The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker (top Models + buying guide)
So you’re ready to jump on the cold-brew bandwagon as the temperature (slightly) starts to warm up….but where do you start? I’m guessing that, since you’re here, you know cold brew is not about throwing a few ice cubes in your regular brewed coffee.
Today we will be looking at and comparing the best cold brew coffee makers on the market to help get you started.
The 7 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Here’s a handy lil’ table giving you the summary of the best cold drip brewers on the market. Nothing is certain in life – apart from the fact that choosing a cold brewer for the first time will confuse the f**k out of you.
Take a look at one of the brewers we’d recommend for all your cold-brew needs.
|OXO Good Grips Brewer||
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|Toddy Cold Brew System||
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|Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker||
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|Hario Mizudashi Cold Brewing System||
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|The Yama Cold Brew Tower||
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|Bodum Chambord French Press||
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|Cuisinart DCB-10P1 Cold Brew Coffeemaker||
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The Oxo Good Grips Coffee Maker made it into our list of the best overall coffee makers for many reasons. It uses some interesting tools to help improve the cold brew process. The patented Rainmaker coffee extraction lid helps to evenly distribute water over the grounds ensuring complete saturation. This helps to reduce any over-extraction and bitterness in your coffee (1).
Our favourite feature – the nifty brew release switch so once your coffee’s ready, you have complete control over the pouring of the concentrate (i.e. no need to skilfully unplug the brewer and aim it into the decanter, like you would with the above brewers).
Toddy T2N brewer uses a two-part wool and paper reusable filter for a sediment free concentrate. What separates this drip maker from the rest is that the patented fine-mesh wool fibre filter is thicker and more durable so it acts as both a grounds guard and filtration device. This means that the drip maker has been simplified and is easier to put together, take apart, and clean.
Read our full review of the Toddy here. Or watch our video review below:
Ok – you want a quick and easy way to make some mouth-watering cold drip coffee but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new coffee maker? The Takeya coffee maker is a great choice for simple cold brew. It is 100% free of nasties like BPA plastic, uses a stainless steel filter and is MADE for cold brew, meaning you’ll have no particles seeping through into your elixir.
It’s a simple product – throw your grounds into the chamber, fill with water, and let it steep. The final product is great tasting cold brew. It’s not as clean and punchy as cold brew you’d get from something like the Filtron, however, it’s a great option for budget lovers. Here’s our full review of the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The Hario company has been superbly designed coffee brewing gear since before you were born, and the Mizudashi brewer is one of their creations. The Mizudashi includes a simple metal mesh filter that is reusable and replaces the paper filter limiting waste.
Like another cold brewer by Hario, its all-in-one design combining the brewer into the serving carafe limits the space the brewer takes up in the fridge. This means that it can easily fit into one of your racks in the fridge rather than taking a whole shelf. It’s just so damn easy to use and takes up little space.
The Yama cold drip coffee tower is a very unique and beautiful looking piece of gear, designed to slow-drip cold brew on the countertop instead of in the fridge. The all-in-one unit includes a beautiful carved wooden stand that holds the four glass components in style. The coffee, as it is extracted, will drip through a spiral glass tube and collect in a gorgeous globe shaped serving carafe that will definitely impress.
What makes this countertop brewer unique is that instead of fully immersing the coffee, the Yama Tower drips ice cold water over the grounds. This slow dripping of water gives you much more control over your brew and the strength of your coffee. You’ll also be able to watch as the coffee is brewed allowing you to increase or decrease the rate of flow for better results.
The Yama cold Brew Tower comes in two different sizes – see how they work here:
Yes – we are talking about your good ol’ French press – you can use it to make a darn good cold brew. French Press cold brew is extremely easy to create and when done right will tickle your cold-brew-fancy just right.
If you remember what we said earlier (about cold brewing and steeping) it should click: French presses are steepers too, which means they are (almost) made for cold brew. The design of the glass carafe helps to facilitate the extraction process and the plunger will also help to separate the grounds from the final extraction.
Simply follow the same procedures as you would for making a regular, hot French press. The major differences are that you’ll use room temperature water (instead of hot), you’ll steep for 4-8 hours (instead of steeping for 4 minutes), and you’ll use a coarse grind (instead of a medium-coarse grind).
We created a tutorial on making cold brew with a French Press here.
If you want cold brew fast, none of the slow steeping or dripping methods above will fit the bill. For cold brew in under an hour, you need an automatic cold brew coffee maker. Our top choice in this category is this compact design from Cuisinart.
The Cuisinart DCB-10P1 cold brewer strikes a nice balance between being affordably priced while still having some premium features. The quick brew time results from spin technology, which spins and stops the filter basket during brewing to increase the extraction rate without using any heat. The brew time dictates the coffee strength. You can choose mild (25 minutes), medium (35 minutes), or bold (45 minutes).
The 7-cup capacity glass carafe is attractive enough to use as a serving vessel for company, and it comes with a lid to keep your cold brew fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When it comes time to clean up, all removable parts of the DCB-10P1 are dishwasher safe.
Why Cold Brew? What about Ice-Coffee?
What’s the difference between cold brew and iced-coffee? Well, we are not simply talking about cold coffee here.
Unlike pouring ice over hot coffee, cold drip uses a simple steeping technique that helps highlight the natural chocolate, floral, and fruity notes inherent in coffee. Not only that, the steeping helps to reduce the bitter, stale, and watered down flavour you can get icing a hot coffee. If that’s not enough to get you excited:
Why You’ll Love Drinking CBC
It’s easy to make
Cold brew coffee makers are relatively simple to prepare and set up. Instead of learning proper pouring techniques, you simply use coarse ground coffee, add room temperature water, and let the two sit together in a cool place or refrigerator for 10- 12 hours (2).
