The simple reality is that on some hot days you just don’t feel like a hot coffee. It’s a catch-22. You love coffee and feel like a coffee, but are already too hot and know that a hot drink will only make it worse. So what do you do? And the answer is a brilliant invention called cold brew. Cold Brew, as the name suggests, is an ice cold coffee that is usually drunk black and goes down like a treat on those hot summer days.
In this article we will review the best Cold Brew coffee makers that are affordable and can make delicious ice cold coffee.
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The Oxo Cold Brew is a sleek brewer capable of producing a high-quality coffee concentrate. Oxo has included several features to simplify the brewing process, including a brew release switch and rainmaker lid. The Oxo is an excellent brewer for the cold brew lover, albeit on the pricier side.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Contrary to popular belief, cold brew coffee is not just your leftover coffee that you have cooled in the fridge. Cold brewing involves leaving coarse coffee grinds in cold water for an extended period of time (usually 12-24 hours). This produces a smoother, less acidic brew that highlights the fruity, floral notes of coffee and reduces the bitterness.
Most cold brew coffee makers produce a highly concentrated brew, which is usually diluted with water, milk or ice for an iced coffee. We don’t recommend drinking it straight unless you want to be bouncing off the walls! Cold brew coffee can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, so it is perfect to pull out when those unexpected guests arrive.
Why not just put hot coffee in the fridge?
When you brew a coffee with hot water it speeds up the extraction process, but also alters the chemical composition of coffee. This leaves a bitter aftertaste that is more pronounced when the coffee cools. In comparison, cold brew uses time instead of heat to extract flavors and oils from the coffee, but leaves the chemical structures intact, leading to a fuller-bodied coffee that is less bitter and acidic. The low acidity makes this a great option for those who struggle with heartburn! As a side note, iced coffee is made by cooling hot brewed coffee over ice. Iced coffee has a very different flavor profile to cold brew coffee. See our article on cold brew vs iced coffee for the differences between these brewing methods.
What are the different types of cold brew coffee makers?
When it comes to cold brew coffee makers there are basically two types of cold brewing methods; Immersion or Drip.
This is the most common cold brewing method. It is a very simple, forgiving method and can produce a delicious full bodied brew, perfect over ice. This method involves immersing coarsely ground coffee in water for an extended period of time, to extract all the flavors and oils. If you store the mixture in the fridge when brewing, the coffee will require more time to produce a strong flavor, compared to storing it on the kitchen counter.
Once the coffee is brewed you simply filter the coffee grounds out of the coffee. This can be done using either a metal or paper filter. A metal filter will produce a more oily body, whereas a paper filter will produce a cleaner cup. This method will produce a very concentrated brew that needs to be diluted.
The slow drip cold brew method is a bit more hands on, but also more convenient in that you can have a cup of coffee in 3-5 hours as opposed to 12-24 hours! In this method ice cold water is dripped through a bed of coarsely ground coffee. The water slowly makes its way through the coffee absorbing the flavors and falls through a filter into a carafe.
Coffee produced through a drip maker tends to be less concentrated and a lighter and brighter brew. These cold brew makers tend to be beautiful to watch, but are a lot more expensive and complicated to use.
Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Oxo Cold Brew- Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The Oxo Cold Brew is our top pick for a cold brew coffee maker. It is a sturdy, well made brewer that will last the distance. It features a rainmaker top that helps distribute water evenly over the coffee grounds. It also comes with a built-in fine mesh filter or you can use a paper filter instead. But perhaps its standout feature is the brew release switch you flip once you have finished brewing to drain the cold brew concentrate directly into the glass carafe. These handy features put it a step above other similarly priced cold brew coffee makers.
The Oxo Cold Brew produces a strong and flavorful concentrate. It yields around 24 ounces of concentrate, which isn’t as much as some brewers on this list, but should be sufficient for most households. See our full review here.
Toddy Cold Brew System- Large Capacity
The Toddy Cold Brew coffee maker is a well-known name in the coffee scene, having been around for years. It is a basic cold brew system, consisting of a large plastic brewing container with a handle (essentially a bucket), a rubber stopper and a glass decanter.
The Toddy Cold Brew System is really distinguished by the unique felt filter it utilizes. The filter is effective at producing a smooth, rich and full-bodied coffee. The other key feature of this brewer is its large capacity. The Toddy yields around 36 ounces of coffee concentrate which translates to around 14 cups of coffee.
It is very similar to the Oxo Cold Brew coffee maker, however it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. This is a great option for someone wanting a large capacity cold brew maker. See our comprehensive review here.
Takeya Cold Brew- Best Value for Money
The Takeya Cold Brew coffee maker is a great entry-level option. This cold brew coffee maker has a simple design and is a great size to fit in your fridge door. It is a bit different from the Oxo and Toddy as it has a fine mesh filter that is removed, rather than a plug or valve that releases the brew.
