DIY: Coil Coffee Chiller

I was recently shown a new innovation in coffee preparation – a way to chill 200°F coffee down to 45°F without dilution or an extended chill-time in a refrigerator. In essence, it uses the method of a still to cool down steaming hot liquid via chilled, coiled copper. Because this contraption is selling for $180+, and because of how easy this sounded to build, I gave it a try.

Unfortunately, I did not take pictures during the build process, except for a picture of the outcome, so you’ll probably have to re-read some of this a couple times. You may even find it easier, after reading, to swap out my ideas with your own.

You’ll need:

  • a narrow 2-qt jar, preferably at least 4″ wide
  • some sort cylindrical-like object that is 0.5″ shorter in width than your jar
  • a rubber grommet (Outer Diameter: 7/16″, Inner Diameter: 3/16″)
  • 10 feet of 1/4″ copper coil
  • a drill with 3/8″ and 5″16″ drill bits

Since I borrowed a drill and didn’t need to buy bits, this only cost me $20. I used a Mainstays jar from Walmart (as shown in the picture above), which cost me $7.50, and which measured 4.5″ wide. And I used a 4″ wide candle jar to wrap my 1/4″ coil around – this provided a flush fit into my jar. The rubber grommets can be found at Lowe’s in the Hardware section, the copper coil in Plumbing, and hopefully, if you don’t have a drill and bits, you could just borrow someone’s.

Start by disassembling the jar, if your jar has a latch. Then drill a 3/8″ hole in the center of the bottom and a 5/16″ hole through the lid. If your lid has two layers, you can use a vacuum to get out most of the shreds caught in between. Take your rubber grommet and place it into the bottom hole.

If you’ve never wrapped copper coil, it is easy, but can be ruined easily as well (I would recommend watching several videos on YouTube before doing this). Go slow and be careful not to let the coil pinch. Wrap the coil tightly around your 0.5″ smaller cylinder, leaving about 4″ of slack on each end. You’ll need to bend the slack on each end so that the hole of the tubing is centered with the holes you drilled out from your jar. There is a tool for making 90° bends, if you would prefer to do a perfect job and don’t mind spending a little extra money (copper bending tool)

diy-coffee-chiller

Slide your coiled copper into the jar and push through the grommet, while holding the grommet on the other end, so as not to push the grommet out of its place. If you’ve centered the tubing well, then you should just be able to put the lid on, otherwise, you’ll need to toy with it a bit, but again, be careful not to pinch the coil.

So far, this is where you’ll need to do some of your own research. I haven’t found a way yet to funnel the coffee into 1/4″ tubing. However, the Melitta dripper also has a 1/4″ hole, which works fairly well, without an excess amount of spillage.

If you try this, and find ways to improve it, please comment below. I wouldn’t mind building another, if it could be perfected around the same price range.

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