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Can You Spare a Dime, New York Times?

photo of an iced coffee

The Times has a loving post up about the Toddy Brewing System for iced coffee. It’s essentially a redux of the how to cold-brew iced coffee story they ran in 2007, with the addition of using the Toddy instead of your own filters. But what neither story noted is that making coffee this way is almost three times as expensive. Here’s the math, based on the current piece.

The Times recipe calls for 16 ounces of coffee, which yield 48 ounces of concentrate. The writer recommends using concentrate and coffee at a 1:1 ratio, so you’ve got 96 ounces of iced coffee, or 12 8-ounce cups.

If you were making regular coffee, those same 16 ounces, or 32 tablespoons, would give you 32 cups of coffee, using the general 1 tablespoon of coffee per cup. That’s nearly three times as many. Even if you are a profligate spendthrift and use 2 tablespoons per cup, you’d still get 16 cups, 25% more.

I’m not saying don’t cold brew your coffee if you want to. It’s a (mostly, kinda) free country! But it’s irresponsible not to note the big leap in cost here. It really fascinates me to see how much the Times dining—dining! not eating—section, in the same paper where I read about the economy on a daily basis, rarely notes prices or costs in any kind of real-world way. They just started giving nutrition info on recipes, I think they should start giving estimated costs.

I admit to being slightly paranoid that I did the math wrong here but I think it’s right.

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  • Wait – what? There’s an article about how to make iced coffee? Seriously?

    1. make coffee
    2. put it in the fridge
    3. next day, drink

  • s leelike

    you’ve got to remember that before we had all these gadgets we didn’t need an instruction book to tell us how to make and/or do things.
    now engineers have taken over and it is impossible to even park a car without a map. (has anyone looked at first aenue lately?).
    we used to have time to take a walk, talk, go to a movie. sit and do nothing (there’s never enough time for that) now we are all hung -up trying to use all these new gadgets.
    and then there’s the paperless office. another crock.

  • I am in love with my Toddy coffee cold-brew dealio. It says right there in the instruction book that it does indeed cost more per cup to cold-brew, BUT! Most people who brew a pot of coffee end up throwing part of it out, whereas the Toddy concentrate lets you just make a serving at a time, so you end up wasting those less-expensive cups of hot-brewed coffee. YMMV, obviously.

    One of the main reasons I like it is because it’s less acidic and easier on my delicate flower of a tummy.

  • matt

    Plus it’s fun to say toddy. I love you, toddy.