The coffee produced is a fair bit weaker, however some users have found by shaking the bottle for 30 seconds before placing it in the fridge you can get a stronger concentrate. The Takeya cold brew coffee maker comes in two different sizes; 1 or 2 quarts, which yields 4 or 8 cups respectively.
Overall, the Takeya is a very affordable coffee maker and is a good option for those just beginning their foray into the world of cold brew. It can also be used to brew iced tea as well. However, if you are willing to spend a few extra bucks, we would recommend investing in a coffee maker that produces a higher quality brew.
Hario Mizudashi- Best compact maker
The Hario Mizudashi cold brew maker has a very similar design to the Takeya, with the main difference being that it is made of glass rather than plastic. The glass carafe helps eliminate the absorption of flavors. It has a sleek and compact design that will easily fit in your fridge door.
The Hario Mizudashi brews around 4 cups of coffee. Like the Takeya it produces a weaker concentrate brew. This is a great option for someone looking for a better quality, but still affordable coffee maker.
Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew- Best for a quick fix
The Cuisinart cold brew coffee maker is a bit unique in that it can brew a batch of cold brew in 25 – 45 minutes! The machine speeds up the brewing process with a spinning chamber that agitates the coffee and water. It has 3 different strengths: Mild (25 min), Medium (35 min) or Bold (45 min).
The Cuisinart cold brew coffee maker brews 7 cups of coffee at a time. While the machine is easy to use, some users have found the cold brew produced is not as good as traditional brewers. We think this is a great option for someone who wants a quick hit.
Yama Cold Brew Tower- Best for the coffee aficionado
The Yama Tower is a stunning brewer that will complement any benchtop. It features a carved wooden stand holding the glass components. This is a cold drip brewer rather than an immersion brewer.
It drips ice cold water over grounds instead of immersing them. This allows the barista more control over the strength of the coffee. It is able to brew a batch of delicious cold brew in 6-8 hours. The Yama Tower makes around 6-8 cups of cold brew at a time. This is what every coffee fanatic would dream of having on their bench top!
What to look for in a Cold Brew Coffee Maker
How many cups of cold brew are you wanting to make? Since it takes so long to brew, you want to make enough cold brew to last a while. Consider what capacity you need to cater to your household.
Ease of use
Are you looking for a cold brew coffee maker that is simple to use and whips up a quick batch of cold brew or are you wanting to be more involved in the brewing process? Immersion brewers are great if you are looking for a quick and easy method, whereas the drip brewers are better for the coffee aficionado looking for a more hands on coffee maker.
How durable is the cold brew coffee maker? Is it made of glass or plastic? Will it stand up to years of use?
Size of Cold brew coffee Maker
How big is the actual cold brew maker? Is it going to take up a lot of counter space when brewing? Will the carafe fit in your refrigerator? If you are tight for space, look for a brewer that could fit in your fridge door.
What type of filters does it use?
Do you prefer felt, metal, paper filters? Metal filters allow more of the coffee oils to pass through, whereas paper filters produce a cleaner cup. The felt filter employed by the Toddy cold brew system produces a very smooth coffee that users swear by.
How do you make Cold Brew Coffee?
The Cold Brew process is very straightforward, and most people have the equipment required to try it sitting in their kitchen right now. It doesn’t involve any complex pouring techniques or fiddling with grind sizes. Basically, you take coarsely ground coffee, add water and leave to sit for 12-24 hours. Once it has finished brewing, you sieve out the coffee grounds and voila- cold brew coffee for the whole family!
If you are keen to try it, you can start by using a mason jar or repurposing that old French press sitting in the cupboard and filter the coffee through some cheese cloth or a paper filter before drinking! For the cold brew coffee lovers, we would recommend investing in a cold brew coffee maker, as it does simplify the brewing process.
Recipe for Cold Brew coffee
- Use 1 part coffee to 4-5 parts water.
- Wet the coffee grinds, wait for the bloom, then pour in the rest of the water.
- Leave for 12 hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the fridge.
- Once it has finished brewing, filter the coffee (if still gritty you may want to try using paper filters).
- Voila- a cold brewed coffee! Refrigerate for up to two weeks.
- Serve over ice for an iced coffee or dilute with water/milk for a delicious coffee.
Verdict- The Best Cold brew Coffee Maker
Well we hope this article has helped you figure out which cold brew coffee maker might be right for you. As you can see there are a ton of cold brewers available. We recommend the Oxo cold brew maker if you are looking for a quality, durable maker that will produce a great brew. Alternatively, the Toddy Cold Brew coffee maker is a timeless brewer, capable of making delicious cold brew in large batches.
Tips for brewing cold brew
Here are a few tips for brewing delicious cold brew: