If you’re interested in buying a large batch cold brew coffee maker, you might find yourself looking at a fairly small pool of options. The big names on the market are Oxo, Filtron, and Toddy. For all of them, it comes down to features, price, and overall function. So, let’s take a look at the differences between the three. You can skip to the second half of the article for the comparison.
There are various cold brew methods, but we are reviewing today only cold steep coffee makers, also called full immersion cold brew coffee.
In the absence of heat, caffeine and other soluble compounds in the coffee bean dissolve very slow. This is why cold brew can take anywhere from 24-48 hours to make, depending on how strong you want the coffee.
Large Batch Immersion Cold Brew
To solve the slow brewing problem, coffee entrepreneurs invented the batch cold brewing. The concept behind batch cold brew coffee is that you prepare a large and concentrated batch of cold brew that you store in the fridge and then use for a few days. We store the coffee concentrate in the fridge, and we dilute it with water or milk just before drinking it.
The large batch coffeemaker uses the full immersion method for extraction. Full immersion is the cheapest method, and the brewing is very reliable, though is not the fastest or the most convenient method.
Many coffee lovers are turning to cold brew coffee because of its health benefits.
Cold brew coffee is less irritating to stomach than regular drip coffee. Cold brew coffee isn’t just for the hipsters. Many people can’t handle regular coffee because it triggers digestive issues like acid reflux and ulcers. For these coffee lovers cold brew might be the only way they can get drink coffee. It’s the best way to enjoy coffee without any discomfort.
Another reason people are choosing cold brew is the delicate flavor of cold brew; it is a very smooth coffee, almost sweet, with no acid. Also, it is not bitter like your regular cup of Joe.
What Is Cold Brew?
Cold brew is a coffee brewing method, that uses cold water for extracting soluble solids from the coffee grounds. Because of the low brewing temperature, we will need a longer extraction time. The extraction times are typically between 24-48 hours, but many people are choosing lower extractions with 12 hours steeping, and some choose up to 72 hours steeping, which will extract the best.
The longer steeping times maximize the total dissolved solids in your coffee, (TDS). These dissolved solids are what contribute to the aroma and flavor of your coffee, so longer steeping times provide greater amounts of those compounds.
What makes cold press brewing unique, is the low brewing temperature. The low temperature creates a different flavor profile than all heat-based brewing types. Bitter and acid compounds present in a French press or drip coffee cup are absent in a cold brew.
What Is the Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker?
We tested Oxo, Filtron, and Toddy and they all have their plusses and minuses. There is no absolute winner here, but we can nominate Oxo as the overall winner. The small design upgrades make it a better brewer and make a delicious cup.
Filtron is the winner in the filtering section, with the clearest cup of all. If you don’t like sludge in your cup, Filtron is your choice.
Toddy is the least expensive batch cold brew coffee maker, and their filter bags help with a cleaner cup. Toddy is the least messy of all, if you are using filtering bags.
A nice competitor, Takeya, is very compact for the amount of cold brew it can make.
The winner of immersion cold brew battle is in our opinion the humble disposable brew bag. It’s the simplest and cheapest way to make cold brew coffee, and the most convenient.
We have a special page on how to make cold brew with a mason jar and a disposable filter bag, we recommend you read it.
Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Toddy is the oldest cold brew system on the market, and is one of the most trusted. It is a simple system, built with durable materials, to ensure it a long life. It includes a simple brewing system that allows for an easy-to-use setup, even if you’re not the most technical person. Here is what the brewing kit includes:
- The brewing container
- Felt filter pads
- A glass decanter, (56 oz.)
- A rubber stopper for the brewing container
- Paper filter bags
The system is very similar to the Filtron system. To make a coffee you add the coffee grinds, water and steep the brew for 48 hours.
After steeping for 48 hours, remove the rubber stopper, and place the brewing chamber on top of the decanter.
The coffee gets filtered through the felt filter-pad, and is collected in the decanter. Toddy claims that the coffee made in their coffee maker is 67% less acid than regular coffee. Take that with a grain of salt…
The Toddy coffee maker has fewer pieces, and this makes the maintenance and operation simpler. In comparison, Filtron has a couple of pieces more which are added in order to improve the brewing experience.
What I love most about Toddy is the large brewing capacity of 2.5 quarts.
The Toddy filter bags are a nice addition, and it helps the brewing in a few ways:
- Cleaning up after brewing is simpler,
- They extend the life of the felt filter,
- They prevent clogging the filters during brewing,
- And they create a cleaner cup.
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The cold brew coffee maker from Oxo is as good as the older products from Toddy and Filtron. It came on the market later than the competition, but it came with a few tiny design details that make it competitive.
The improvements that I liked at this brewer don’t seem like much, but once you start using the Oxo, going back to a Toddy or a Filtron seems like a chore.
- The brewing container has a rainmaker cover that helps with an even distribution of water over the coffee bed.
- Another improvement is a switch to open the upper container when brewing is finished. This replaces the rubber stopper, and is more convenient.
- The third improvement is a mechanism that lets you remove the decanter before the brewing is complete. The auto-stop mechanism closes the valve when you remove the decanter, so there is no spilled coffee. I don’t recommend you use this because coffee is way more stronger. Remember, it’s a concentrate.
