If you spend a lot of time in coffee shops, you’re sure to have noticed cold brew coffee.
What’s it all about and how does it differ from iced coffee?
Well, today we’ll answer those questions and much, much more. By the time you’ve finished up, you’ll be perfectly placed to navigate your way through this initially confusing vertical.
The first point we’ll make before we get started is one we’ll reiterate many times today: this is not a quick method of making cold coffee. If speed is of the essence, you should probably consider a single-serve machine that delivers cold coffee.
Look at it this way, though…
You can store cold brew coffee concentrate in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks without any significant degradation. So, all you need to do is get organized and you’ll always have a supply on hand. Brew up a new batch before you finish you finish what you’ve got laid in and the overnight wait becomes an irrelevance.
Before we get down to business with a snapshot of the finest cold brew systems on the market, how does this brewing method differ from straight iced coffee?
I. Our Top Picks for Cold Brew Coffee Makers
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker Our #1 Pick
Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker
Toddy Cold Brew System
Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
Using a French Press: Secura French Press
For Large Quantities: KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Ovalware Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Coffee Gator Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Coffee Bear Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Yama Glass Cold Brew Drip Coffee Maker
II. The Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced-Coffee
If you’re interested in exploring the cold brew method – and you should, it’s incredibly rewarding not to mention easy to master – you should be aware of how cold brew and ice coffee differ.
Iced coffee is regular brewed coffee that’s poured over ice.
The key benefit of iced coffee is the speed of delivery. Brew your coffee as normal whether you opt for a drip coffee maker or an Italian espresso machine. Several of the best Keurig coffee makers also allow you to enjoy your coffee cold.
Unfortunately, pouring over ice dilutes the coffee. One workaround here is to double the amount of coffee grounds you use. Another option is to make coffee ice cubes.
Iced coffee is also quite acidic and bitter.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew is made using cold water. This is allowed to remain in direct contact with the coffee grounds for anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.
Once you’ve got your cold brew coffee steeping, you keep it in the fridge. The end result is an intense coffee concentrate that you dilute with equal parts water for lip-smacking cold coffee.
The absence of hot water means you’ll get less bitterness than with iced coffee. The finished drink is also more full-bodied.
How about the health benefits of cold brew? Is this stuff good for you?
III. 6 Key Health Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee
- Boost Metabolism
- Enhance Mood
- Easy on The Stomach
- Helps Fight Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Less Chance of Type-2 Diabetes
- Reduced Risk of Heart Attack
1) Boost Metabolism
Cold brew coffee contains caffeine and this has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate by as much as 11%. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn while at rest.
Studies have shown caffeine can help with fat burning.
2) Enhance Mood
Cold brew could perk up your mood, especially if you’re suffering from a lack of sleep. Caffeine works especially well for improving brain function in seniors.
Several studies have shown coffee improves mood, focus, and alertness.
3) Easy on The Stomach
Coffee is acidic and can trigger acid reflux. You get far less acidity with cold brew without hot water thrown into the mix.
If you struggle with stomach problems, consider cold brew.
4) Helps Fight Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease
Cold brew, like any drink containing caffeine, stimulates your central nervous system and can also impact brain function.
Drinking coffee can reduce your risk of developing degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
5) Less Chance of Type-2 Diabetes
Drinking 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day reduces your risk of type-2 diabetes.
Cold brew specifically helps to control and slow down digestion while stabilizing blood sugar.
6) Reduced Risk of Heart Attack
Cold brew coffee contains compounds known to reduce the chances of heart disease developing. These include:
Cold brew also contains diterpenes and CGAs (chlorogenic acids). These are anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants.
So, as you can see drinking cold brew can be highly beneficial for your health in a range of areas.
Now, before we double down on our cold brew coffee maker reviews, it’s time to focus on what you should consider on the buying trail.
IV. Things To Consider
If you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic premise of cold brew coffee making, you’ll see you have a number of options at your disposal.
Since these brewing systems vary quite substantially, we’ll point out some of the more general considerations you should take into account when you’re looking to make the best cold brew coffee at home.
- Set-Up and Overall Convenience
- Quality of Coffee Produced
- Variety of Drinks You Can Make
- Price/Performance Ratio
Set-Up and Overall Convenience
Luckily, the simplicity of the cold brew method means that the vast bulk of machines couldn’t be easier to start using.
There are exceptions like the Yama Glass drip tower we highlight today. Even intricate systems like this are still simple to set up and use, though.
