- The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker 2020 (top picks + buying guide)
- Why Cold Brew? What about Ice-Coffee?
- Why You’ll Love Drinking CBC
- But…But…Can’t I Just put my Hot Coffee in the Fridge?
- How to choose the best cold brew coffee maker
- The 7 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
- 1. Filtron Cold Brew System – best batch brewer
- 2. Toddy Cold Brew System – runner up, best batch brewer
- 3. OXO Good Grips Brewer – best overall
- 4. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brewing System – easiest to use
- 5. The Yama Cold Brew Tower – for true cold drip fanatics
- 6. Use A French Press
- 7. Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker – budget pick
- THE VERDICT – Which Brewer Should You Choose?
- The best cold-brew coffee makers of 2020
- Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Dash Rapid Cold Brew System
- Espro Press P5
- Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer
- Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Toddy Cold Brew System
- Toddy Home Cold Brew System
- How do cold brew coffee makers work?
- Do I need to buy special cold brew coffee beans?
- How long can I store a cold brew concentrate?
- How to buy a cold brew coffee maker
The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker 2020 (top picks + 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. But first…
The OXO Good Grips
2020s most popular cold brew coffee maker, for good reason.
– Patented Rainmaker coffee extraction lid. (even extraction for better flavour)
– Up to 14 Cups of Cold Brew from One Carafe.
– Automatically stops filtering when carafe is removed.
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 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 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 (1).
Because of the milder brewing process, cold drip has up to 67% less acidity than regularly brewed coffee (2). 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 the cold brew concentrate is made you’ve got a whole range of options for amazing recipes you can make 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 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 cooled coffee is because of the extraction process (3). 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 (4).
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.
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.
||Filtron Cold Brewer||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||Toddy T2N Cold Brewer||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||OXO Good Grips Cold Brewer||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||Hario Mizudashi Brewer||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||Yama Cold Brew Tower||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||Bodum French Press||
||CHECK PRICE →|
||Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker||
||CHECK PRICE →|
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:
1. Filtron Cold Brew System – best batch brewer
Things we liked
- Hands off: brewer steeps and extracts
- Serving carafe is indestructible and doesn’t retain odors.
- Filter system make the final product silky smooth.
- Brew BIG batches of strong concentrate (#1 choice of coffee shops)
Things we didn’t like
- In terms of aesthetics, it leaves a lot to be desired.
- Not suited for smaller brews (its a large batch, or nothing).
- You may have trouble fitting it in your fridge (while steeping)
The Filtron is one of the most popular 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 quality brew).
Both a wool and paper reusable 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).
Read our full review of the Filtron here.
2. Toddy Cold Brew System – runner up, best batch brewer
Things we liked
- Easy to prepare, brew, and clean.
- Patented wool filters are reusable and help reduce sediment
- Great for batch brewing
Things we didn’t like
- Messy clean up without purchasing additional paper filters.
- Detachable rubber plug at the bottom of brewer can leak if not properly inserted.
- Like the Filtron – not great if you just want a few cups of cold brew.
Similar to the Filtron, the Toddy T2N brewer uses a two-part wool and paper reusable filter for a sediment free concentrate. What separates this drip maker from the Filtron, however, is that the patented fine-mesh wool fiber 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.
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.
Read our full review of the Toddy here.
3. OXO Good Grips Brewer – best overall
Things we liked
- Rainmaker extraction lid helps uniform extraction
- Smaller size allows you to make enough cold brew for one person.
- Minimal, small footprint design
Things we didn’t like
- Built entirely from plastic, which has a tendency to stain and retain flavors.
- 14 inches tall when fully assembled
- Can’t make large batches of cold brew
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 (5).
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).
Read our full review of the OXO good grips cold drip system here.
4. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brewing System – easiest to use
Things we liked
- Comes in two sizes (600ml or 1000ml)
- Takes up little space
- Glass carafe eliminates absorption of old stale flavors you may get from plastic.
- Can be used to make ice tea too.
Things we didn’t like
- Mesh metal filter will produce some sediment in final extraction.
- Serving carafe is fragile.
