2 Coffee Makers Made in the USA Offer Cool New Ways to Brew

Toddy T2N Cold Brew System

Toddy T2N Cold Brew System

These 2 Coffee Makers Made in the USA Give You Tasty Coffee with Less Fuss

If you’re like most coffee lovers, you probably have your favorite stand-by coffee maker. No doubt, you swear by your machine’s java prowess, know intimately how it works, and don’t mind the occasional bitter brew. You probably rarely think of giving it up for some new-fangled brewer.

But if you’re like us, you probably get tired of the same old same old every morning and like to try something different. We’ve found 2 new coffee makers, made in the USA, that brew tasty, less bitter coffee in interesting new ways: the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System and the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Press. Both are available for under $35, and both won’t leave you disappointed.

Slow Brew Cold Brew with the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System

The Toddy T2N Cold Brew System might strike some coffee lovers as a bit of an oxymoron—how can you brew good coffee without heat? But cold brew methods aren’t just for cowboys on the range. The Toddy produces coffee that is both delicious and less acidic—67% less acidic, in fact. Toddy’s cold brew is one of the smoothest cups we’ve tasted, and it’s ideal for iced coffee or tea.

The Toddy uses coarse grounds that are steeped overnight for best results. You then filter the grounds in a method similar to a French press. The resulting coffee is highly concentrated and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This means you can have your coffee already brewed and ready before you wake up in the morning, and you can dilute it to taste with hot milk or water, or just over ice.

The Toddy T2N comes with a glass brewing container with handle, a stylish decanter with lid, two reusable filters, and a rubber stopper. We also like the free recipe book that comes with each Toddy.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Make Delicious Coffee in 30 Seconds with the Aerobie AeroPress

The Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Press is equally enticing. An exciting new twist on the tried and true French press method, the AeroPress is ruggedly constructed and can brew up to four cups of low-acid coffee with either hot or cold water. Let the water and grounds mix for 10 seconds, then gently push the mix through a micro-filter for 20 seconds. Like with a French press, the air pressure squeezes flavor from the grounds, producing a very smooth, non-bitter coffee.

You can use coarse or fine coffee grounds in the AeroPress, which comes equipped with a funnel, scoop, stirrer, and 350 micro filters. Easy to clean and dishwasher safe, the AeroPress is one of the sexiest coffee makers we’ve tried in a long time.

So who says Americans don’t make anything anymore? These 2 coffee makers made in the USA make great American-style coffee and would make excellent additions to your kitchen.

Good Morning, Sunshine! How Are You This Lovely Morning?

Out of CoffeeAh, morning! (cue the opening bars of Rossini’s William Tell Overture)

The light from the window peels open your eyes, a little dodgy after last night’s late night meeting at work.

So you stumble into your robe, switch on your slippers, and put on the kitchen floor. Open the pantry, reach for the coffee. The coffee. Gotta make the coffee.

Get the coffee, not the brown rice. Where’s the coffee? It’s usually right here on the second shelf. What did you do with it? You check you bag from the night before. No coffee! Oh no!

You forgot to stop at the Quik Sacks on the way home! You hate when that happens. Now you’re faced with the most pressing first-world problem imaginable: waking up with no coffee in the house.

Oh well, getting your morning coffee on the outside is not an option for you. All those cafes and coffee shops and diners serve rabbit piss that runs straight through you.

No, you need coffee that you can chew, that snaps you awake. Mornings, you need the punch and splash of your own strong brew that only you can make in your own kitchen. Otherwise, it will be a very long day indeed.

Waking Up with No Coffee in the House: First World Problems A-Go-Go

Cursing, you stumble back to the bedroom and paint on some pants. No, not that shirt. Is it raining? Where are your glasses? How come your shoes aren’t there? This is no way to start your day. Waking up with no coffee in the house is like discovering you left your head at work yesterday.

