Cold brew coffee is hard to beat. As the weather starts to heat up and drinking a cup of pour-over in the morning gets you sweating, turning to colder coffee alternatives becomes more appealing. You can pick up some good cold brew from any half decent coffee shop, or, with a cold brew coffee maker, you can make your own at home.
If you’re going the home route then you’re going to want to know which cold brew coffee maker is the best. Making cold brew, however, can be quite tricky. You’re going to want something that simplifies the process and gives you control of all of the variables involved.
That’s where we come in. Luckily for you, we at Caffeine Fiend have nothing better to do than sit around, drink coffee and look for the best products on the market.
In the quest for the ultimate cold brew coffee maker, we present to you our findings.
The Top 7 Manual Cold Brew Coffee Makers Ranked and Reviewed
Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Price
Pros & Cons
OXO BREW Cold Brew Coffee Maker
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|+ Rain extraction method results in more uniform extraction
+ Beautiful design that doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen
– Plastic construction may affect the flavor of the concentrate.
– Unable to make big batch brews.
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
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|+ Very affordable
+ Easy to use and clean
– Only makes very small batches of cold brew
Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
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|+ Makes relatively fast cold brew compared to other methods
– Fairly expensive
– Requires electricity
– Doesn’t make cold brew in the traditional sense
Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker
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|+ Drip method means almost no sediment makes it through to the final product
+ Adjustable drip setting allows for speed control
– Can be quite tricky to set up
– Incorrect coarseness can result in uneven extraction
– Fairly expensive
KitchenAid Cold Brew Maker
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|+ Beautiful design that looks great in any kitchen
+ Spigot attachment makes for easy dispensing
– Spigot may leak from time to time
Country Line Kitchen Cold Brew Coffee Maker
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|+ Ideal for large batch brewing
+ Simple to use
+ Easy to clean
– Coarse filter means sediment occasionally finds its way into the concentrate
Toddy Cold Brew System
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|+ Easy to use and clean
+ Reusable wool filters can help reduce sediment
+ Ideal for brewing large batches of cold brew
– System can sometimes be messy
– Rubber plug tends to leak slightly if not properly attached
Sidebar: Cold Brew Coffee vs Iced Coffee
Before we dig into the buyer’s guide and reviews, let’s dispel a few misconceptions first. When we talk about cold brew coffee, some people might think that we’re referring to iced coffee. In reality, they’re two completely different things.
The main differences between cold brew coffee and iced coffee are the brewing methods.
Iced coffee is coffee – whether an americano or espresso – which is brewed hot before being chilled – usually by adding ice or cold milk. Cold brew coffee is brewed using room temperature water and a slow extraction method, and takes up to 16 hours to make.
These different methods have a direct effect on the final taste of the coffee. Iced coffee is going to maintain the characteristic bitterness that most coffee is known for (unless sweetener is added). Cold brew, however, tends to be a lot more smooth and way less acidic.
Another difference between the two drinks is their consistency. The cold brew method produces an initial concentrate which is then diluted with milk or water before drinking. An iced coffee is generally good to go from the start.
And while we’re on the topic – it’s worth noting that most of the coffee makers on this list are going to produce a very intense concentrate. Therefore you’re always going to want to have some water or milk ready to dilute it with. Drink this stuff straight and you’re probably going to have heart palpitations.
The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Our Ranking Factors
On our mission to find the best cold brew coffee maker, we examined a number of different variables:
There are generally two methods which are employed to make a stellar cup of cold brew: drip and immersion. Some people prefer the drip method because it separates the coffee grounds from the water completely. However, many others tend to use the full-immersion method as it’s a much more passive approach, and way less time intensive.
A cold brew coffee maker is as complicated as you want it to be. At its most basic it’s a section of cheese cloth and a mason jar. The more complicated designs include tiered structures with different filters that have to be attached at various stages during the brewing process.
We took tried to include a good mix of different designs to give you a broad idea of what’s available.
Size is one of the most critical factors when it comes to cold brew coffee makers. While the initial instinct might be to buy the coffee maker with the largest volume, these can take up immense amounts of kitchen counter space.
Most cold brew coffee makers can brew about four cups of cold brew concentrate at once. This keeps for about two weeks and is diluted with water before drinking, so your final yield is going to be about twice that amount. It’s important to keep this in mind when buying; bigger might not always mean better.
All cold brew coffee makers require some kind of filter to produce concentrate. However, the exact type of filter differs from maker to maker.