- Unable to make large batches like Toddy or Filtron brewers.
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.
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.
Read our full review of the Hario cold drip maker here.
5. The Yama Cold Brew Tower – for true cold drip fanatics
Things we liked
- Looks sexy on your kitchen bench top!
- Brews in 6-8 hours (relatively fast for cold drip ice coffee)
Things we didn’t like
- A little over the top if you just want cold brew
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:
6. Use A French Press
Things we liked
- Ease of use: follows the same recipe for brewing regular coffee.
- Easy to clean up
- You already have one
Things we didn’t like
- MAY leave a large amount of sediment in the coffee (if you use a shitty press).
- Without proper airtight lid, coffee may gain some funky fridge flavors.
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).
We created a tutorial on making cold brew with a French Press here.
7. Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker – budget pick
Things we liked
- Simple to use
Things we didn’t like
- Other brewers on this list make a better cold brew
- Only makes small batches
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 its MADE for cold brew, meaning you’ll have no particles seeping through into your elixer.
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 its a great option for the budget lovers.
THE VERDICT – Which Brewer Should You Choose?
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. 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 there you have it – the top picks!
Can you use regular coffee for cold brew?
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.
What roast is best for cold brew?
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 flavors you’ve never experienced, without the acidic content. Heres a list of great beans to start cold brewing with.
Is cold brew stronger?
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.
Can you reuse coffee grounds for cold brew?
No, you cannot reuse coffee grounds for cold (any!) brew coffee. Once the flavors 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 flavor.
How long does cold brew take?
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.
The best cold-brew coffee makers of 2020
The Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
Cold-brew coffee is strong, sweet, packed with flavor and much less acidic-tasting than regular hot or iced coffee. Those are just a few reasons why this delicious drink is so hard to resist. Your local coffee shop and restaurants know that too. They’ll try to tempt you into paying exorbitant prices for it. Don’t give into them. Making cold-brew coffee can be as easy as adding room-temperature water or colder water (not hot water) to ground coffee and letting it steep. Thanks to a growing number of home cold brewers, you can whip up a batch of your own kitchen cold brew in style. It’s way better than a traditional coffee pot.
Read More: Best coffee makers | Best gifts for foodies | Want to buy a cold brew coffee maker? Here’s what you need to know | Best gifts for coffee lovers | The best coffee grinders you can buy right now | The best espresso machines for 2020
Some gadgets even create cold brew in a fraction of the time it usually takes. The $109 Gourmia Cold Brew and $129 Dash Rapid are excellent examples. Both countertop machines complete the process in minutes, not hours.
And if you’d rather not spend that much, there are plenty of cheaper, yet just as durable, alternatives. Oxo’s $49 cold brewer is affordable and easy to operate, and makes excellent cold brewed coffee concentrate. Likewise, the $24 Takeya and $30 Bialetti pitchers also have prices that are easy to swallow. Traditional cold brewers like those require at least 12 hours to produce their beverages, but devotees will tell you the stuff is worth the wait.
And, no matter how you prefer your chilled coffee — beans or grounds, ultraconcentrated, ready yesterday or with minimal hassle — we’ve got the best cold brewed coffee maker here that’ll fit your needs perfectly (and won’t get you into hot water).
Read more: How to make the best cold-brew coffee | Coffee accessories you never knew you needed
Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Made to live in your fridge, the affordable Bialetti Cold Brew pitcher can pour directly into glasses. Its internal stainless steel mesh filter basket has a wide mouth that accepts the coffee grinds without making a mess, and the airtight lid keeps the taste fresh. The concentrated brew it makes is also strong, rich and packed with a pleasant coffee taste. The main drawback with this brewer is you need to drain its filter into the carafe by hand.
Read CNET’s full review of the Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The Dash Rapid Cold Brew System.
Dash Rapid Cold Brew System
The $129 Dash Rapid is part of a new wave of fast cold brewed coffee makers. It uses an electric pump to create internal vacuum pressure. This pressure causes water to circulate between a glass carafe, through coffee grounds within a filter chamber and back. The machine runs the loop continuously during the brewing process. Afterwards, in as little as 5 minutes, coffee brewed returns to the Dash’s carafe. As cold brewed coffee goes, what the Dash makes has a bit of a weak taste. That said, it’s drinkable and fits the bill if speed is your priority.
