A great cup of cold brew coffee can make your day, and thanks to cold brew coffee makers, you can make cold brew right in the comfort of your own home. Cold brew lacks the acidity and bitterness of traditional coffee, making it a popular choice with more and more coffee drinkers. But a good cup of cold brew coffee starts with the right concentrate, and that’s where the cold brew coffee maker comes in.
Cold brew coffee makers simplify the brewing process and take care of most of the work for you. You’ll find these coffee makers in designs ranging from the simple to the complex, and their prices will vary, too. To help you choose the right coffee maker for your needs, we’ve highlighted the best coffee makers we found, and we’ve also provided some tips to help you evaluate the coffee makers that you might come across. Plus, we’ve included some helpful information on how to make cold brew coffee to help you get started.
Read on to learn what to look for in a cold brew coffee maker, and see our top picks below.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: OXO BREW Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best Budget: Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
- Easiest to Use: Toddy Cold Brew System
- Best for Big Batches: County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker
The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers: Our Top Picks
Best Overall: OXO BREW Cold Brew Coffee Maker
OXO BREW Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Well-designed down to every detail, the OXO BREW is our top cold brew coffee maker.
Why We Picked It
With its well-executed design, the OXO Brew Cold Brew Coffee Maker is easy to operate and ideal for any home setting. This coffee maker takes up minimal space on the counter, and all of its elements nest within the base for compact storage when not in use. Its four-cup capacity is plenty large for most families, and the brew release switch means you can stop and start the filtration process with a single touch.
This coffee maker features a Rainmaker top designed to evenly distribute water over all of the coffee grounds for maximum flavor. The BPA-free carafe features convenient measurements and can be placed directly into the fridge for storage. Easy to use, this coffee maker creates quality coffee concentrate that can be used not only for cold coffee, but also for hot.
Keep in Mind
Some purchasers found that the grounds could jam up the coffee maker, so it’s important to use the recommended filters and use only course grounds with this unit.
In a Nutshell
- Simple, easy-to-use coffee maker
- All pieces easily disassemble and stack inside the base for compact storage
- Coffee concentrate can be used for both cold and hot coffee
Best Budget: Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
The Takeya provides excellent value, making your cold brew habit even more affordable.
Why We Picked It
The Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker couldn’t be easier to use. Just fill the infuser, add water to the pitcher, seal the lid, shake, and let the coffee maker go to work. The coffee maker is leak-proof, so you can shake it and even store it on its side without worry. The filter and infuser can be used with any ground coffee, so you can experiment with different brews until you find your favorite. The pitcher is made of BPA-free Tritan, making it durable, dishwasher safe, shatterproof, and stain, cloud, and odor proof. This coffee maker brews up to four servings at a time.
Keep in Mind
The diffuser can become loose during enthusiastic shaking, so double-check it and tighten it, if necessary, before putting the coffee maker back in your fridge.
In a Nutshell
- Easy-to-use design pairs well with any type of coffee ground
- Pitcher is BPA-free and dishwasher safe
- Coffee maker is leak-proof and can be stored on its side to save space in your fridge
Easiest to Use: Toddy Cold Brew System
Toddy Cold Brew System
This basic but widely-loved cold brew coffee maker is super simple to use.
Why We Picked It
The Toddy Cold Brew System isn’t necessarily fancy, but it’s popular because it simplifies the cold brewing process. You’ll start by steeping the grounds in the water for the recommended amount of time, then position the unit on top of the carafe to filter out the grounds from the concentrate. Reusable felt filters eliminate the need to buy (and dispose of) single-use filters, and a recipe guide is included with the system to help you get started. You can use the concentrate for up to three weeks after brewing, and can create both cold and hot coffee from the concentrate.
This set is backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Keep in Mind
The felt filters are somewhat costly to replace, but thoroughly cleaning the filters between each use can extend their lifespan.
In a Nutshell
- Simple, easy brewing process
- Reusable felt filters mean you don’t have to buy single-use filters
- One-year manufacturer’s warranty
Best for Big Batches: County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker
County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker
Make cold brew coffee for the whole family with this two-quart capacity cold brew maker.
