Let's get one thing straight: this is not Toddy. Whereas both brews are sweet and subdued, the flavor of Toddy is rather muddy and diffuse whilst Kyoto Cold-Drip is crisp and nuanced. Toddy is serviceable and apt as an ingredient, but Cold-Drip is cultured and well-savored straight.
Kyoto Cold-Drip is simple both in principle and execution. Preparation is a breeze and even the novice or those with little patience for esoteric processes will easily find success. Complication (superfluous complication) only enters the picture in regards to the theatrics and elegance designed into the brewing device. A simple and ugly dripper is capable of producing the same quality brew as the most moderne or byzantine art-piece.
The principle is simple: Room-temperature water is sluiced, drop by drop, through a stationary bed of coffee and which brewed at 1.5 times the conventionally-accepted strength ("2 Tbsp coffee per 4 oz of water" rather than the conventional strength of "2 Tbsp of coffee per 6 oz of water") for a duration of anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. Though some methods recommend 8 to 12 hours, this is unnecessarily lengthy, as a proper startup-procedure will achieve equivalent results in a mere fraction of the time.
Aside from an easier and more convenient preparation, the shorter brewing cycle has another benefit: most home setups do not have a level-cock. This is a small, secondary reservoir which continually fills with brewing water from the primary reservoir so as maintain a consistent drip-rate. To keep a consistent drip rate, brewers with only a single reservoir will have to have the drip valve opened periodically (every hour or so) as the water level lowers and the drip-rate slows due to change in pressure. A short brewing cycle means that the occasional tweaking required is kept to a minimum.
Filtering mediums vary: some use a ceramic disc, some use a metal or glass strainer. A paper filter (most models seem sized so as to accept Aeropress filters) can also be used to good effect. An second Aeropress paper filter is also used on top of the grounds so as to diffuse the water drops across the entire bed of grounds.
- Use approximately 2 oz by weight (or 6 oz by volume) of finely ground (neither pulverized nor like espresso-grind, but instead, like table salt) coffee for every 24 oz of water. This equates to 2 Tbsp of coffee per 4 oz of water. The grounds must not be too excessively powdery, so blade-grinder users take note.
- Water should be room temperature. It does not have to be iced.
- Place the ground coffee in a appropriately-sized mixing bowl.
- Take one ounce (by volume) of the brewing water and add it to the coffee in the bowl.
- Mix water and coffee mixture until the water is fully incorporated into the grounds.
- After making sure the appropriate filters are in place, place the wetted coffee grounds into the designated receptacle.
- Gently shake receptacle to level the bed of grounds.
- Place a paper filter on the top of the bed of grounds.
- Set the Initial Drip-Rate: I find that setting the drips to the beat of "Edelweiss" is appropriate. (This equates to about 0.5 drops a second or about 30 drops a minute.)
- The first drips of brewed coffee will begin to appear in the bottom carafe after approximately 45 minutes.
- After these first drops are seen, set the Final Drip-Rate: Set the drips to the rhythm of "Mony Mony". (This is a little more than 2 drops a second or about 140 drops a minute.)
- Every hour or so, adjust the valve in order to maintain a consistent Drip-Rate. NOTE: Very large Cold-Drip brewers (like the large-sized Yama model which make 3 liters at once) may well require much faster drip rates than those listed here in order to finish in 3-5 hours.
- When done, stir coffee in carafe with a wooden utensil and transfer coffee to containers that may be stored in the fridge. I find that half-liter, disposable, plastic Dasani/Perrier/San Pellegrino water bottles work well.
- The coffee will be the most delicate and nuanced on the first day and will progressively get richer and heavier (though not rancid) as it ages over the course of days. It will be at its best for about 3 or 4 days, but it will keep in the fridge for at least 7 days.
- Unlike hot-brewed paper filters, the paper filters used in Cold-Drip can be immediately rinsed when done brewing (just don't let them dry out) and stored in a container of cold water in the fridge, right along with any cloth filters that one may use for hot-brewed coffee.
- When serving, it should be noted that a 3-4 oz glass of undiluted cold-drip coffee is equivalent (caffeine-wise) to a classically-sized (5-6 oz) cup of conventional-strength coffee.