Read more about the Dash Rapid Cold Brew System.
The Espro Press P5.
Read more: What are the best beans to use for cold brew coffee?
Espro Press P5
One tried-and-true cold brew method for making cold brew is to use a French press, with the coffee steeping overnight. One drawback to these simple contraptions though is they tend to have poor filters. The result is often a gritty drink — solid coffee grounds suspended in a water solution, especially if you don’t have a coarse grind for your coffee beans. The $60 Espro Press P5 tackles the gritty coffee grounds problem by using two stainless steel mesh filter baskets. The extra level of filtration helps the P5 create cold brew (or hot) that’s wonderfully smooth and flavorful. However, the beverage the Espro brews isn’t as concentrated as what other products make. Another detractor is the Espro’s price. It costs twice as much as an ordinary French press.
Read CNET’s full review of the Espro Press P5.
The Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer.
Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer
Looking for an affordable way to make cold brew in big batches? The $40 Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer creates a full 36-ounce carafe of potent coffee concentrate that you can store in your fridge. Rich and tasty, the coffee concentrate you pour from the Filtron is of excellent quality. Just be warned: Its relatively complicated setup and large size demand lots of counter space.
Read CNET’s full review of the Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer.
The Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
Read more: Make fantastic coffee with this pour-over coffee maker
Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Need your tall glass of cold brew fast? Then the $109 Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker is right up your alley. The vacuum pump-powered electric appliance can brew your beverage in 4 minutes flat. That’s a ridiculously short time to create and pour cold brew in, but as you might expect, the taste of those 4-minute brews is weak. Fortunately, maxing the brew time out to 15 minutes produces a much stronger drink. And that’s still not long to wait compared with the 12 hours of steeping that cold brewing usually takes.
Read CNET’s full review of the Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
A breeze to operate, the $49 Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker offers an easy path to steeping and straining grounds at room temperature. The cold brew the Oxo Good Grips makes is consistently strong, sweet and with deliciously low acidity. To add an additional layer of filtration, Oxo Good Grips bundles paper filters that can aid the brewer’s stainless steel mesh reusable filter. If you want to make hot tea, the Good Grips can also be used as a tea infuser to fill your cup or jar.
Read CNET’s full review of the Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Outside of an old-school Mason jar, it’s hard to beat the low $25 price of this Takeya cold coffee brewer. The BPA free dishwasher safe plastic pitcher comes with an airtight seal and has a slim profile made to slide into fridge door shelves. With its fine mesh reusable filter, It’s also easy to clean and makes solidly satisfying cold brew. If you want strong, concentrated coffee though, this product isn’t your cup of tea. It brews a weaker drink than other similar products.
Read CNET’s full review of the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The Toddy Cold Brew System.
Toddy Cold Brew System
With a simple design and few parts, including a coffee brewing container, rubber stopper and glass decanter with lid, the $40 Toddy offers an affordable way to create large amounts of quality cold brew. The Toddy uses either reusable felt filters, or special paper filters — both options come in the box. Be advised that the Toddy is a tall contraption, particularly while straining grounds, so it won’t fit underneath low kitchen cabinets. Brewing with the Toddy is also a manual affair and takes some practice to perfect.
Read CNET’s full review of the Toddy Cold Brew System.
Now playing: Watch this: We test the ultimate breakfast machine 4:07
Originally published last month. Updated the Toddy section to reflect that the brewer now also comes with paper filters.
8 gifts for coffee lovers: Find the perfect gift for the caffeine junkie in your life.
7 tips that will change the way you brew coffee at home: Even a drip coffee maker can brew a cup or jar with an artisanal taste.
Toddy Home Cold Brew System
Want to make delicious Cold Brew Coffee at Home with ease?
The Orginal Toddy Cold Brew System is for you! Easy to make and store in your fridge, ready to drink and relax on those warm summer days.
