Now, we know what you’re thinking: coffee shops are trying to fool you with cold brew — it’s the same thing as iced coffee. But there are no tricks here! Though both cold drinks can be loved equally, they’re not equal in the brewing process or makeup at all.
We here at Roasty love good ole cups of iced coffee and cold brew, but today, cold brew coffee is the star of the show. We enjoy it so much that we want you to enjoy it, too, and from the comfort of your own home. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite cold brew coffee makers just for you!
But first, let’s dive a bit deeper into how cold-brewing coffee works.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Cold Brew Coffee Makers
What is cold brew?
Cold brew coffee is made with a brewing method that involves steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended time.
Many coffee lovers swear this kind is the boldest coffee out there, as the longer steeping times emphasize your beans’ robust flavors; in fact, serious coffee enthusiasts swear this is the best way to bring those out.
There are two primary means of producing the highly concentrated cold brew coffee: slow drip and immersion. Immersion brewing is the most common and straightforward means of cold brewing. Your grounds are immersed in cold or room temperature water for at least 12 hours before being filtered out of the cold brew coffee concentrate.
On the other hand, slow drip cold brew is for the at-home barista who wants to feel more like a mad scientist in his lab while their coffee brews. This process requires a specific cold coffee brewer with a water reservoir and a valve that slowly drips the water over the grounds. Then, it flows through the coffee, through a filter, and into a separate vessel. The process doesn’t take as long as an immersion method, which means the flavor extraction isn’t quite as thorough, and the finished product isn’t all that strong.
So…it’s not iced coffee?
Nope! It’s not.
Unlike batches of coffee made with a cold-brewing method, iced coffee is brewed hot, then served over ice. This java doesn’t stay fresh as long as cold brew does, either.
Why choose cold brew?
People choose cold brew coffee over other forms of joe for many reasons. For starters, it’s just plain delicious coffee! But beyond that, caffeine lovers reach for the concentrated coffee drink for its health benefits and the sake of satisfying flavor needs and brewing preferences. Read on to learn why the coffee community holds cold brew in such high regard.
One of the most significant differences between your regular batch of coffee and cold brew is acidity.
When hot coffee is brewed, certain oils are released from the coffee grounds as they’re heated. However, when cold brewing using slow drip or immersion brewers, the coffee never comes into contact with heat, minimizing the extraction of those acidic oils.
Those oils create bitter flavors in some cups of coffee and result in higher acidity, making these servings of coffee a little bit more difficult for those with sensitive stomachs to consume.
So, when the presence of those oils is lessened (like through cold-brewing), you end up with bright, clean, low-acid coffee that anyone can enjoy without a hitch.
Compared to something made with a hot brewing method, cold brewing has an extended steeping time and a much higher water-to-coffee ratio. However, cold brew generally doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong flavor despite the increased concentration this ratio produces, another result of a lack of heat and subsequent oil release.
So, you end up with a palatable beverage that packs a serious punch of caffeine. But when the cold brew is diluted with the usual suspects — milk, creamer, water — you end up with a less concentrated drink.
Regardless of whether you drink your cold brew black or with some sort of add-in, its caffeine content is ultimately determined by the type of coffee beans you use and how long you let the joe steep.
Cold brew has many benefits for coffee drinkers who are physically active regularly. Since cold brew generally has a plentiful amount of caffeine, it can help you burn fat post-workout, as it increases your post-energy expenditure or after-burn effect. In addition to the extra energy boost that cold brew coffee concentrate can provide, the joe also possesses a high amount of antioxidants and free radical-fighting chemicals.
Coffee enthusiasts enjoy the cold-brewed java because of other health benefits, too; if you want to dive even more deeply into what those benefits are, check out this article.
Quick Summary: The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
|TODDY COLD BREW SYSTEM
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|TAKEYA COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
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|COFFEE GATOR COLD BREWER
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|OXO GOOD GRIPS COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
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|KITCHENAID COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
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|COUNTY LINE KITCHEN COLD BREW MAKER
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|BEAN ENVY COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
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|CUISINART AUTOMATIC COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
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Roasty Rankings: Find The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker
There’s a cold brew coffee maker out there for every coffee connoisseur, but unfortunately, finding the perfect one can be somewhat overwhelming.