Once you’ve got everything up and running, how is general ease of use? You need to be confident that the system you’re buying is a pleasure to break out otherwise it will just end up gathering dust.
If you have even a passing interest in making great coffee at home, there’s one constant…
You’ll soon find your kitchen overcrowded with the paraphernalia you need to ensure pro-grade results in your home kitchen. From your grinder to a variety of brewing systems, the less equipment you need the better. To this end, look for a system that allows you to make various batch sizes to suit. You’ll save on needing multiple appliances without needing to compromise capacity.
One of the key attractors of cold brew is the way it can be stored without any impairment for weeks as long as it’s refrigerated.
You might not have a kitchen large enough to accommodate the drip tower of your dreams so make sure you accurately assess countertop real estate before committing to purchase.
If you’re looking to buy an immersion brewer like many we review today, you shouldn’t opt for capacity if the vessel becomes too large to store easily in the fridge.
Strike a balance here and get a system that’s generous enough in capacity for your needs while still fitting neatly into the space available.
Due to the brewing method of cold brew, you don’t need to obsess about durability. After all, you’ll be leaving the coffee untouched in the fridge so it shouldn’t come to any harm.
That said, you should look for borosilicate glass carafes. This form of glass is much more durable while also preventing any chemicals or odors from seeping in and spoiling the coffee in your cup.
Think about whether or not you use a dishwasher. If so, consider looking for a model safe to slip in.
Aesthetics count with cold brew coffee makers more than most brewing methods. If you’re going for a drip tower, for example, it’s going to spend hours sitting on the kitchen counter. Do you really want to look at an eyesore for long spells?
You certainly shouldn’t compromise function for form. The thing is, with so many cold brew coffee systems on the market, there’s really no need to sacrifice either.
Quality of Coffee Produced
Ultimately, all that really counts is the quality of the coffee in your cup.
Take plenty of time to read our reviews so you can get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the systems up for grabs.
One thing we can guarantee: if you take the time to find an appropriate cold brewing system, you’ll never be ordering an iced coffee again.
Variety of Drinks You Can Make
You might be perfectly content to invest in a cold brew coffee maker that makes nothing but this delicious cool beverage.
If you’re looking for a little more variety, plenty of systems also allow you to make hot coffee. Other systems, notably the Toddy, also let you make tea with loose leaves or infusions if you like to mix up your menu a little.
Last but certainly not least, budget always plays a role in any buying decision.
Since most cold brew coffee makers are pretty inexpensive, you should focus on more than just the bottom line. Consider overall value along with durability and expected lifespan rather than obsessing purely on the price tag.
Without further idea, we’ll push ahead with our capsule reviews of the 11 best ways to make cold brew coffee at home without spending a fortune.
V. The 11 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
1. Our #1 Pick: OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Our overall pick for the best cold brew coffee maker up for grabs is the deceptively capable OXO Brew. What makes it so good, though?
As with all cold brew coffee, you’ll end up with a far richer experience than the iced coffee you might have rejected as too weak. You’ll also get far less acidity.
Despite allowing you to make 16oz of coffee concentrate, this brewer has a compact footprint so works well in small or crowded kitchens.
The lid seals everything inside nicely when you’re brewing. By this stage, the rainmaker will saturate your grounds perfectly then draining starts automatically.
If you’re tempted by the idea of cool coffee but underwhelmed by the insipid and bitter iced coffee that gives it a bad name, you’ll get none of that with the OXO Brew. This brewer is proof positive you don’t need to spend a great deal on a super-automatic espresso machine to get a stellar cup of joe.
2. Runner-Up: Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker
Next up in our quest for the finest cold brew coffee makers, we’ll get back to basics with the beginner-friendly mason jar from Country Line Living.
Don’t be fooled by the crude aesthetic. This type of container makes the ideal vessel for cold brew and it’s super-simple to use even if you’ve never tried this brewing method before.
The filter is designed to keep all the sediment where it belongs and out of your drink. Since you can reuse the stainless steel mesh, you’ll cut out any ongoing running costs besides the coffee. Reusable filters are also and obviously much more environmentally-friendly.
While you’ll benefit from the glass container, the material is surprisingly rugged and durable. Made from inert soda lime glass, it’s built to withstand plenty of punishment. You’ll also be protected against any harmful chemicals leaching their way into your drink. Plastic is all BPA-free so you can rest easy on that front, too.