This cold water brewing method extracts fewer oils than hot brew methods and with 2/3 less acid, you get a smoother cup of coffee that’s easier on the stomach. Use the Toddy concentrate in hot or cold drinks.
Includes Instructions Recipe Booklet Brew Container Glass Decanter with Lid Rubber Stopper Two Reusable Filters The Toddy coffee maker extracts the coffee bean’s true delicious flavour and eliminates much of the acidity producing a bold super-smooth coffee that can be served one cup at a time.
The Toddy brewer is also ideal for making tea – served hot or over ice.
Here’s how to make it…
1. For the best flavour, start with coarsely ground coffee beans (fresh roasted is best) and filtered water. The Toddy brewing container is designed to hold 340g of coffee and 1600ml of water.
Fill – First, insert the stopper into the outside bottom of the brewing container; then, dampen the filter and insert it into the inside bottom of the brewing container.
2. Next, add 200ml of water into the bottom of the Toddy brewing container and 170g of ground coffee. Slowly pour 700ml more of water over the grounds, in a circular motion. Then, add the remaining 170g of ground coffee. Finally, wait 5 minutes and slowly add the last 700ml cups of water. DO NOT STIR (stirring the bed of grounds can result in a clogged filter).
Lightly press down on the topmost grounds with the back of a spoon to ensure all grounds get wet.
3. Brew – Steep your coffee grounds for 12 to 18 hours to create a smooth, rich flavour. Remove the stopper and let your coffee concentrate flow into the glass decanter – stays fresh for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
4. Serve – We recommend starting with a ratio of 1 part coffee concentrate to 2-3 parts water, milk or non-dairy milk. Mix to taste, making your coffee as strong or as weak as you prefer. For rich, smooth iced coffee, simply pour coffee concentrate and water, milk or almond milk over ice. Combine coffee concentrate with steaming hot water for a bolder, gentler cup of hot coffee.
Cold brew coffee enthusiasts may need no convincing, but if you’re wondering if you should be making iced coffee at home, allow us to quickly break you of your daily coffee shop habit.
Not only will DIY cold brew make your mornings more efficient (you can brew it ahead of time and store it for up to two weeks!), you’ll save money (making cold brew is a lengthy process, and it’s therefore difficult for coffee shops to predict and plan for the right demand, which bumps up the price per cup). It’s also easier to customize at home, and it makes a great concentrate for hot coffee (week-old cold brew combined with hot water can smell and taste richer, nuttier, and fresher than the same coffee made in a drip coffee maker).
To find the best at-home cold brew coffee makers, the Good Housekeeping Institute tested a variety of the most popular options on the market, including ones with paper filters, wire filters, French press designs, and electric. We used the same type of coffee in each and followed the manufacturer’s instructions. We then conducted a blind taste test to see which produced the most palatable results. We also called in the expertise of the Chief Researcher at the Speciality Coffee Association, Peter Giuliano, to debunk some of the biggest myths about cold brew coffee makers.
Below are our top picks for the best at-home cold brew coffee makers you can buy, as well as everything you need to know about the different ways to make cold brew coffee, if you need specific cold brew beans, how long you can store it, and more.
Best Overall Cold Brew Coffee Maker: OXO Cold Brew Maker
Best Value Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Toddy Cold Brew System
Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker for Small Kitchens: OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Fastest Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Dash Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker for Big Batches: Brim Smart Valve
Most Versatile Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Chef’n 3-in-1 Craft Coffee Brewing Set
Best No-Hassle Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Country Line Kitchen with Flip Cap
Best Make-Ahead Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Bod by BodyBrew Cold Brew Coffee System
How do cold brew coffee makers work?
Coffee-lovers know that cold brew is made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in room temperature water over a long period of time. Unlike more traditional coffee-brewing methods (like drip and stovetop) the cold-brew process doesn’t use any heat. As a result, the flavor is often fuller, rounder, and less acidic. There are four main ways to brew cold brew coffee:
French press: If you’re not ready to invest in a cold brew-specific coffee maker, DIY cold brew can be made using a French press or a mason jar. After brewing coffee grounds in room temperature water for 24 hours, pour coffee through a cheesecloth or paper filter to strain the solids.