That’s where we come in! We’ve searched high and low to find the machines that are capable of delivering ready-to-drink cold brew that’s absolutely delicious, and we’re excited to show you what we’ve found.
Without further ado, here are our contenders for the best cold brew maker on the market today.
Toddy Cold Brew System
The easy-to-use Toddy cold brew coffee maker is quite a practical pick. It comes with everything you’ll need to make cold brew concentrate at home. A brewing container with a handle, a lidded glass beaker, two reusable filters, a rubber stopper, plus a recipe guide and instruction manual are all included in the price.
Though all cold brew generally has a lower acid content, Toddy’s coffee machine produces a coffee concentrate that’s 67 percent less acidic than the usual brew made with your go-to coffee beans; just make sure they’re coarsely ground before you test this!
Once you brew fresh cold brew — about one and a half liters at a time with the Toddy — you can keep it in your fridge for two weeks with no changes to its rich flavor. Just don’t forget to maintain and replace your Toddy filter regularly; if you don’t, your brew will surely suffer the consequences.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Looking for something that’s simple yet can produce ready-to-drink cold brew? Meet the Takeya cold brew coffee maker! It’s easy to use and clean, plus it can give you some of the most robust and rich cold brew concentrate you’ve ever tasted.
The Takeya, made of BPA-free material with an airtight lid and durable non-slip silicone handle, can produce four to five servings of smooth cold brew. Its fine mesh filter ensures none of your grounds slip into the finished coffee.
Whether you choose the one-quart model or its larger counterpart, the two-quarter, you’ll find this compact brewer can fit easily in any refrigerator. It’s super lightweight, too, which makes it easier to move and handle; take it with you the next time you head out of town and enjoy the chilly brew wherever you are.
Coffee Gator Cold Brewer
The Coffee Gator cold brew coffee maker is a pretty sweet low-budget pick, but don’t let that price tag fool you; just add ground beans and cold water, and in about half a day, you’ll end up with a cup of coffee that packs a serious punch!
Not only will you get the glass pitcher (which holds almost one and a half liters) in which you can store your brew, but purchasing the Coffee Gator means you’ll also get a metal scoop, collapsible funnel, and a grounds filter that detaches for easy cleanup.
Rest a bit easier knowing that all the plastic components are BPA-free and the borosilicate glass is durable enough to last a good long time. Just be sure you don’t rinse your pitcher with hot water as soon as you take it out of the fridge.
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you’re a little more on the adventurous side, the bucket-style OXO Good Grips cold brew coffee maker might suit you quite nicely. These babies are designed for more flexibility and experimentation, so feel free to think outside the box when you use them to produce a few ounces of coffee concentrate.
This brewer’s design differs from many of the other models on this list, but OXO’s cold brew coffee maker is just as user-friendly as the rest of them, thanks to a borosilicate glass carafe with clearly marked measurements, a stopper to keep your cold brew fresh, and an ultra-fine reusable stainless steel filter. All of the coffee maker’s components lend themselves to easy disassembly, making for a simple, painless cleanup process.
We’ve got very few complaints about this machine or the way it evenly distributes water over coffee grounds to give you a rich cup of coffee. But, if you decide to bring OXO’s cold brew maker into your life, be sure you keep an eye out for leakage induced by a faulty or worn-out filter.
KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you’re someone who wants their cold brew concentrate on tap and readily available at all times, this stainless steel cold brew maker from KitchenAid should most definitely be in your Amazon shopping cart.
Though the cold brew maker holds 28 ounces of cold joe, which is plenty for someone who’ll be drinking multiple cups of coffee a day or sharing the brew with a whole household, it has a pretty small footprint and won’t take up too much valuable kitchen counter space. The filter is even labeled with fill level indicators, so you’ll know exactly how many scoops of coarse coffee grounds you should add.
Appearance isn’t the most important thing when it comes to your brewing machine, but you don’t necessarily want something that sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of your kitchen décor. Luckily, this compact coffee maker’s sleek glass and metal design will fit right into any setup.
