coffees. The machine above actually moves the water through the coffee, making a stronger extract, and more efficient use of the grounds than with an immersion cold brew like the Toddy Pot. You can use cloth filters, which will absorb less oil, or cut paper filters into circles to use. On average, for every 10 ml of water, use 1 gram of coffee. 1 liter(1000ml) water/100g coffee, etc. and you will set it for 1 drop of water per second, which can take anywhere from 5 to 10 hours depending on how much water you are using.

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