Steep method: The most common way to make cold brew coffee (and, in our opinion, the easiest way) is by using a wire or gold filter. This style often leaves behind some sediment, which provides thickness and texture and, according to Giuliano, can be perceived as rich (especially for those who add milk). This cold brewing method typically uses a long cylindrical filter that sits in a tall, slim pitcher. While easy to use and environmentally friendly, take note that this method is less efficient at brewing concentrates. (The resulting coffee was described by tasters as “watery” and “like regular coffee, not concentrate.”) If you choose this brewing method, we suggest reducing the amount of water and brewing at the longer range of the suggested time frames.
Reusable and/or paper filtration: Reusable or paper filters do a good job removing sediment, which makes coffee taste lighter and clearer. Reusable filters hold back most sediment but require some special care. They need to be rinsed in cool water and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, and should be replaced after 10 to 12 uses or three to four months, whichever comes first. Paper filters are not reusable, but, in our tests, produced the brews with the least amount of sediment and made clean-up easy.
Electric: Designed to speed up what is typically a slow process, electric cold brew makers offer a choice of brew strength and take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes to brew. Our tests found that although faster, electric cold brew makers fell short in creating the deeply robust flavors that the unplugged methods above did.
Do I need to buy special cold brew coffee beans?
The short answer is no. According to Giuliano, coffee is all about personal taste, and a bag with “cold brew blend” stamped on it is just one company’s opinion of what makes an excellent cold brew. While we used a cold brew-specific blend for testing, we actually recommend using a dark roast of your favorite coffee brand because it will cost you less. One thing to keep in mind is that the cold brew method enhances richer, chocolaty notes rather than floral or fruity notes that are accentuated by hot-brew methods. Regardless of the type of bean, we recommend you grind the beans yourself. Cold brew works best with a coarser ground.
How long can I store a cold brew concentrate?
Opinions on how long you can store cold brew concentrate differ, suggesting anywhere from up to two days to two weeks. Giuliano recommends two to five days, noting that over time the brew will start to oxidize, thereby altering the profile of the coffee. The fridge does slow this process, down but it’s ultimately unavoidable.
The best cold brew coffee maker usually has little in common with the best coffee machine as most of us would understand the concept. The Japanese have been making cold-brew coffee since the 1600s but we Brits have only recently cottoned on. Why not just drink a hot coffee that’s gone cold, you may ask. There’s certainly an argument for that but, in the main, cold brewing eliminates the natural acidity and bitterness of coffee and that means it has a much smoother taste on the palette. As cold brews have a higher caffeine content, they are usually enjoyed with a full glass of ice or a splash of chilled water or milk.
At the moment, we think the best cold brew coffee maker is the Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker, but if you’re not keen on that model then we’ve got several others for you to browse through below.
- Best pod coffee makers
- Best bean-to-cup coffee machines
- Best espresso machines
How to buy a cold brew coffee maker
Most cold brewers work very much like their hot-brew counterparts and some models like the Bodum and Duo will even perform both tasks. Processes vary but most of the cold-brew products we present below use either the immersion or drip technique. The biggest difference between hot and cold brewers is steeping time: where a hot filtered brew takes between 5 and 10 minutes to produce, the cold equivalent takes between 12 and 24 hours.
It must be said, however, that people who swear by these cold-brew-making products are invariably died-in-the-wool java aficionados who, like wine-loving oenophiles, can detect even the slightest differences in aroma and acidity between one brew and another. In that respect you might not notice any major differences between a cold brew and a hot brew gone cold.
Cold-brew coffee makers don’t require electricity and are relatively cheap to buy though we do have one highfalutin Japanese model here that costs over £600. That said, even the dirt-cheap Hario Mizudashi makes a very decent cold brew. At close of play, our favourite model turned out to be the Oxo Good Grips followed by the cleverly designed Duo Coffee Steeper.