County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker
County Line Kitchen’s immersion cold brew maker is an excellent choice for those who crave the aesthetic appeal of a mason jar, but want something a bit more functional — and that functionality comes in the form of a flip-cap lid for easy, mess-free pouring.
Choose between a one or two-quart mason jar that’s durable enough to handle even the roughest hands (so long as they don’t drop it!), and use it to steep a few ounces of coffee or tea, depending on your preferences. The metal mesh filter is made of high-quality stainless steel that’s perfect for keeping grounds or loose tea leaves out of your cup.
And here’s our favorite thing about this brewer: all of its parts are dishwasher-friendly, so cleaning up after you’ve finished drinking all of your cold-brewed coffee is a breeze.
Bean Envy Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Bean Envy’s cold brew maker is a great choice for anyone who needs to make a larger batch of strong coffee concentrate, thanks to its 32-ounce capacity. This brewer uses the immersion method to produce chilled coffee. Just load your favorite coffee grounds into the stainless steel filter, pour water over the coffee grounds, let it steep for 12 to 24 hours, then remove the reusable filter and enjoy!
Every bit of plastic and silicone on Bean Envy’s cold brew maker is BPA-free, and all of the components are easy to rinse clean once you’ve finished brewing. Bean Envy also boasts a perfect Cold Brew System, which means you’ll end up with cold-brewed coffee that’s got 70 percent less acidity than a regular cup of coffee, hot or cold.
Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Don’t have the patience to wait an entire 12 to 24 hours for cold brew? We understand. Sometimes, the agony of waiting until your brew is at its best is painful, and you need something that can give you results in minutes. The Cuisinart automatic cold brew maker could be the answer to all of your quick-brewing problems. This bad boy can brew seven cups of coffee in just 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the cold brew strength; mild takes 25 minutes, medium 35, and bold 45.
Naturally, getting cold-brewed joe this rapidly means the coffee you get from this machine won’t be as well-developed as something you’d sip from a slower cold brew maker. But the fact that it saves you a solid eleven or more hours of brewing time makes a milder cup worth it.
This machine brews your coffee by agitating the water and grounds until it’s extracted enough flavor for your liking. Then, an indicator light comes on, you pull a lever, and ta-da! Cold brew coffee is served.
The main drawback of this machine is that there’s a chance of buildup in the removable tank. However, all removable parts are dishwasher safe, and the device has a limited three-year warranty, so this isn’t a major issue.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Before biting the bullet and buying your ideal cold brew coffee maker, you need to consider some important things. Here are some of the most essential characteristics to take into account:
With cold brew, you are going to want a fresh supply of ground coffee. However, you’ll need to make sure that your coffee is coarse in size so you can extract all the flavors within the beans properly.
When we say fresh we mean, you-ground-it-yourself level freshness, as a fresh grind will help ensure that you get the most flavor possible from your beans of choice.
Furthermore, the grind should be coarse to help with extraction. Because most of the brewing happens over a long steeping process, you will get better results if the water reaches more grounds. This is easier with a coarser grind.
Size of the Machine
Size matters more than you think. Not only do you need to make sure that the footprint of your brewer can fit on your countertop, but you also have to check its height; if the perfect brewer is too tall to fit on the shelf of your refrigerator, it won’t do you much good.
As we mentioned earlier, the two main styles of cold brewing are called immersion and slow drip. Most of the models we’ve mentioned here fall into the immersion category, which includes two subcategories: pot and bucket. These involve submerging coarse-ground coffee in water for roughly 16 hours. Then, you simply filter and drink.
Pot-style brewers tend to be a little slower and require you to pour the finished mixture through a filter. This process results in something with a more tea-like taste and feel. On the other hand, bucket-style mechanisms generally involve a lever or switch you interact with to allow the brew to drain through a filter and into a carafe below. The result tends to be slightly richer and more robust.
Generally speaking, immersion-style brewers tend to leave more sediment in your drink than drip brewers. However, using a paper filter or filtering multiple times can remedy this issue while helping highlight your joe’s rich, chocolatey notes. In contrast, a slow cold drip coffee maker will tend to produce a lighter mouthfeel and flavor. These models help bring out citrus and other sweeter flavors.