Because of the milder brewing process, cold drip has up to 67% less acidity than regularly brewed coffee (3). For people with sensitive stomachs or heartburn, cold brew can reduce the stomach discomfort that you may experience with drinking hot brews.
Tons of Recipes
Once you know how to make cold brew, you’ve got a whole range of options for customizing and experimenting with different recipes. You can add sugar and cream for a rich morning drink. You can add sparkling water for a summer spritzer. Heck, you can even add Kahlua and make a warm after dinner cocktail, or try Kahlua iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon.
Love it or hate it… cold brew is one of the hottest things going in coffee today, and it pairs beautifully with this plucky little family of liqueurs.
Long Shelf Life
Cold brew can be refrigerated anywhere between 7-10 days after it is brewed. If you have a very busy life, having cold brew concentrate to easily and quickly pour into your morning coffee cup can really help you get a head start on the day.
Brings out the unique flavours of the bean
The way you drink your cold brew is only bound by your imagination!
Because of the science of cold water brewing compared to hot water brewing, making a batch of cold drip brings out the unique flavours of the beans. You’ll really start to notice those hints of chocolate / floral / citrus….etc. Yum!
Cold brewed coffee tastes quite different to the same coffee brewed hot, then chilled. It tastes considerably less acidic, with more ‘brown’ flavours….
But…But…Can’t I Just put my Hot Coffee in the Fridge?
For some people, having a completely different brewer to make cold brewed coffee may seem frivolous and over the top. I mean, isn’t it easier to just pour your leftover coffee into a container and shove it into the fridge? No, let’s not do that!
The reason why cold brewed coffee tastes so much better than hot coffee is because of the extraction process (4). Hot water helps to expedite the extraction process, but as it does so, it warms up the natural oils, fats, and soluble present in the coffee. This will alter the chemical composition and produce a more bitter aftertaste when cooled.
Cold brewing uses time instead of heat to extract those same fats, oils, and soluble but leaves their chemical structures relatively intact. Resulting in a coffee that is more flavourful, less acidic, and fuller bodied (5).
How to choose the best cold brew coffee maker
Treat your cold brew coffee maker like your significant other – you wouldn’t just go and pick up the first person you saw in the street would you?
You’ll need to think about YOUR needs, so consider the following 3 points before choosing:
Size: Is bigger really better?
Because you are brewing large volumes of coffee concentrate, the brewers can be somewhat large making it difficult to store during the brewing process.
Some brewers may have large circumferences that can take up a lot of area in the fridge. They can also be very tall and may not fit on a shelf in your fridge. If you are tight for space, make sure to look at brewers that have a slimmer profile, are shorter, or are all-in-one units that combine the brewer and serving carafe together.
Filters: Paper or Stainless Steel?
Some cold brew makers will use paper filters. These filters are fine to help achieve a sediment-free coffee extraction but can lead to a messy clean up if the filter is broken or spilled. Other brewers use mesh metal filters that are easy to clean, minimize waste, but do lead to extra sediment in your cup.
Does it matter? Depending on how pedantic you are – yes. Personally, I like a filter (paper only) as I can taste the brew in more depth.
Set and Forget-ness Level
Like any home brewing apparatus, there will be some technical knowledge required to use these brew methods. Some brewers will require an understanding of blooming techniques, agitation, and proper grind consistency. Others will be very easy to use. It depends on what you’re looking for.
Since you’ll be waiting up to 24 hours, like me, you may appreciate something that is simple to use. No need to complicate things.
For us, the Winner is: OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker:
With its well-built brewing chamber and easy to use dispersion lid, the Oxo brewer makes a quality tasting cold brew with little to no technical expertise. Its disposable paper filters make it super easy to clean. Finally, its manually controlled valve release will help prevent any spills or accidents over the counter.
Yes, you can use regular coffee beans for cold brew but depending on your brew method for hot coffee, you may need to rethink your grind size. Cold brew requires a coarse grind compared to a fine grind used for espresso, for example. You’re probably not going to find these types of grounds in a shop, so best to grind your beans fresh at home – as always. Choosing the best cold brew coffee grinder, of course, can affect your brewing process greatly.
The best roast for cold brew is a light roast. Cold brewing is a great way to reduce acidity; light roasted coffee is naturally acidic. By using light roast beans, you get to experience flavours you’ve never experienced, without the acidic content. Here’s a list of great beans to start cold brewing with.
Cold brew coffee is typically weaker than hot brews despite the higher ratio used to make cold brew coffee. The great news is, if you’re making your cold brew at home, you can increase the ratio to your preferred strength.
No, you cannot reuse coffee grounds for cold (any!) brew coffee. Once the flavours of the beans were extracted the first time around, there won’t be anything left worth extracting – unless you enjoy a somewhat watered down taste that once resembled a beautiful coffee flavour.
Cold brew takes 14-20 hours to steep, ideally at least 16 hours. It’s not the type of coffee you can just whip out like an espresso but it’s worthwhile investing the time into. Nothing better than having a carafe of cold brew waiting for you in the fridge on a hot summer afternoon.
- Coffee Extraction and How to Taste It. (2019, May 22). Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/coffee-extraction-and-how-to-taste-it/
- Cold Brew Bottle Brew Guide – How to Use the Cold Brew Bottle. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://bluebottlecoffee.com/us/eng/brew-guides/cold-brew-bottle
- Low Acid Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://toddycafe.com/blog/cold-brew-doesnt-suck
- Cold Brew Doesn’t Suck (n.d.) Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.baristahustle.com/knowledgebase/why-does-cold-brew-taste-different/
- Rao, N. Z., & Fuller, M. (2018, October 30). Acidity and Antioxidant Activity of Cold Brew Coffee. Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34392-w