For a simple yet highly effective way to produce cold coffee at its best, think seriously about adding this mason jar cold brew maker to your arsenal this year.
3. Also Great: Toddy Cold Brew System
The Toddy Cold Brew System is a versatile option for anyone who likes tea and coffee both hot and cold.
If you’re looking to experience cold brew, you can rustle up concentrate which will stay fresh refrigerated for up to a fortnight. Pour this over ice and add milk to taste.
Pop the concentrate into some off-boiling water and enjoy intense hot coffee.
If neither of these options sounds appealing, use the Brew System to brew up loose tea leaves or your favorite infusion.
You’ll get everything you need included 3 paper filters. You should factor the ongoing cost of these into your budget.
The only real drawback with the Toddy is the overall flimsiness that mars an otherwise solid contender.
4. Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
If you’re looking to make up to 4 cups of colds brew capable of staying fresh for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, the Takeya Deluxe is well worth your further investigation.
With a fine mesh filter ensuring none of the grounds end up spoiling your finished drink, you’ll also sidestep the need to buy paper replacements.
The body of this pitcher is made from Tritan, a rugged BPA-free material. An ergonomic silicone handle simplifies handle.
You’ll be able to use any ground coffee you choose giving you complete freedom. Medium roast works well and you should shoot for a coarse grind just like with a French press.
As with all cold brew coffee makers, you’ll need to pack plenty of patience. Takeya recommend allowing your coffee concentrate to sit for up to 36 hours before serving. Cold brew is not a whim drink. Well, not until you have plenty of delicious concentrate stored in the fridge ready to roll out any time.
5. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
A tall and thin cold brew pot from Hario, the Mizudashi is impeccably designed as you’d expect from the Japanese giant. Despite the delicate good looks, you’ll be able to slip this coffee maker in the dishwasher fuss-free.
Capacity is reasonable. You can make 4 or 5 cups of joe then keep that concentrate refrigerated for a week or two. Despite the effort you need to put in initially with cold brew, if you keep a supply on hand, you won’t need to endure lengthy waiting times.
The resuable filter stops you needing to endlessly pick up costly replacements. You’ll be doing your part for the environment as well as your wallet, too.
Using this brewer really couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is ensure your grounds are thoroughly saturated then pop the Hario into the fridge overnight. Bingo: cold brew coffee just the way you’d find it in gourmet coffee shops but without the stiff bill.
6. Using a French Press: Secura French Press
If you want one of the most versatile methods of making cold brew coffee, you might be surprised to know it’s a French press. Secura’s stainless steel carafe ensures that you won’t end up with a shattered brewer, something that’s always a risk with glass.
The cool-touch handle and knob combine to give you a safe and comfortable experience.
The multiple layers of filtration with a fine mesh filter ensure you’ll get a sediment-free drink every time. The filter is easy to strip down when it’s time for cleaning as well.
The 34oz capacity allows you to rack up some cold brew for all the family. Simply store what you don’t drink in the refrigerator and you’ll always have some on hand.
7. For Large Quantities: KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you have a large family all partial to cold brew coffee, why not invest in the KitchenAid cold brew coffee maker?
Firstly, choose between the 28oz or 38oz model according to your appetite for cold brew. This will give you enough capacity for up to 14 cups of cold brew.
You’ll then be rewarded with a stainless steel build that won’t let you down. Glass frontage allows you to monitor your concentrate and keep an eye on the brewing process that leads you there.
Since this unit is quite heavy, you probably won’t want to be constantly lifting it in and out of the fridge. To mitigate this, there’s a tap baked in so you can decant your concentrate from the refrigerator.
8. Ovalware Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Another classic cold brew coffee maker from Ovalware, you’ll get a winning combination of borosolicate glass and sturdy stainless steel with the peace of mind that comes with no BPA or other contaminants.
If you enjoy cold coffee but you dislike that acidic taint that comes with it, you’ll sidestep this with cold brew. And, if you prefer drinking tea or infusions, this neat brewing system makes that possible. Use loose leaf tea or any other infusion and enjoy hot or cold.
Despite that stainless steel and borosilicate glass, several users have complained about the fragile nature of this brewer so make sure you handle with care.
Perhaps the key selling point of this unit is the freedom you’ll have to enjoy both hot and cold coffee at its best along with a broad spread of other drinks.
9. Coffee Gator Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Coffee Gator has a reputation for fun and affordable products to help you achieve that perfect golden cup of coffee without compromising quality.
