Coffee leaves acid out in the cold

The future of coffee just might be cold - cold-brewed, that is. A simple contraption, the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System works like this: Pour cold water over coffee grounds and let them steep for 12 hours. Filter out the grounds, and the result is a smooth-tasting coffee concentrate for hot or cold drinks.

In addition to its electricity-free design, Toddy has other benefits. Cold water extracts less than half the acid from beans than hot does, says Brett Holmes, a partner in the company - so those with tender tummies don't have to give up their morning brew. Plus, you only use what you need, and the concentrate lasts for several weeks in the fridge. And Toddy coffee tastes pretty good - a recent review in Cook's Illustrated, known for thorough testing, gave its flavor a thumbs-up, calling it milder than regular coffee but pleasingly smooth.

That smoothness makes Toddy coffee an ideal choice for both cold drinks and cooking.

It'll never replace the ritual of brewing a fresh pot, but for those looking for less acid or a few extra minutes each morning, it's worth a look. The Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System is $34.95 at www.toddycafe.com; it's also at Full City Coffee, 409 Grand St., (212) 260-2363.

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