The filters are different from the felt pads from the competition, but they work perfectly, they are reusable and easy to clean.
All the parts of this brewer are BPA free.
The only problem with this cold brew coffee maker is that the brewing capacity is 1 quart, compared to the competition.
Oxo recommends the 1 to 4 ratio of coffee grounds to water. This is slightly different than the regular recipe. With their recipe, using 10 oz of coffee, and 5 cups of water, you will get 3.5 cups of coffee concentrate. You dilute that with water or milk to obtain around 14 cups of coffee.
Oxo has another newer model that is more compact, so it fits better in the fridge.
This is called Oxo Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker, and is slightly cheaper than the classic Oxo cold brew coffee maker.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Takeya, is the newest competitor in the same niche. Takeya stands out with a design that saves space, and it can be kept in the fridge easily.
The Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a durable BPA-Free pitcher with an airtight lid and non-slip silicone handle.
I don’t particularly like plastic for brewing my coffee, but this pitcher is made from Tritan, a BPA-free plastic, that can be used to even make hot coffee, if you wanted.
The non-slip handle is a nice touch, but the airtight lid is actually a great idea since it minimizes the risk of contamination.
The fine mesh coffee filter is finer than any other reusable filter, and will do a great job at keeping the sludge in. However, if you compare it with Filtron, or Toddy, you will have more sediment after brewing. I personally don’t fret too much about how much sediment there is in the final brew, I just leave it to decant in the fridge. When I pour a cup, I do it carefully to not disturb the decanted sludge.
Takeya comes in two sizes, 2 quart and 1 quart, but I recommend you purchase the larger unit, unless you have a small fridge.
Filtron Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Filtron is one of the leaders of the immersion cold brew coffee makers, with excellent reviews from its customers. You can brew a batch that can last you for weeks.
Filtron is a small device compared to other immersion coffee makers, but it will brew 50 ounces of coffee extract. Filtron recommends using 1lb per batch, which gives you a concentrated coffee syrup. You need to dilute the coffee concentrate with water in a 1 to 6 proportion.
The brewing system has two recipients, one for the water and one for the coffee grinds. The water container sits on top of the steeping container, which holds the coffee grinds during brewing.
The unit has a rubber stopper for the steeping container, a filter pad made of felt, and a 50 ounces decanter. There is also a grounds guard that sits on top of the coffee bed, to stop it from floating. This ensures that the coffee grinds are saturated with water during the brewing.
The Filtron can brew up to 1.5 quarts of coffee concentrate at a time.
Mason Jar Cold Brew Solutions
If you are looking for a simple and inexpensive solution to cold brew at home, the mason jar solution is probably your best choice. You will be able to reuse the mason jar you already own, you will just need to buy a filter for it.
The best solutions for filtering cold brew are the stainless steel mesh filters, and the single use Non-Woven fabric bags.
Stainless Steel Cold Brew Mesh Filters
There are many mesh filters on the market, some are better, some are not so great, and some are incredibly expensive for no reason. We recommend the Altura stainless steel mesh filter. They have two variants, one for a 1 quart mason jar, and one for a 2 quart mason jar. They are both inexpensive and pretty good at filtering, though you will have more sediment than with the Fitron, Toddy, or Oxo.
Disposable Cold Brew Coffee Bags
The solution we like the most, is very convenient, with the least of work and mess in the kitchen, and with less sediment than the stainless steel mesh filters. This is the brew bag.
My long life love, Toddy, or my newest crush Oxo, I am sorry to dump you for the brew bag.
The brewing process with a cold brew coffee bag is simple and requires almost no work from your part. Just fill the brew bag with your favorite coffee and immerse it in the water. Let it steep for the desired amount of time, then simply remove the bag with the coffee grinds and serve.
There is no clean up and mess as with other immersion methods. Just throw the brew bag with the spent coffee grounds in the compost bin, and you are ready for a new batch. We have an article on how to make cold brew coffee in a mason jar, using a disposable filter bag, if you need to review it. We also have some great tips in that article, that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you are still confused which one of the cold brew system to buy, here is how we can summarize this for you.
Toddy is the best cold brew coffee maker for larger batches, with a good filtering system. It brews 2.5 quarts of coffee concentrate, which is a lot.
Filtron is the king in the filtration area, with the perfect felt filter, unmatched by any other coffee makers.
Takeya is the best cold brew coffee maker for saving space in the fridge, and for avoiding contamination, which is always a risk with cold brew. You will need to let the brew settle, since the filter is not as great as Toddy’s or Filtron’s.
Oxo is the most feature rich of the immersion cold brew coffee makers, with better filtration than Takeya, but not as good as the other two competitors. The problem is it only brews 1 quart of coffee, (1 liter).
For really cheap cold brew at home, the stainless steel mesh tube is unbeatable. But you will have to compensate with work to dedicate every time you brew a batch.
My favorite solution is the disposable cold brew bag, which is a modern, clean, and convenient take on the old coffee sock solution which I never liked. They are cheap, they filter perfectly, clean to work with and eco friendly.