Avoid the tang and bitter aftertaste of iced coffee by taking the cold brew route. You can rustle up more than enough coffee for a large family in the generous 47oz carafe.
The cold brew method ensures that your coffee stays fresh for weeks without further degradation setting in. While the initial process involves a lengthy (ideally overnight) wait, once you’ve got a pitcher of concentrate in the fridge, you’re all set. All you then need to do is remember to make some more before you run out. This solves one of the only real problems with cold brew.
10. Coffee Bear Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Another bulky carafe, this time from Coffee Bear, the 44-ouncer allows you to stash enough concentrate for a large family or a number of guests. Sizing is roughly one-third larger than most competing carafes.
Borosilicate glass is arguably your best option as you won’t get any leaching affecting the taste of your drink. It’s also much more rugged than regular glass.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, Coffee Bear throws in a recipe book to get your creative juices flowing.
The plastic in place is certified free of all contaminants so you can sup away without any health concerns.
Despite such a large carafe, overall dimensions are slimline enough that you can slip this coffee maker into the side door of your refrigerator with ease.
If you’re a lover of super-strong coffee, this is probably not your best bet. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a rich and balanced drink you can store for weeks, you’re in luck.
11. Yama Glass Cold Brew Drip Coffee Maker
Now, if you’re looking for a cold brew coffee maker that wouldn’t look out of place in a design museum, there’s no substitute for this gem from Yama Glass.
This tower arrangement consists of an iced water reservoir along with a super-slow drip system so you extract maximum flavor and aroma from your freshly ground coffee. As an aside, if you’re planning to invest in a magnificent cold brew maker like this, make sure to grind your beans directly before brewing.
All glass in non-porous borosilicate. You won’t suffer from any smells or chemicals seeping in and it’s relatively sturdy despite the appearance. This is offset with an expanse of natural wood making a true statement piece for your kitchen.
Despite the slow pace the coffee drips through at, you’ll end up with your cold brew in as little as 3 hours, a significant improvement on all the opposition.
The Yama Glass cold brew coffee maker certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’ve got deep pockets and demanding tastes, though, there isn’t a better model on the market.
VI. Guide To Making Tasty Cold Brew Coffee
Now you can see a selection of the best cold brew coffee makers, it’s time to tail off with some guidance of making great cold brew.
Luckily, it’s not that hard at all.
Before you get down to business, it pays to consider the following 3 elements:
You can use any roast of coffee with cold brew. As you’d expect, each come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Dark: Dark roasts are arguably the most popular for cold brew coffee. Dark roasts are low in acid and come with a smooth, mellow, and rich flavor. On the flipside, dark roasts generate more sediment. They also tend to be slightly cloudy.
- Medium: With bright and complex flavors, medium roasts are roasted at lower temperatures than darkly roasted beans. This eliminates the chance of a burnt taste. You also get even less acid than with dark roasts.
- Light: Light roasts don’t work as well with cold brew since the grounds need to soak for even longer to get the most flavor. Light roasts are also typically quite acidic. This is something you’re trying to avoid with cold brew coffee so give light roasts a swerve or reserve them for other brewing methods.
Again, grind size is super-simple: use coarsely ground coffee beans.
Make certain you get these ground in the store if you don’t have a grinder at home. If you’re going to the trouble of using the cold brew method, though, we’d strongly advise you to invest in a great grinder.
The suggested range of coffee/water ratio varies from 1:4 to 1:16.
We would advise starting out somewhere in the middle at 1:8.
As with all brewing methods where you retain full control, don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s no fixed answer to the ideal ratio, simply the ideal ratio for you.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Now you’ve got everything in place, it’s time to make some cold brew.
Since there are so many different cold brew coffee systems, we’ll give you an overview of 3 main methods of brewing at home:
- Immersion Method with Hot Bloom
- Drip Method
What You Need for Immersion Method with Hot Bloom
- Coarsely ground coffee (1 cup)
- Cold water (6-7 cups)
- Water heated to 205F (1 cup, optional)
- Glass carafe or container
What To Do for Immersion Method with Hot Bloom
- The first step is optional and involves hot water. Yes, we know it’s cold brew and you can certainly skip this stage if you want. The idea of using a small amount of hot water is to help release carbon dioxide into the coffee grounds. This extracts more flavor than ever from the beans. If you don’t like the idea of this, simply switch the hot water for another cup of cold water.
- Add the cold water once the coffee has bloomed (swollen and bubbled).
- Stir gently.
