As you know, we at Gear Diary love our coffee. My Keurig is still a great system, but I love to make coffee pretty much any way I can; that also includes on ice. Quite some time ago, I was exposed to cold brew coffee by one of my local coffee shops. I only had a small sample, but what I tried was amazing. So I looked up devices like the Toddy T2N and other systems for making cold brew including tryin to make it in the brewers I already have. The Toddy was what I was planning on buying; however, on the day of my son’s birthday party I had to stop and get some paper plates for birthday cake, and I came across the Ronco Coffee Time Brew System at a local bargain outlet for the low price of 4 bucks. I jumped on it, as I figured that even if I hated it I would only be out 4 bucks and a little coffee.
The Coffee Time system is very simple; it’s essentially a big funnel with a rubber stopper, a felt filter(with one replacement), a lid and a carafe with lid for catching the cold brew. That’s it. To make it, I put in a regular coffee filter in the bottom on top of the felt filter, then I measure out a cup to a cup and a half of coffee; next I’ll measure out 48 to 56 ounces of water. I usually use a cup and a half of coffee to 56 ounces of water. I also alternate adding coffee and water so as to get the ground coffee as saturated as I can. Once it is full, the temptation is to stir the coffee, but you should not do this — it will clog the felt pad up. Just let it sit. After it’s set up, I put it in the fridge and let it sit for 12 hours.
After 12 hours, I pull the stopper out and sit it on top of the carafe. The coffee extract drips down into the carafe. It takes about 5 minutes for the funnel to completely drain. Once it’s done, you now have a concentrated coffee solution. For iced coffee, I will fill up a 16 oz cup of ice, pour the extract in until the cup is halfway full, and then fill the rest with milk or cold water. This is a must, as what this system makes is concentrated; you are on your own if you don’t dilute it! When I first tried a small sip of the extract undiluted, I almost immediately felt the effect of the caffeine in the brew; be on the safe side, dilute it! You can also mix the extract and water in about a 1 to 1 ratio and microwave it if you’d like hot coffee. I’ve done this, and it’s quite good.
Now Ronco claims that their cold brew is also better for you if your stomach is sensitive to the acids in regular coffee. Ronco says that the resultant brew has 65 percent less acid then regular coffee, and that there’s less bitter taste as all of that is in the oils which are filtered out by the felt pad. Because of the uniqueness of the cold brew, I found that I could get great coffee with mediocre coffee as well. I still recommend getting something a bit above Folgers, but I have tried this with 2 store brand premium blends, and it worked well!
Finally, the uses for the cold extract are many. You can do it up almost anyway you want after it’s brewed: cold, hot, or frappe — it’s all good. The best part is you add what you want to it. That means you can add less sugar than what Starbucks would or no sugar at all. So the result is healthier for you as well.
So am I happy? Well, I am so happy with the system that I went and got another one for the same price! Now I can make twice the amount of coffee at the same time. One of the carafes full of extract is going with me to work for the remainder of the spring and summer season until I get the yen to have hot coffee again. For now, I am really enjoying my iced coffee in the morning.
MSRP: $9.99. I paid $3.99 at a discount store. You can get one for $9.40 on Amazon.
What Like: Easy to get good iced coffee every day
What Needs Improvement: Cleanup is a bit messy