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on August 2, 2009
If you already love the smooth taste of cold brewed coffee, you will never go back to brewing coffee after using this machine. For too long, I made cold brewed coffee by putting grounds and water in a big jar and then straining it through coffee filters. I ended up with as much coffee on the kitchen counter as I did in my cup. The hourglass cold brew system is a delight. It's made from BPA free plastic and is simple and clean to use. All you do is measure the grounds and water into one of the brew chambers and then let it sit on your counter for 12 hours. When done, you simply turn it over and the grounds stay in the brew chamber and the coffee runs into the second brew chamber. Done! No mess! The directions say you can re-use the grounds if you put more water in right away. I've done this every time and the second batch tastes just as good as the first. All in all, I think by using the grounds twice, the system becomes quite economical. I read the reviews of the other systems and decided to spring for the Hourglass because even though it is more expensive, it seems to have addressed the issues that other reviewers complained about (no lid on the fridge container, plastic, etc.) This machine is worth every penny. See [...].
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on February 7, 2010
Makes good coffee. I have to watch my caffeine and acid levels (I had a gastric bypass) so I use 50/50 caf/decaf beans with a coarse burr grinder. Better coffee bean quality does make a difference. It also makes convenient super great healthy iced coffee with skim milk and stevia sweetner.

I also had a problem with leaking and locking at first but there are a couple of tricks that work for me. First, after you fill with water gently screw the base together. Carefully leave the top part a little loose. The problem I found was that if you screw the thing tightly together right after you add the water, the water is still absorbing into the grounds and will create a powerful vacuum over time! So if you seal it up tight right away, over time the whole thing locks down tight! I am a big guy but still could barely open the thing after 24 hour cycle! Just leave it loose, just enough for the whole thing to stay together and 24 hours later you'll be fine. This seems to also alleviate some of the leaking problems too because when you do tighten it down the seal will be fresher (if that makes sense). You may get an occasional drip after that but you will learn to be careful and pour CAREFULLY into the bean canteen over a sink. I have very few dripping issues now.

I do wish it were less expensive.
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on May 9, 2010
The stainless steel filter is what swayed me from the Toddy to the Hourglass. Some people complained about leaks, some did not. Mine leaked significantly. Upon careful observation...(story shortened)...the factory does not always trim down the bowls enough to let the center piece tighten against the rubber gasket. I sanded the lip of each bowl down to the start of the threads. Now there is a tight seal against the gasket. No more leaks! The factory should do a better and more consistent job to eliminate this issue. An alternate solution would be to acquire an extra set of gaskets and use two on each bowl.
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on December 16, 2009
The hourglass cold brewer is a beautiful piece of kit, it looks great.
The coffee it produces is much smoother than heat brewed.
The formulas are very useful for cold brewing and not something I would have considered before.
It's great for making a usable amount of coffee (I've tried cold brewing with a french press and it feels like more effort when it has to be done more often).
However, it takes up a lot of space on a small countertop.
The hourglass concept is unnecessary (you can cold brew in a mason jar if you want) and the pieces tend to lock together.
If you don't tighten the blue ends to the center it leaks while you're pouring the coffee, but if you tighten it it locks. I've sprayed coffee from one side trying to unscrew the other. I'm afraid to use too much pressure to try and unscrew them in case they break. The black center piece could have been made with some form of grip instead of smooth.

The included container for the brewed coffee has a useful measuring cup lid, which only measures half a cup of coffee at a time. The lid could have held a full cup, with a half mark. On the other hand the whole screw top lid gets coffee into the grooves and has to be cleaned after each pour. I've purchased a pour lid container with measuring marks on the side and it's easier to know when to brew again.

So, the intellectual property is probably the best part of the purchase. If the company had put more effort into the function of the piece it would be a better product.
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on June 30, 2009
I bought this maker a few months ago and absolutely love it. I have missed drinking coffee due to my acid reflux and the Hourglass makes low acid coffee which I love and it's the only way I can drink coffee. I have used other cold brew makers but they are so complicated and messy I stopped using them after a month or so. The Hourglass is easy to use, easy to clean and allows me to re-enjoy coffee again.

I drink the cold brew hot (by adding hot water) but my daughter loves the iced coffee she can make. It's very versatile and I love the comments I get when people come over and see a giant hourglass on my counter.

Try this coffee maker!
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on February 21, 2010
EASY. This cold brew system is really easy to use and clean and not having to buy replacement filters and cheap plastic parts makes this the cold brew system for the long run. I noticed that I only have leak issues if I overfill the unit with either coffee grind or water. You need to ensure the measurements are exact. The hour glass is actually functional for an optional mid-brew flip and flip back which i found did give the coffee a bolder taste in less time. The coffee tastes amazing and I was able to give up cream and sugar as a result. The container was perfect for taking to work and storing on a tight shared refrigerator shelf
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on August 30, 2010
This is one of those "why didn't I think of it myself" devices that cured my Starbucks iced coffee habit. The Hourglass system consists of 4 parts (excluding the little coffee storage carafe) that fit together to create the hourglass shown in the product photo. Much easier and less messy than a French press. I was somewhat concerned about other reviews that mentioned problems with leaking. However, my Hourglass has never leaked.