- Best coffee machines
1. Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Best bang for bucks
Reasons to buy
+Produces a flavourful chilled brew+Comes with an excellent guide
Reasons to avoid
-Too large for occasional use-A bit fiddly to put together
This highly-rated cold brewer is quite a large beast, though thankfully it does collapse into a smaller package for storage. The Oxo is capable of producing coffee concentrate for up to 12 servings so that’s a big plus if you’re a family of coffee fiends.
It’s comprised of four main parts: a stand with brew-release switch, a brewing container for the coffee grinds, a rainmaker (essentially a perforated lid that showers water evenly over the granules) and a glass carafe for catching all that liquid gold.
Oxo recommends using a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio and a brewing period of 12 to 24 hours before activating the brew-release switch. When ready, simply add ice and/or a splash of milk for a cracking iced coffee with rich aromatic flavour and no detectable bitterness or acidity. Clean up isn’t too messy either. Top buy.
2. Fellow Duo Coffee Steeper
Unique twist-and-go portable
+Makes both hot and cold brews+Excellent dual filter system -Fiddly to clean-Tricky to assemble
This hot and cold coffee steeper combines the immersion technique of a French press with the gravity-filtered process of a manual pour-over model. Its unique two-stage filtration system also ensures that the final result is entirely sediment free. The Duo comes in three main parts: a stainless steel upper section, a brewing chamber and a borosilicate glass pot.
To use, simply fill the chamber with the recommended amount of coffee grounds, add some chilled fresh water, give it a stir and leave it to brew for around 12 hours. Now twist the lid and watch in amazement as a stream of pure sediment-free joe is magically deposited into the pot below. The same process is used to make a hot cuppa, except immersion time is just a few minutes instead of hours.
An excellent two-in-one option.
3. Bodum Chambord
The classic French press
+Someone you know owns one+Easy to use -Not entirely sediment free-A right faff to clean
You might well already have one of these popular French press systems buried somewhere behind the disused ice-cream maker. If so, dust it off and put it to some good use once again. Bodum produces a wide range of models but the eight-cup Chambord model is just the right size for the task.
As with most cold-brew makers, you simply lob in a good dose of medium to fine ground coffee and gently pour cold water over the granules ensuring that everything is nicely soaked. Now leave to rest for the prerequisite 12 hours of so before slowly pushing down the plunger.
This system makes an excellent cold brew but you will need to be careful when pouring the results into a storage jug because the last inch or so of concentrate will be sludgy and even a bit gritty. And that’s the last thing you need.
4. Hario Mizudashi
Great budget-priced model
+Perfectly priced for occasional use+Easy to store -Not the strongest brew in town-Evidence of cloudiness
This cheap and unexpectedly cheerful pour-over model is just the ticket for the coffee soloist who isn’t too fussed about intensity.
Where the Oxo, Bodum and Duo Coffee Steeper retain the coffee and water in a solution for up to twelve hours, this one differs in that most of the chilled water poured over the grounds seeps immediately into the glass carafe below and only the bottom half of the filter basket remains in contact with the water.
The resulting brew isn’t as strong as other models here and there is evidence of faint cloudiness in the solution, but it’s flavoursome all the same. The Mizudashi makes up to 600ml of cold brew concentrate and requires medium to coarse grounds for best results. It’s cheap as chips, too.
5. Yama Glass 25 Cup Cold Drip Maker
The scientific laboratory option
+Produces a delicate, sediment-free brew+A great conversation piece -Extraordinarily expensive-Very delicate – do not drop!
Cold brew coffee might be a relatively new thing for Brits but the Japanese have been at it for the past four centuries. And this towering artistic conversation piece is the sort of contraption they favour.
Despite its complex construction, the Yama is relatively easy to use. Just fill the top glass with ice and fresh water – preferably bottled – scoop about 100 grams of a high quality medium-grind coffee into the glass vessel beneath, then pre-soak a circular paper filter and place it on top of the grounds.
Now adjust the miniature tap to release the water at around one drop per second. It takes about eight hours for the cold-drip process to complete but it’s well worth the wait. The chilled sediment-free elixir this elaborate apparatus creates is truly exquisite and free of any hint of acidity. But you’re going to need some very deep pockets to enjoy the privilege.