As we all know, cold brew is a wonderfully easy, superior coffee that it brewed at cold temperatures over a period of 12-24 hours. One of the great things about it is just how simple it is to make. It is very possible to use materials you have at home to make a decent batch of cold brew.
If you are a cold brew convert and foresee it being a part of your life from now on, buying a cold brew coffee maker is a worthy investment. They are not very expensive and they take a lot of the hassle out of cold brewing, as well producing a more consistent cup.
This article reviews some of the best and most popular cold brew coffee makers on the market.
7 Things to Consider When Buying a Cold Brew Coffee maker
Before you splash out and buy your brewer, it is worth having a think about what your priorities are when it comes to cold brewing. Different cold brew coffee makers will be suitable for different people depending on what they are looking for. Here are some of the main factors to think about before buying your first piece of kit.
If you are trying to guard the pennies a little bit more, you will want to go for a lower end, more affordable cold brewer. Or if money is really tight, or you just don’t want to spend on it, you can just use a mason jar and a fabric bag. It’s really that inexpensive. You will have to deal with mess and washing the bag on a regular basis, but you don’t spend any money.
Cold brew coffee makers are generally quite bulky by default although there are some space saving options. Consider where you will be putting your coffee maker and check how much space you need. Do you want to brew your cold brew in the fridge for example?
I personally like the larger ones, because the filters are better and you get more coffee with every brew.
Coffee Taste and Quality
If the coffee taste is your priority, we can steer you in the direction of some cold brewers that yield the cleanest cup.
Going the cheap way, with a fabric bag as a filter is certainly inexpensive, but the fabric adds a little flavor to the brew. I personally did not mind it very much, but it’s there, and many people just can’t stand it.
In a way, all immersion cold brew coffee makers are the same, and you can tweak your recipe to match your taste. However, some things, such as the filters are just too different, and this makes all the difference.
Coffee taste is also dictated by the recipe, and the coffee beans you are using. If you are new to cold brew coffee, take a look at our article on how to make cold brew coffee at home and how to choose the best coffee beans for cold brew.
What type of filter do you want? A reusable paper filter will give you a cleaner cup but is more expensive in the long run and is awkward to clean and store. A metal filter won’t filter as well but there will be no potential paper taste and it is more convenient.
This goes hand in hand with space as a bigger machine generally means more coffee. Have a think about whether you are going to be brewing for parties, a large family, or just for yourself as some cold brew coffee makers make more coffee concentrate than others.
If you are in this for the long haul and what your coffee maker to stand the test of time, you should consider the different materials used for each brewer before making your mind up. To be honest, all immersion cold brew coffee makers are pretty durable, but don’t expect them to last you a lifetime. The plastic will eventually stain beyond usability, and you will have to replace the filters for some of them. Even if they are reusable, they will not last forever.
Fashion vs. Function
Is a good-looking machine more important or one that is easy to use? We all have different priorities.
As an anecdote, I purchased a cold drip coffee maker that would have improved my cold brew cup, because it tastes different from an immersion cold brew.
The thing did not last in my kitchen more than a week. My wife was very clear that “the thing goes out of the kitchen, period”. So make sure you don’t make the same mistake, and consult with your significant other.
The image on the right is a Yama Cold Drip coffee brewer, which many find an elegant coffee maker, that would fit nicely in any kitchen. In reality, it’s big and it takes a lot of space anywhere, not only in a kitchen. And even though it has its elegance, it doesn’t blend that well in a modern architecture.
Immersion Cold Brew Batch brewers
The cold brew coffee makers in this section brew between 30 and 60oz of cold brew coffee concentrate in one go so are more suitable for large families or for the more intense cold brew drinker.
Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Toddy deserves first mention today as a mark of respect. You may think that cold brew is a new(ish) craze, but believe it or not the Toddy was invented all the way back in 1964!
Here we have a no nonsense brewer that has stood the test of time. The Toddy literally is a modified bucket that sits on top of a carafe. However, it has weathered the market and is still one of the popular cold brew coffee makers today, despite the technological advances in the past 50 years.
It isn’t the most stylish brewer on the market and it is quite bulky, but it is one of the best all rounders that is extremely easy to use and will produce a consistent cup of coffee every time.
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
In contrast to the Toddy, the Oxo is one of the newer machines on the market that is very popular among cold coffee enthusiasts for a few reasons.
This is a stylish looking machine that comes with a few features that set it apart from the competition: It has a rainmaker system that disperses the water evenly over your coffee bed like a sprinkler.
It is made of borosilicate glass, a more durable glass that does not expand or contract with temperature change.
It comes with a convenient valve for decanting your filtered cold brew into the carafe.
