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 hot coffee (we’ll tell you why shortly)
Today we will be looking at and comparing the best cold brew coffee makers on the market to help get you started. But first…
You: "Why Cold Brew? What about Ice-Coffee?"
You mean you DON'T know the difference between cold brew and iced-coffee?. Oh jesus.
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 flavor 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-brewers are relatively simple to prepare and set up. Instead of learning proper pouring techniques, you simply ground your coffee to a coarse setting, add room temperature water, and let the two sit together in a cool place or refrigerator for a long period of time.
Low-to-Zero Acidity - Because of the milder brewing process, cold drip has up to 67% less acidity than regularly brewed coffee. For people with sensitive stomachs or heartburn, cold brew reduces stomach discom1fort.
Tons of Recipes - Once the cold brew concentrate is made you’ve got a whole range of options what you can do next. 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 even try Kahlua iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon. The way you drink your cold brew is only bound by your imagination.
Long Shelf Life - Cold brew can be refrigerated anywhere between 7-14 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 - 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!
"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, YOU FOOL!
The reason why cold brewed coffee tastes so much better than hot coffee cooled coffee is because of the extraction process. 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 flavorful, less acidic, and fuller bodied.
For a more detailed conversation, check out America’s Test Kitchen scientific “inquiry” into the methods of cold brew.
3 Tips For Choosing Your Cold Brewer
Treat your cold brewer 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:
#1 - Size - Bigger is Better.....or is it?!
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 also can 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.
#2 - Filters: Paper, Metal or Both?
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 one filter (paper only) as I can taste the brew in more depth.
#3 - 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.
The 7 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers in 2018
Here's a handy lil' table giving you the summary of the best cold drip brewers on the market. If one tickles your fancy, click the red button to read up on it, or, the text link to be taken to a place to see the price and buy.
COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
AMOUNT PER BREW
Makes Big Batches of High Quality Brew
Makes Big Batches of High Quality Brew
Enjoy smooth, low-acid hot or Iced coffee
Cheap and easy to use
Beautifully designed + makes super high quality brew
Chambord French Press
You Already Have one
Cheap and easy
Use with a 1L-to-4L mason jar
Nothing is certain in life – apart from the face that choosing a cold brewer for the first time will confuse the f**k out of you. Take a look at one of the following recommend brewers for all your cold-brew needs:
1. The Filtron Cold Brewer
The Filtron cold brewer is one of the most popular cold brewers on the market. You won’t be wowing your visitors with aesthetics (they obviously cut their design team out of the picture) but what it lacks in design it makes up for in function (and a quality brew)
Both a wool and paper filter as well as a grounds guard disc that greatly reduces the amount of sediment and grit in the final extraction. The finer filtering also helps to really highlight and show off more muted flavors in the coffee – meaning you get a super clean cold brew in the end, which is all that matters.
Just make sure you can fit it into your fridge while brewing – at 7.7 inches high and 7 Inches wide (for brewing), you may struggle (we did)
- Hands off approach - lets the brewer do all the steeping and extraction.
- Serving carafe is made of polycarbonate so its indestructible and doesn’t retain any odors.
- Added security of filters and guards make the final product silky smooth.
- Easy to brew BIG batches of strong concentrate (lasts longer)
- Has a lot of components that need to be properly attached or risk the chance of a leaking brewer.
- Takes 12 hours minimum to brew (16 hours for best results)
- Not suited for smaller brews (its a large batch, or nothing)
2. The Toddy T2N Cold Brewer
Similar to the Filtron (in more than one area), the Toddy T2N Cold brewer uses a two-part wool and paper filter for a sediment free concentrate.
What separates the Toddy from the Filtron, however, is that the Toddy’s patented Wool fiber filter is thicker and more durable so it acts as both a grounds guard and filtration device. This means that the Toddy has been simplified and is easier to put together, take apart, and clean.
So what’s the real difference between the Toddy and the Filtron? Not much, really. The Toddy brand was one of the first, so people tend to trust it more, however either are great options.