Okay, let’s do this. You walk out the door, scratching the keys in the lock, and down the back steps and around the corner. Three blocks to the nearest store. Everyone else is smiling and whistling. They had their coffee already.

You turn toward the store, pass that burnt orange Auto Moto that’s always parked there. You wonder who drives that thing and what the gas mileage is like.

At the last corner, you climb the street’s center hump like it’s K2 and you left your ropes and crampons at home. One more block to the nice Mexican grocery. You’re sweating already, stopping to pick a stone from your sandals.

You reach for the store’s door, not smiling at the security cameras, and almost trip on the stack of newspapers at your feet.

Not Guilty by Reason of No Coffee in the House

You’re on auto moto pilot now. You shuffle without thinking down the middle aisle. Maxwell House. Folgers. Hill Brothers. Cafe Bustelo. Why is a one-pound metal can less expensive than a ten-ounce vacuum-sealed block? You grab the block.

What else do you need? Toilet paper? Bread? Sugar? Do you have sugar? You need the coffee more than the sugar but you know coffee without sugar is the second worst first world problem you can have.

You decide to take your chances and just get coffee. Already you’re regretting waking up today, and if you don’t get home and drink some, you’re never going to get out of this mess.

So you stagger to the front and place the yellow and red block of robust Latin coffee on the counter. “What’s up?” the friendly Mexican cashier says. “That will be $4.89.”

And when you reach into your pocket, you only then realize.

You left your wallet at home.

George Washington’s Instant Cup of George

G Washington's Instant Coffee

G Washington’s Instant Coffee

We imagine tender hands reaching for the perfect purple cherry and plucking it from the coffee tree, the expert roasting and the perfect grind. We pretend we’re firing up our fancy Italian espresso machine and pumping out delicious demis of paradise.

But it’s a fantasy. Our host only has instant coffee, so we smile, hide our horror, and stir our spoons without saying a word.

Instant coffee? Who drinks that stuff anymore?

Fact is, about a fifth of American coffee drinkers prefer instant coffee (or at least are willing to sacrifice personal dignity and moral decency for convenience). With many food relics from a bygone era like canned cranberry sauce and egg foo young, people cling to comfort, what they know, and the good feelings they generate. Instant coffee is one of those comfort foods for many people.

But the question was hanging in the air like stale dragon breath: who is responsible for instant coffee and why not just use a French press? Well, it turns out that George Washington was the first to mass produce instant coffee. True story.

Coffee Powder on a Tarnished Silver Spout

Coffee has always taken time to make, which is funny if you consider how impatient drinking it makes people. Maybe that’s why the dream of a coffee you could make in an instant goes back a long way in the murky history of coffee. The first known patent for a soluble coffee was granted in Britain in 1771, but little is known about this so-called “coffee compound” except that it must have tasted really awful.

Both American armies during the Civil War tried various instant coffee schemes, but they too were unimaginably unpalatable. Armies had a huge interest in a viable instant coffee solution because coffee can’t be foraged by an army marching on its stomach and has to be horsed in with the bullets and the bandages.

So the demand for something—anything—coffee-like to mix in hot water was big, and around 1901, a Chicago chemist named Satori Kato invented the first truly soluble coffee. Strangely, nothing became of his 1903 patent. Maybe it tasted funny or something.

Instead, a few years later, a Belgian immigrant to Brooklyn named George Constant Louis Washington (apparently so as not to be confused with other famous George Washingtons) used his own patent to mass produce Red E Coffee, the first instant coffee available to the public.

Legend has it that Washington was inspired by seeing crusted coffee powder on a silver coffee pot. Maybe, but generals and majors definitely took notice of Red E Coffee, especially when World War One broke out over in Europe.

Instant coffee was a national security secret weapon. E. F. Holbrook, coffee czar at the US War Department, thought coffee was a vital cure for exposure to mustard gas, something the Doughboys would surely have to deal with over in France. (Yep, coffee was so important the War Department had an office for it!)