Just fill the stainless steel filter (no paper filters required)with course ground coffee and place it in the bottom half of the Hourglass (the "brew chamber"). This piece then screws on to the other two pieces, the black plastic funnel and top chamber. In 12 hours your coffee is "brewed" with no heat or electricity. You turn it over (yes, just like the hourglass in the Wizard of Oz, but with better results) and let the coffee extract drain into the other chamber. The funnel has a spout, enabling you to pour your incredibly rich, smooth, low acid coffee extract into the carafe and store in the fridge. I haven't tried it hot yet, but it makes scrumptious iced coffee. I make mine with 2% milk, and it is a rich-tasting, refreshing, yet still healthy treat.

The price seems a little steep for what is essentially five pieces of plastic, plus the filter. But the $ I'm saving on retail coffee drinks is more than making up for it. Plus you can use your coffee grounds a second time, unlike hot brewed coffee. The ease of use was a big selling point for me, admittedly.
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on October 31, 2010
I used this coffee maker for about a year to make low acid coffee. It did a fine job, but there was some leakage and the threads began to wear out. Also it really didn't make enough coffee to last more than a few days. It had several parts to clean and sometimes I had trouble unscrewing it.

So I began to look around. I got the largest french press I could find, 50+ ounces and it definitely makes more coffee liquid than the hourglass. Also the mess is less and it's easier to clean. I put the coffee liquid in a teapot instead of the bottle provided by Hourglass. This method definitely makes more coffee liquid than that little bottle could hold.

I am on a low acid diet, so having low acid coffee is a must. Here's how I do it.

First I begin with low acid coffee beans that can be found on Amazon or at a specialty market. (don't think I can name it here. But if you have one in your area you will know it by the always full parking lot.) Essentially I am using low acid coffee beans and using those in a low acid coffee making process.

Anyway, I grind the coffee beans and fill the french press about 1/3 full with them. Then I add water and fill it to the rim. The ground coffee usually is quite thick at the top, so I give it a quick stir with a large spoon until the water touches all the grounds. Then I let it sit for a minute or 2 while I do other kitchen stuff. This allows the coffee to "bloom". I had learned about blooming from a national coffee chain to make hot french press coffee, and was surprised to learn cold water made it bloom too. I think it helps to release some of the inherent coffee flavor into the mix.

Then I put the top on and let it sit for 12 - 18 hours. Then I press down on the mixture until only the liquid coffee is left on the top. I pour this extremely strong mixture into a tea pot for storage. To have a cup of coffee in the a.m. I take the tea pot out of the fridge and fill a regular cup 1/3 full of the coffee liquid. I then add boiling water to the rest. You can add sweetener or whatever for a pretty good cup of almost acid free coffee. You can adjust the strength of the coffee by the ratio of coffee to boiling water. I like mine strong.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it isn't really. Just grind, fill with water, let it sit, boil some water when ready to drink, and you have it. Clean up is easy with the french press. I usually make a batch in the afternoon and by the next a.m. I have enough mixture to last 5 - 7 days.

The Hour Glass is o.k. if you don't drink much coffee and are really careful to take care of the plastic threads. It's also attractive and a fun gadget. But I prefer a large french press coffee maker.
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on October 29, 2010
We purchased the Toddy on recommendation of our Local Barista Barb. We love the lower-acid, dark amber cold-brewed coffee. The smooth, rich tasting coffee extract is delicious hot or iced. So when I loaned the Toddy to my daughter, I looked into replacing it with the Hourglass. I watched the video, so was excited to try the Hourglass. It has a Stainless filter (the Toddy has a filter pad.) The flip design and self-contained non-staining plastic looked nice and seemed it would be so much easier to cold brew in the Hourglass than the Toddy.

Regardless of how I put the Hourglass together (wet, dry, tight, loose, warm or cold water) IT LEAKED! Even with care, coffee will leak out the seals. If you don't tighten the blue ends to the center, it leaks while you're pouring the coffee, but if you tighten it, it locks. I'm afraid to use too much pressure to try and unscrew it as it seems it might break. The black center piece could have been made with some form of grip instead of smooth, and my hands are too small to exert the force necessary to get it all apart. Tipping the filter in and especially removing it with the wet grounds is problematic. What a MESS! I read the reviews here before I used it, and was mighty careful. AND NONE OF THE PIECES CAN GO IN THE DISHWASHER. In this day and age, how silly is that?

The stainless steel filter is another reason I switched from the Toddy to the Hourglass. But the Hourglass stainless filter leaves sediment, the Toddy filter pad leaves the cold brew coffee clear as a bell, so there's no residue left in the bottom of the cup or carafe. Toddy's filter worked so much better!

I found more problems than solutions in the Hourglass cold brew.

I agree the intellectual property is probably the best part of the Hourglass. If the company put more effort into the function of the piece it would be a better product. Design over function.

Recommendation: Skip the Hourglass and get the original Toddy cold brewer. You get better coffee, for 1/2 the price. You also have the advantage of not needing a coffee maker on your counter. Either boil hot water in a kettle, or microwave the water for your coffee extract. Enjoy cold-brewed coffee, but save yourself the aggravation of the Hourglass and buy the Toddy instead.
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on August 11, 2009
Maybe it is just the one I received, but this thing leaks something awful. I do not have it too tight or too loose. I tried it different ways. I have no problem reading instructions either. I suppose this one might be defective but I am sending it back. I did not buy it from Amazon but from Cutlery and More. Not crazy that I have to pay return shipping either. I am going to try the Filtron, as the cold brewed coffee is quite good. I just lose most of it all over my counter with this brewer.
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