Why We Picked It
Brew up to two quarts of cold brew coffee at a time with the County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker. Rather than rely on a complicated, multi-part system, this coffee maker takes a more simplistic, but equally effective approach. Brewing is as easy as placing coffee grounds inside the filter and screwing the filter into the jar. With the jar’s generous size, you can brew up to two quarts of coffee at a time, but the measurements on the side of the jar make it easy to adjust for smaller batches, too.
The use of a Ball mason jar lends durability and safety to this coffee maker. The strainer is made of stainless steel, and its heavy-duty mesh is built to last.
Keep in Mind
If you love super-strong coffee, you may not be able to fit enough grounds into the filter for the strong brew that you’re used to. This product is just right if you like typical strength or milder brews.
In a Nutshell
- Brew up to two quarts of cold brew coffee
- Simple, easy-to-use brewing system
- Durable strainer with no need for additional filters
How We Chose the Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
When reviewing the best cold brew coffee makers, we considered multiple factors affecting each coffee maker’s performance, value, and quality.
Cold brew coffee makers are available as immersion and as slow drip models. We opted to focus on immersion models, because slow drip is a more involved, slower process. Immersion creates a concentrate which can be used in many different ways, making these coffee makers versatile and time-saving options.
We also considered the quality of the filter included with each coffee maker, or the filters recommended to use with the product. Better, finer filters lead to better-tasting coffee without grit. Filters becoming clogged is often a problem with cold brew coffee makers, so we chose products that were designed to avoid this issue, such as by coming with a reusable stainless steel filter or by including multi-use, durable filters.
Ease of Use
When ranking the best coffee makers, we also carefully considered how easily each product is to use. We looked for those with instructions that were easy to follow, but we also considered the product’s design. The coffee makers we chose are easy to assemble and disassemble, are designed to be simple to operate, and are also easy to clean—some are even dishwasher-safe. The products are well-designed, fit together securely, are compact, and can be easily stored away. Most also allow you to pop the carafe directly into the fridge, saving you the additional step of transferring the concentrate into a storage container.
To choose the best products, we weighed their price against their performance and durability. Rather than just choosing the most affordable coffee makers, we’ve chosen a selection of products at different price points, but in each case we feel the product’s quality justifies its price.
The customer always knows best, and that’s why we also weighed customer reviews of each coffee maker before adding it to our list. The final products included in this review have all received largely positive reviews from the customers who bought and use the coffee makers daily. We looked for consistently positive feedback. While every product will receive some negative reviews, we made sure that any negative reviews didn’t outline concerning aspects or flaws in these products.
What is a Cold Brew Coffee Maker?
Cold brew coffee is a growing trend, and for good reason. This coffee is steeped in room-temperature water, rather than being brewed hot. Usually, cold brew steeps for at least 12 hours, and some people prefer to steep it for as many as 24 or 36 hours. Once steeped, the grounds are filtered out of the mixture, resulting in a coffee concentrate.
Cold brew coffee offers an advantage over traditional coffee because it’s never heated. During the heating process, acids and oils are released from the beans, and these create a bitter taste. Some coffee drinkers find cold brew coffee much more enjoyable because of the lack of bitterness, and coffee drinkers who have sensitive stomachs may be able to better tolerate cold brew than traditionally brewed coffee.
Iced coffee and cold brew are sometimes confused, but they’re made in two different ways. Iced coffee is brewed hot, then poured over ice to cool it down. This means that iced coffee still has the bitter taste and acids that result from hot brewing. Cold brew is never heated, but the resulting concentrate can be poured over ice for an iced coffee, or it can be mixed with milk or water and heated for a hot cup of coffee.
Cold brew coffee makers are designed to support this brewing process. Full immersion coffee makers feature a container to steep the coffee and grounds in, as well as a way to filter the grounds out of the concentrate once the steeping process is complete. Slow drip coffee makers are designed to simultaneously drip water through grounds and filter out the grounds from the resulting concentrate.
Types of Cold Brew Coffee Makers
There are two main ways to make cold brew coffee: Immersion and slow drip. The coffee makers for each method feature slightly different design, and each option offers different benefits. We focused on including immersion coffee makers in our picks because they are easy and simple to use, and because they create a better quality concentrate.