- Cover the container and refrigerate overnight, ideally for 24 hours if you want a stronger cold brew. The longer you leave the coffee to sit, the stronger the end result.
- Use a fine mesh sieve as a filter if you don’t have a cold brew coffee make with a filter provided. Pour your coffee mixture through the sieve then discard the grounds.
- Repeat this process so the finer particles are also removed.
- Serve over ice either black or with a drop of milk.
What You Need for Drip Method
- Coarsely ground coffee (1 cup)
- Cold water (6-7 cups)
- Drip system
What To Do for Drip Method
- Add your coffee grounds as per user manual. Typically, you place the coffee in the middle chamber.
- Add the water to the top chamber along with some ice.
- Fine-tune the flow rate so water drips down onto the grounds at one drop every couple of seconds.
- Wait until all the water has dripped through into the carafe. This can take as long as 4 hours depending on the drip system you’re using.
Allow the water to drip completely out of the top container, through the coffee and into the carafe below. This can take up to four hours, depending on the size and device being used.
Note: Store your cold brew coffee concentrate for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
1) What’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?
With iced coffee, you start off by brewing regular hot coffee. You pour this over ice resulting in a cold beverage that’s too acidic and, at the same time, too diluted by those ice cubes. With cold brew, on the other hand, you start off with cold water. After mixing the water and coffee grounds, you store the mixture overnight in the fridge. You can extend this to anywhere up to 36 hours. The longer you leave it steeping, the stronger your cold brew coffee. You’ll get a rich, smooth drink that’s not too acidic and comes packed with health benefits (see above.)
2) What grind size is best for cold brew?
You should grind your beans coarsely. The grind should resemble breadcrumbs in consistency. Ideally, grind your own whole beans directly before brewing. Failing this, buy whole beans at your local coffee shop and ask for them to be coarsely ground.
3) Which roast is best for cold brew coffee?
Dark or medium roasts respond extremely well to this brewing method. Light roasts tend to be slightly acidic and don’t work as effectively.
4) Can I brew cold brew in a French press?
Absolutely! The integrated filter in a French press simplifies brewing considerably. Mix up your coffee and water in the chamber then refrigerate overnight. Do not press down on the plunger yet. Remove the following day then plunge. Pour the mixture through a coffee filter or mesh sieve to see off even the finest sediment.
5) How long does cold brew coffee last?
Here’s the great news: once you’ve waited overnight for your coffee to steep, you can then keep it refrigerated for a full 2 weeks without losing much in terms of flavor or aroma. You’ll typically find the taste starts to degrade slightly after perhaps a week.
6) Is cold brew coffee normally stronger than hot brewed coffee?
Normally, cold brew comes out slightly weaker despite the higher ratio used. That said, it’s tough to establish a reliable benchmark since the ratio can vary so dramatically. Bottom line, if you’re making cold brew at home, there’s no excuse not to get it just the way you like it!
7) Can I reuse the coffee grounds?
No! Once you’ve cold brewed your beans, all the worthwhile flavor will already have been extracted.
8) How long should I leave my cold brew to steep?
Again, you can vary this to taste. 12 hours is the typical minimum brewing period. This can be extended to 24 hours or even 36 hours.
9) Which are best, permanent or disposable filters?
You’ll save money by using a permanent filter but paper filters are slightly more efficient while also rendering clean-up non-existent. The only thing that counts is buying what works best for you.
10) What’s nitro cold brew?
This novelty drink introduces nitrogen for a truly unique taste experience.
By now, you should be an expert on cold brew and ready to make the tastiest cold coffee you’ve ever experienced without needing to leave home.
As you can see, you’ll have a great deal of choice when it comes to brewing cold coffee this way. Whether you want the intricacy of a tower dripper machine, the raw simplicity of a mason jar, the versatility of a French press, or any of the variety of brewing systems we outline today, you’re spoiled for choice.
Focus on how you and your family prefer to drink cold coffee. Think also whether you’d like the ability to make hot coffee and other drinks, too.
As long as you do your due diligence, choosing a cold brew coffee maker is a cakewalk, Fortunately, mastering this brewing method isn’t tough either. You don’t have anywhere near the variables of a more elaborate process like pour-over and the results are breathtaking.
Make sure you bookmark La Mano Coffee. We’re settled back in after the holiday period and we’re relentlessly working to bring you the best products and all the guidance you need to make your life easier and to save you money when you’re buying coffee supplies. See you soon!