If you are reading this article then chances are you are already sold on the idea of iced coffee. Maybe you are a regular consumer, or maybe you just understandably love the idea of cold coffee for those hot summer days. Either way, you have found yourself researching the best iced coffee maker.
And good on you! One of the great things about the present coffee culture is that you can brew coffee in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The lists of different kinds of ways to brew coffee is almost innumerable. And iced coffee is a popular favorite among the crowd.
In this article we will help you decide what is the best iced coffee maker to fit your needs and your context.
What is an Iced Coffee Maker?
So the first question worth asking is what is an iced coffee maker? And the answer is a drip or filter coffee coffee maker that is utilized for iced drinks. The basic process behind any iced coffee maker is that hot water saturates the coffee grinds and drips through onto cubes of ice which melt and thus cool the drink.
In distinction from drip coffee makers, iced coffee makers are usually single serve. So instead of brewing the coffee into a large carafe, you typically brew it into a tumbler pre-filled with ice.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee
A word you often hear tossed around by coffee lovers is cold brew. This new and hipster summer coffee has hit the coffee world by storm. So is cold brew the same thing as iced coffee? And if not what is the difference?
Cold brew and Iced coffee are similar but distinct. The main difference comes down to the brewing process. Cold Brew is typically brewed by allowing coarse coffee grinds to soak in cold water over a long period of time (12-24 hours). Iced coffee, however, is typically made over a short period of time and cooled down by the hot coffee being poured over ice cubes. Iced coffee is usually brewed extra strong since the ice cubes dilute the coffee. While iced coffee is far quicker and easier to make, it is worth noting that a batch of cold brew can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
The other major difference is that cold brew is more closely aligned with the specialty coffee movement. All that means is that cold brew is usually made with single origin beans to showcase a specific flavor profile. In contrast, iced coffee tends to attract a more popular audience and the beans used will often be a well known blend.
When it comes to taste, cold brew is richer with dark, chocolatey notes. Cold brew is very smooth with low acidity, however has a higher caffeine content than iced coffee. In comparison iced coffee has a sharper taste and more fruity notes.
In terms of coffee makers, cold brew coffee makers are typically bottles that have a basket or filter of some sort in which the coffee grinds can rest. An iced coffee maker however, as explained above, is really a small and specialized drip coffee maker that requires a power source.
Given that these drinks use such different brewing methods, you need to decide whether you are wanting an iced coffee maker or a cold brew coffee maker. In this article we will mainly be focusing on Iced coffee makers, however we have included a couple of cold brew coffee makers in our list if you have decided that is more your cup of coffee.
Automatic vs Manual Iced Coffee Maker
The next thing you will need to consider is what type of iced coffee maker you are after. As Iced coffee is made using hot coffee you can use a manual coffee maker such as a french press or pour over to make it, or you can opt for an automatic iced coffee maker. When it comes to automatic machines you will find there are a few designed specifically for iced coffee but the majority are general coffee makers with an iced coffee option. This can be a good option if you like to experiment with different brews, however if you are after a one hit wonder then it might be better to opt for a specific iced coffee maker.
Best Iced Coffee Makers
We have compiled a list of what we think are the best iced coffee makers in 2021.
Mr Coffee Iced Coffee Maker
The Mr Coffee Iced coffee maker is one of the few machines on the market that has been designed specifically for iced coffee. So if iced coffee is your thing then this may be the machine for you. This is a single serve machine that is intended for individual use rather than large batches of coffee. The machine is very simple to use. Basically you add water, add coffee, put some ice cubes in the tumbler and then push a button and it will brew a cup of iced coffee in 4 minutes. This makes it incredibly convenient for the coffee lover who often finds themselves in a rush. If you are looking for a simple machine with the single purpose of making iced coffee well then the Mr Coffee Iced coffee maker is the one for you.