It slots into itself for convenient storage
The Oxo cold brew coffee maker does come with a stainless steel mesh filter which is a potential disadvantage for some people. However, it produces by far the best coffee of any coffee maker with a mesh filter and will rival any paper filter brewed cup.
Filtron Cold Water Coffee Brewer
The Filtron makes the list because it produces a very high quality cold brew. It comes with a wool filter pad and reusable filters. If you use both filter options together, as recommended, you will get the cleanest possible brew with no sediment whatsoever.
Toddy and Oxo have their own advantages in this little competition. But Filtron is the favorite of many home and professional baristas. The main reason for that is the amazing filtering system, that is better than any other immersion cold brew coffee maker.
If you rinse the wool filter every time after brewing, you will reuse this on many times. Together with the paper filter, it delivers a clean cup, that you don’t even need to decant.
I know a few coffee shops that use Filtron to brew their daily cold brew coffee needs.
One Pot Brewers
One pot brewers, compared to batch brewers are smaller, convenient devices that brew less coffee but will fit in your fridge for brewing if colder temperature brewing is your preference. (For longer brewing times, you have to use the fridge.)
One pot brewers are basically a cross between a French press and a loose leaf tea brewer. All one pots mentioned here today use a metallic mesh filter. I am a fan of the one pot brewers because they are ideal for refrigerated cold brewing, which is the superior way of cold brewing. You can stick them in the door of the fridge almost like you would a bottle of ketchup. They also are convenient to use. The brewing vessel is also the carafe, you just take out the filter when the brewing time is over. Easy peasy.
This tidy coffee maker from Hario made homeground’s list of best cold brew coffee makers. It is convenient and affordable.
The carafe is made of glass which means that there is no potential plastic tastes from the carafe. However, it is extremely fragile and you will probably need to replace it regularly, thus negating the price argument.
The glass is heat proof, so it won’t break at high temperatures, though you don’t really care, because you can really use the plastic filter that comes with it at high temperatures, so it’s going to be strictly cold brew.
- Makes about 4-4.5 cups of coffee
- The spout is nice and allow a slow, steady and controlled pouring
This is great for decanting
- Reusable filters – wash and reuse
- Dishwasher safe
Remember the discussion about price? It applies to Hario as well, even though they have their die hard fans.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This is a plastic version of the one pot brewer which makes it more durable. I’ve heard complaints about the pitcher being made of plastic. The taste complaint, I can’t really comment much on it, in my tests, there was no off taste. However, plastic is so much worse for the environment, and I think they should have sticked to the glass version.
The pitcher comes in two sizes, which is amazing. A 1 quart and a 2 quart versions. I personally like the 2 quart version better because it gives us about 1.5 quarts of coffee concentrate, that we can further dilute and get up to 3 quarts of coffee.
One piece of advice. Brew it longer than Takeya recommend in their recipe, and you will get a stronger coffee that you need to dilute more.
Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This is a nice option because the bottom of the filter screws off which allows for easy clean up.
Electric Cold Brew Coffee Makers
This arguably shouldn’t be a section. Cold brew is best brewed over time with gravity and there should be no need for fiddly switches and electricity. However, Cuisinart have come up with an electric cold brew coffee maker that Business Insider recommends, which can brew a version of cold brew in an hour. This is done by spinning the brewing chamber which serves to aggravate the grinds and speed up brewing time.
If you are a busy person and time saving is your main goal, this is a useful machine in that regard. The cold brew isn’t going to be the best quality, but it is perfectly drinkable and being able to have a semi spontaneous cold brew makes a good argument for this coffee maker. Coffee Brewing Methods have an article where they compare the modern cold brew coffee makers, that can make cold brew very fast, even faster than Cuisinart’s one hour.
My best picks
Best for price and space
If you are looking for an affordable brewer that will easily brew in your fridge, a one pot brewer is the way to go. All of the one pot brewers mentioned here today are generally priced between $10-$20 which is affordable on almost any budget.
Within this category, I recommend the Takeya cold brew coffee maker. This brewer has the best combination of price and durability and fits nicely into your fridge door.
Best for quality, quantity and style
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are brewing in larger quantities and you have the counter top space, a batch brewer is for you. The batch brewers here today are all similarly priced and will cost you between $40 and $50, which is still very good value!
The overall batch brewer winner has to be the Oxo. It is stylish, functional, comes with several useful accessories and makes a great batch of cold brew. It is not quite the best pick for taste, but it is not far off.
Best for taste
The winner for taste today is the Filtron. Say what you will about how this machine looks, this batch brewer delivers the best tasting cup of cold brew hands down due its double filtration method. If taste is your only priority, look no further.