- Immersion: Immersion-brewed cold brew coffee is created by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room-temperature water for an extended period of time, sometimes up to 24 or 36 hours. After the steeping is complete, the concentrate is filtered to remove any grounds. The resulting concentrate is generally stronger than full drip, and it tends to have more body.
- Slow Drip: A slow drip cold brew maker is designed to gradually drip cold water through coffee grounds and a filter underneath. Slow drip results in a weaker concentrate that is lighter and sweeter.
Some people prefer one type of brew over the other, but if you’re looking for a full-bodied, flavorful concentration, immersion brewing is the way to go.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cold Brew Coffee Maker
When choosing a cold brew coffee maker, you’ll want to consider multiple factors to find the product that’s best for your needs and budget. Use the following factors to evaluate any coffee maker that you’re considering:
Some coffee drinkers prefer immersion-brewed coffee over slow drip coffee because of the difference in taste. Your personal preferences may affect which type of coffee maker is right for your needs. Keep in mind that slow drip coffee brewing tends to take longer and is a more involved process, while immersion brewing is more of a hands-off process.
When it comes to cold brew coffee makers, simpler tends to be better, but some coffee makers with a more involved design may appeal to you. The most basic cold brew coffee maker features a simple jar and a filter that you insert directly into the jar. More complicated models feature tiered structures with filters that you attach later on in the process after the coffee has steeped, but these units tend to be larger and more cumbersome. From the basic to the complicated, you can find a coffee maker in a variety of designs.
Your first instinct might be to find the largest cold brew coffee maker that you can find, but large brewers will take up extra counter space and might not be necessary. Most coffee brewers can brew at least four cups of coffee concentrate at a time, and that brew typically lasts for up to two weeks when kept in the fridge. It’s also important to remember that coffee concentrate is stronger than regular coffee and meant to be mixed with water, so it should last longer. Consider how much coffee you drink when determining the size brewer that you’ll need.
Every coffee maker will need some sort of filter. Some coffee makers come equipped with reusable metal filters, while others rely on you to purchase filters. Paper filters can be expensive, and they’re messy to use and dispose of. Reusable filters, like felt filters, can be used for about 10 times each, but require some care and cleaning in between uses.
One major benefit of cold brew coffee is that these coffee makers are affordable, and even the most basic coffee maker can still be effective. A more expensive model isn’t always better, and your cold brew coffee maker shouldn’t break the bank. Be sure to budget for the cost of filters when deciding which coffee maker to buy.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
To get the best results from your cold brew coffee, use the following tips:
- Use coarsely ground coffee only. Grind each batch of coffee fresh, and keep the grounds coarse, which can help to keep the concentrate from getting bitter. If you grind the coffee up too finely, coffee grounds may be able to get through some of the filters, leaving you with grounds in your concentrate.
- Use the right grounds-to-water ratio. A ratio of one ounce of coffee grounds per one cup of water is a good place to start, but the exact measurements can vary depending on the coffee maker that you’re using. Experiment a little bit to find the concentration that you like the best.
- Give your coffee plenty of time to steep. When it comes to immersion cold brew coffee, longer is better, and it gives the coffee its body and flavor. Plan to let your coffee concentrate steep for at least 24 hours for the best results.
- Strain carefully. Depending on the coffee maker that you’re using, you’ll strain your concentrate in any number of different ways. Follow the directions carefully and only use the type of filters that the manufacturer recommends.
- Store the concentrate in your fridge. Cold brew coffee concentrate will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, and some coffee makers feature carafes that you can put directly into the fridge for convenience. When it comes to making a perfect cup of coffee, you’ll need to experiment. Cold brew concentrate is typically mixed with water, so experiment to see what ratio you like. You can also use cold brew concentrate to make hot or cold coffee, and adding sugar and milk will change the taste to suit your preferences. Some coffee makers come with a book of recipes for you to try, too.
Making cold brew coffee can take a bit of trial-and-error before you touch on that perfect combination of concentration strength, milk, and sugar, but it’s well worth the time and effort when you can enjoy a great cup of cold brew coffee that you’ve made yourself.
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