So Washington’s company, G. Washington Coffee Refining Company, got the juicy government contract to supply the US Army with instant coffee. It was an Edwardian marketer’s dream, soldiers writing glowing letters home about the glories of Mr. Washington’s instant, trench-friendly coffee beverage product! Most troops, however, knew caffeine when they saw it and often drank their “cup of George” cold.

A Real, Red E Monkey on Your Shoulder

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, G. Washington Coffee was a nationally known brand. Washington himself was somewhat of an eccentric, known to attend swanky jazz-age parties with a pet monkey on his shoulder. He filled his New Jersey estate with a menagerie of exotic animals.

But in 1937, chemists in Switzerland invented an allegedly better process for making an allegedly better tasting instant coffee product called Nescafe. Troops going off to the Big One sometimes had a cup of George, but more often, it was a Nescafe in their foxhole rations. By the beginning of the 1960s, G. Washington Coffee was sold off and dissolved.

Caffeine, It’s My Wife, It’s My Life

CaffeineIt’s a debate we’ve had for ages—is caffeine bad for you? Why do some people seem to thrive on it while others become jittery basket cases? The research is still inconclusive about the overall effects of caffeine use on health, and perhaps it always will be.

One characteristic of the research on caffeine is the tug-of-war nature of its generally accepted  findings. For every alleged benefit of caffeine, you can find a counterbalancing negative side effect:

  • Caffeine reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Fantastic! Drink up! But, oh, it increases your blood pressure. Bummer. Better be careful.
  • Caffeine can sharpen your alertness and boost your attention span. Terrific! No wonder you can’t work without it! But wait a second—caffeine is also physically addictive and can cause anxiety and insomnia. Looks like we can never have nice things!
  • Caffeine can lower your risk of developing diabetes and increase your metabolic rate. Sweet! It makes a good diet aid, then, right? Not exactly. Caffeine can also hamper your concentration by reducing fine motor control of your muscles. And it makes you have to pee a lot, that’s for sure.

Any caffeine junkie coffee aficionado knows that if you skip your coffee in the morning, you’ll have a raging headache by lunch. That coffee does require more trips to the comfort station than if you consumed the same amount of water. That late-night cups do sometimes cause some tossing and turning. Which leads to another recurring debate of ours….

To Decaf or Not to Decaf? Oh, Don’t Go There, Hammy

We always found the apocryphal tale that French philosopher and enfant terrible Voltaire routinely consumed 70 cups of coffee per day. Doctors still refer to a 6-ounce cup of coffee as a dose, and a 70-cup dose, administered at once, is fatal for our lab rat friends.

So caffeine, like many psychoactive drugs, can be fatal, but you would have to drink 70 cups in an hour to see such drastic side effects. Still, caffeine overdose is a well-known medical condition that befalls many who over-consume caffeine products: severe irritability and anxiety, restlessness and confusion, seizures, trembling and twitching, rapid breathing and heartbeat, dehydration and fever, ringing in the ears, nausea and vomiting, delirium and hallucinations.

It ain’t pretty, but these days, coffee is one of the weaker caffeine-delivery agents available—many so-called “energy drinks” contain megadoses of caffeine equal to 4 or 5 cups in one 8-ounce can. One of those drinks would be unmarketable without the monster caffeine content. After all, have you tasted one?

Born in a German Decaf Lab

Caffeine’s jittery side effects were noted immediately as coffee spread around the world beginning in the fifteenth century, but it wasn’t until 1903 that a practical decaffeination process was perfected by two German coffee sellers and chemistry buffs, Ludwig Roselius and Karl Wimmer.

They used brine and benzene to rinse the caffeine out of green coffee beans. It ain’t pretty, but it removes up to 99% of the caffeine, allowing more people to enjoy coffee’s rituals

And in many ways, that’s really what drinking coffee is for many, a cherished ritual, an engine for social interaction.