- Easy to prepare, brew, and clean.
- Patented wool filters are reusable and help reduce sediment - it will be super clean
- Toddy includes tons of resources including FAQ’s, drink recipes, and tips on their website (although anyone can view this)
- Good for brewing big batches like the filtron
- Brewer can be messy to clean up without purchasing additional paper filters.
- Detachable rubber plug at the bottom of brewer can leak if not properly inserted
- Like the Filtron - this is a batch brewer so its not so great if you just want a few cups of cold brew
3. The OXO Good Grips Cold Brewer
The Oxo Good Grips Coffee Maker 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.
Our favorite 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 skillfully unplug the brewer and aim it into the decanter, like you would with the above brewers)
- Rainmaker extraction lid helps extract more uniformly resulting in better flavor.
- Smaller size allows you to make enough cold brew for one person.
- Design - doesn’t take up too much space and you won’t be embarrassed to have it on your kitchen counter.
- Built entirely from plastic, which has a tendency to stain and retain flavors
- 14 inches tall when fully assembled, one of the tallest brewers available.
- Can't make huge batches in one go like the Filtron or Toddy brewers.
4. The Hario Mizudashi Brewer
The Hario company has been superbly designed coffee brewing gear since before you were born, and the Mizudashi cold brewer is no different. The Mizudashi includes a simple metal mesh filter that is reusable and replaces the paper filter limiting waste.
The 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 – but don’t take our word for it. If you don’t believe how easy this brewer is to use check out their video below.
- Comes in two sizes, 600ml or 1000ml, for single or multiple servings
- Unit takes up little space and stands at 8 inches for the smaller version and 11.5 inches for the larger unit.
- Glass carafe eliminates absorption of old stale flavors you may get from plastic
- Can be used to make ice tea too.
- Mesh metal filter will produce some sediment in final extraction.
- Serving carafe is fragile.
- Unable to make large batches like Toddy or Filtron brewers.
5. The Yama Cold Brew Tower
The Yama cold drip coffee tower is a very unique and beautiful looking piece of gear, designed to brew coffee 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.
- It looks super sexy on your kitchen benchtop!
- It brews in 6-8 hours which is relatively fast for cold drip ice coffee
- Not cheap at all
- Its a fussy way to make cold brew if you just want damn cold brew!
The Yama cold Brew Tower comes in two different sizes – see how they work here:
6. A French Press (The Glass Bodum French Press Will Do)
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 steeper’s 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-course grind)
7. The Freedom Brew Cold Brew Sock/Filter
Ok - you want a quick, easy and cheap way to make some mouth watering cold drip coffee but you don't have a french press lying around. What do you do?
Get a mason jar (32 ounce, 64 ounce or 1 gallon) and use a cold brew sock. This isn't a spare sock you have no use for, you need something made for making cold brew.
The freedom brew sock is a great choice for DIY cold brew. Its 100% free of nasties like BPA plastic, and its MADE for cold brew, meaning you'll have no particles seeping through into your elixer.
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 its a great option for the budget lovers
- Cheap cheap CHEAP
- Take it anywhere, its small.
- It works!
- You still need a mason jar or some way to brew
- Other brewers on this list make a better cold brew
THE VERDICT - Which Brewer Should You Choose?
For us, the Winner is:
WINNER: THE OXO GOOD GRIPS COLD BREWER
Ease Of Use
Cold Brew Quality`
Here's Why: 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. It’s disposable paper filters make it easy to clean and its manually controlled valve release will help prevent any spills or accidents over the counter.
Functionally, to minimize shelf space, it’s designed to nest within itself when not in use.
And that’s the 7 best cold brew coffee makers, in our honest opinion. What do you think, have you got a ninja cold brewer that we missed? Leave a comment below, or head back to our homepage.
Just a quick little hack - if you don't want to invest in a cold brewer before trying cold brew, you can always make
Now that you have your cold drip coffee maker - get creative! Check out these cold drip coffee recipes that will change the way your drink coffee.