Ease of Use
If this is your first rodeo, it might be better to invest in one of the more user-friendly models. Look for easy assembly and disassembly, maintenance requirements, and clear volume markings for measurements.
However, if you have a good bit of experience with manual brewing methods or even specifically cold brew systems, other options might be within your reach.
Materials and Build
You should also make sure your cold brew maker is easy to hold and clean, and these important characteristics are determined by the materials from which the machine is made and the accessories built into it.
For example, if your cold brew coffee maker has a glass carafe, it may look sleek in design but has a higher risk of cracking and shattering. On the other hand, if your coffee maker has parts made with stainless steel, it’s more likely to be protected from any accidental breakage.
Another important cosmetic characteristic that you may want to look for in a coffee maker is good grips to make it easy to use and hold.
How to Make Cold Brew Without a Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Maybe, after reading about all of our favorite cold brew coffee makers, you’re not 100 percent certain you want to shell out a few extra bucks to buy one of these brewers. Or perhaps you want to give cold brew a whirl before committing to a machine specifically designed for making the stuff.
If you fall into one of those camps, you’re in luck; we’re going to briefly walk you through two of the most common means of making cold brew coffee without one of the products reviewed above.
The Mason Jar Method
To make cold-brewed joe this way, all you’ll need to do is scoop your favorite ground coffee into a mason jar, then add a few ounces of water — room temperature or cold, please! How much joe you use depends on how strong you want the brew to be, but a 1:5 coffee-to-water ratio is a common starting point.
Put the lid on the jar and let the mixture steep in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Then, use a piece of cheesecloth or fine mesh filter to strain all of the grounds from the brew. Ta-da! Your mason jar-made cold brew is ready for consumption!
The French Press Way
If you’ve got a French press lying around, use it to make a cold brew! We’ve got an article outlining every step of the process here, so we’ll spare you most of the details. This process is pretty similar to the mason jar method. However, instead of using a filter or cheesecloth to separate the grounds from the joe once it has steeped in your fridge for half a day, you’ll just press them all down with the press’s plunger.
A Cold Brew Q&A
What roast is best for cold brew?
Most people rely on medium or dark roast coffee to make the best cold brew, as the long steeping time better brings out the nutty or chocolatey flavor these beans are known for. Of course, no one will stop you from bringing out a bag of light roast coffee when you prepare for cold-brewing, but the consensus is that those beans’ brighter flavors end up muted and stifled in a cup of cold brew coffee.
Can you make cold brew with instant coffee?
No! While some instant coffee granules can dissolve in cold water, the finished product is not equivalent to cold brew. It will, however, make a decent cup of iced coffee.
Can you reuse coffee grounds for cold brew?
Technically, yes, you can do this.
But as they say, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. We don’t recommend doing this mainly because any cold-brewed coffee made from reused coffee grinds will be much weaker and far less caffeinated than it would be if your beans had been fresh.
How long does cold brew take to make?
Most cold brewing instructions call for letting the coffee steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, but there are plenty of cold brew machines on the market today that can get the job done in less time.
Once you’ve let the grounds steep and filtered them out, your concentrated brew can last for a relatively long time; in fact, you can keep the stuff in your fridge for up to 14 days. For better and more flavorful results, keep it in a lidded container with an airtight seal.
What is the proper ratio of coffee to water for cold brew?
Ultimately, the coffee-to-water ratio you use for brewing depends on how strong you want the contents of your cup to be and varies from person to person. To get a better idea of how to measure your water and ground coffee before brewing, check out our handy measuring guide here.
The Conclusion On Cold Brew
If you are on the market for a brewing method that can give you a crisp, low-acid, energizing cup of coffee, a cold brew coffee maker might be for you.
And remember, when you’re on the search for the best cold brew coffee maker, any of the above models should make you a great cup of joe. However, make sure you consider how much space you have available, what style of brewer suits your tastes, and how much experience with alternative brewing you have.
With a product from this list, your favorite coffee, a little water, and some patience, you’ll be able to enjoy the light delight of cold brew coffee any time you want!