Zoku Iced Coffee Maker
The Zoku iced coffee maker is more of a travel mug than an iced coffee maker per say. However, if you already have a coffee maker at home and want to brew iced coffee this may be a good option. To use it you simply place the mug in the freezer for a minimum of 8 hours then you brew your hot coffee straight into the mug. Place the lid on and insert the straw then wait for 7-8 minutes and voila! Iced coffee in a handy travel mug, ready for that daily commute. As this method doesn’t require ice it means your brew will not be diluted at all. The cup itself is well made with a stainless steel core, a colourful protective sleeve, lid and straw. The cup holds 11 oz and will fit under most coffee makers. It also comes in 4 different colors. The Zoku iced coffee maker is a great option if you are looking for a quick way to turn your favorite hot beverage into an iced one.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System
The Ninja iced coffee maker is a combination coffee maker that can make a huge range of drinks. It has 6 different brew sizes you can choose from, a strength selector, and a built in milk frother for those who love specialty drinks. The reason we have added it to this list is that it also has both an over ice option or a 10 minute cold brew option. The over ice option creates a double strength coffee designed to be brewed directly over ice perfect for those iced coffee fans. The Ninja also allows you to brew either single serve or a full carafe of coffee or tea. This is a great all-rounder coffee maker. Given the higher price we wouldn’t recommend this for someone just looking to brew iced coffee but rather the coffee lover who wants the option of iced coffee.
Cuisinart 14-cup Coffee Maker
The Cuisinart coffee maker is a basic drip coffee maker that works well. This is not designed specifically for iced coffee, however it does produce a good cup of coffee that can easily be cooled and poured over a cup of ice. The Cuisinart comes with a whole heap of features at a great price tag. To start with it has a hotplate that can be turned on or off (a great feature if you are aiming for iced coffee!). It has a brew strength control function allowing you to select regular or bold coffee. And our favorite feature is the 24 hour programmability, allowing you to set the coffee machine to turn on and brew a pot automatically. The Cuisinart is a good option if you are wanting to brew a batch of iced coffee as it can make up to 14 cups. Also if you prefer a warm cup of drip coffee in those winter months this machine will cater to your needs.
Hario V60 Iced Coffee Maker
This Hario v60 iced coffee maker is a great option for the specialty coffee lover as it can be used to brew both iced coffee or pour over coffee. The coffee maker features a pour over dripper with a 700ml carafe. The carafe has a shaft which you fill with ice. When coffee is brewed it drains onto the ice and cools immediately. Both the v60 dripper and carafe are made of borosilicate glass and are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. If you love specialty coffee this coffee maker will allow you to produce a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the summer or a warm pour over in the cooler months.
Bodum Chambord French Press
This iconic french press is likely what first comes to mind when you hear the word french press. French presses are commonly used to make iced coffee. You simply brew a batch of coffee by immersing coarsely ground coffee in hot water for around 4 minutes then press the filter down and pour your coffee over ice. If you decide to opt for a french press the Bodum Chambord is a great pick. It is made of heat resistant borosilicate glass, comes in a wide range of sizes, is aesthetically pleasing, has a stainless steel mesh, and best of all is amazingly affordable. It is reliable, deals well with regular use, and can make a really enjoyable coffee. The downside of course is that being made of glass it is breakable. If you are looking for an affordable step into iced coffee this is a good pick and it can also be used to make french press coffee as well!
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you have decided that you would rather opt for a cold brew coffee maker then the Oxo is a good place to start. It is a simple but well made coffee maker that will last the distance. It features a rainmaker top that helps distribute water evenly over the coffee grounds. It also comes with a fine mesh filter or you can easily use a paper filter instead. To brew you simply fill the upper chamber with coarsely ground coffee, pour your water through the rainmaker and leave it for 12 hours. The coffee maker has a handy brew release switch that you flip once you have finished brewing and the coffee pours out into the carafe below.
Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The Takeya Deluxe is another simple and affordable cold brew coffee maker. This maker has a beautiful but minimalistic design and is a great size to fit in your fridge door. Once again this coffee maker is simple to use, you add coarsely ground coffee into the filter, add cold water and brew it overnight. It is a bit different from the Oxo as it has a mesh filter that is removed once you have finished brewing 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. Overall this is a great option for those just beginning their foray into the world of cold brew.
The Best Iced Coffee Maker
As you can see from our list there are a huge variety of coffee makers with the ability to brew iced coffee. So what is the best iced coffee maker? Well it really comes down to what type of iced coffee maker you are looking for. If you are a specialty coffee enthusiast we would highly recommend the Hario V60 Iced coffee maker which can produce some great tasting iced coffee. If you are looking for a basic iced coffee maker, the Mr Coffee iced coffee maker is a simple machine with the single purpose of making iced coffee well. Alternatively if you are looking for a general coffee maker that has the option of iced coffee the Ninja hot and cold system is a great option.
Tips For Making The Best Coffee With An Iced Coffee Maker
So here are a few tips to make great coffee with an iced coffee maker.