The Coffee Snob cold drip coffee maker is yet another alternative to traditional drip or percolator coffee brewing. The beautiful device, which looks like belongs in a 19th century laboratory not a 21st century kitchen, slowly drips ice water through coffee grounds to make a concentrate similar to that made by the Toddy cold brew system. The coffee concentrate is then mixed down to your preferred strength and heated or served over ice.
The theory as with other cold brew systems is to reduce undesirable oil and acidity extracted in the brewing process by using cold water. The end product, for better or worse, typically contains somewhat less caffeine as well. These are real benefits to people with a sensitivity to acid or who need to reduce their caffeine intake, but it is important to remember that there is still some caffeine present.
The coffee concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator and used to make a single cup at a time. This is the biggest advantage to this type of maker, especially to those who may be brewing a pot of coffee but may only drink one or two cups of it.
The process is different from other cold brew systems I have used. Instead of soaking the ground bean in water, water slowly (one drop per second) drips through the cup of grounds. A reusable cloth filter at the bottom of the grounds allows the coffee concentrate to drip down the amusingly twisted outlet tube and into the carafe.
The drip process is controlled by an easily adjusted valve at the bottom of the water reservoir. The use of ice, and a small amount of watter insures a slow brew using cold water throughout.
The brewing setup is easy but the brew will take many hours to complete (8 or more hours.) This is acceptable since the system makes a fair amount of concentrate in one brewing, but if you’re out of concentrate you can forget about that quick fix.
The only problem with brewing is where the coffee drips from the filter outlet to the carafe. Due to the height and open carafe there were coffee drops on the counter for two feet in every direction.
Cleanup (of both my counter and the Coffee Snob) was easy and the reusable filter is a big plus.
The coffee concentrate is mixed with water to achieve your preferred strength. The ratio in the instructions (which I have lost since getting the unit) will result in a fairly weak coffee. I found a stronger mix of 1 to 2 parts water to 1 part concentrate to make a satisfying, somewhat strong American style coffee.
The resulting coffee is very good with considerably less acidity and with no bitterness at all. While some of the flavor and body of the coffee is still lost, the Coffee Snob creates a concentrate superior to the Toddy cold brew method.
The concentrate will also find uses in recipes and lattes and cappuccinos are easily made using the concentrate. Lattes and cappuccinos are different from the coffee shop fare as they lack the bitterness of a true espresso.
The Coffee Snob does require a fairly large amount of ground coffee for a modest amount of concentrate. This is typical to cold brew systems as less flavor is extracted with the cold system.
The Coffee Snob produces a very tasty cup of coffee with low acidity and little to no bitterness. While the brewing process takes some time, the resulting concentrate is convenient and ready to use.
The coffee is not as full-flavored as a traditional drip coffee and the cold brew system is less efficient in number of brewed cups per pound of coffee. These two factors keep the Coffee Snob from becoming my everyday brewer, but these are a small sacrifice for those with a sensitivity to acid.
Overall I would recommend the Coffee Snob to those who are sensitive to the acidity in coffee or those that are curious about cold-brew methods. The maker also offers the benefit of being a beautiful addition to any kitchen.