Disposable paper filters are easy to use, but can become expensive as time goes on and are also not great for the environment. Longer-lasting filters require some care when cleaning, but can be used upwards of ten times. We took care to include models that used different types of filters so you can find one that best suits your needs.
And our last ranking factor is price. Cold brew coffee making requires exactly two things: coffee and water. For that reason the equipment used to make it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
However, like most products, there are levels to exactly how costly they can be. Pricier doesn’t always mean better, but then again that depends on what your needs and expectations are. The following list contains coffee makers of all price points so you can find the best one for you.
The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Breakdowns and Reviews
1. OXO BREW Cold Brew Coffee Maker Review
Best Overall Cold Brew Coffee Maker
OXO did something incredibly right when they thought up the design for their cold brew coffee maker. As functional as it is aesthetically pleasing, the OXO Cold Brew Coffee maker is a big net positive for any kitchen.
There are a few ingenious features that sets the OXO apart from others. The perforated rainmaker at the top of the machine allows water to evenly distribute over the coffee grounds for optimal flavor extraction. On top of that the brew release switch allows for simple and easy filtration control.
The carafe is also made of a resilient borosilicate glass, meaning it’s less likely to break and warp. Oh, and it can hold a whopping 32 ounces of cold brew concentrate. It’s hard to find another product that offers such high functionality and intelligent design at the same price.
Best Budget Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for something that’s well-designed, easy to use and produces great results every time, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better than Takeya’s little beast. The Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker also won’t even put a dent in your wallet.
It’s the cheapest on this list, which is why it earned the title of “Best Budget Cold Brew Coffee Maker.” But the low price tag doesn’t mean it lacks functionality.
In fact, in addition to the price, the Takeya’s brewing method is what sets it apart from other cold brew coffee makers. It features a separate filter which coffee grounds are added to before being screwed in to the main carafe. Simply add water to the carafe, set it aside, and you’re good to go in a couple of hours.
The only downside to this is that the concentrate produced might be slightly weaker than normal. But since most people dilute the final product with water or milk anyway, this might not be such a big concern.
The design is simplicity itself, and means you don’t have to worry about filters, plugs or valves. Just add coffee and water, place it in the fridge, and when you wake up your coffee is good to go.
Best Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
It’s a design flaw inherent in the very nature of cold brew – it takes a long time to make. If you’re impatient and want your cold brew now, then the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker is the best you’re going to get.
Keep in mind that it’s not as immediate as making an espresso, but when compared to traditional cold brew production times, it’s pretty quick. This machine allows you three different strength settings with corresponding brew times. Mild takes 25 minutes, medium 35, and bold 45.
And while the machine is simple enough to use, it does require electricity, a consideration that might put some people off. It works by agitating the water and coffee grounds to speed up the extraction process, then depositing it in the carafe below. Unfortunately some grit tends to get past the filter, which for some people is a deal breaker.
The only way you’re going to get true, delicious and smooth cold brew is the old fashioned way. That being said, if you can’t bear the wait then the Cuisinart is not a bad choice. For its price, however, you might be better off just buying multiple manual cold brew machines.
4. Bruer Drip Coffee Maker Review
Best Grit-Free Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you’re not in the market for a cold brew coffee maker that uses the immersion as its primary extraction method, then look no further than the Bruer Drip Coffee Maker. As the name suggests, it uses a drip method for the smoothest, grit free coffee this side of town.
The design might look a little crazy at first, but it’s actually quite simple to use. Simply add coffee grounds to the chamber containing a steel mesh filter, dampen the grounds and place a paper filter of top. Snap the container into the glass carafe and fill the top section with water and ice.
Twist the knob in the center to control the
drip speed. The ideal drip rate is about a drop of water per second. At this
point you just sit back, relax and let gravity do all the work.
This is quite a pricey piece of machinery. But hey, grit-free coffee doesn’t come cheap, and this bad boy is pretty!
5. KitchenAid Cold Brew Maker Review
I think it’s safe to say that KitchenAid are known for developing beautiful, if not quite high-tier functional products. Their cold brew maker is no exception.
One look at this handsome fella and you’ll fall instantly in love. For good reason – it’s gorgeous. Constructed of stainless steel and glass, this cold brew maker would look right at home on any kitchen shelf or counter.
Its looks aren’t its only strong point either. Designed with a stainless steel grounds tray that fits into a larger glass container, and a spigot for easy pouring and dispensing. Some users commented that extra fine grit made its way through the fitler, but the spigot seems to trap the worst of it.
This is both a statement piece as well as an effective piece of equipment. If you’re someone who appreciates style and classy designs, then this is undoubtedly the piece of kit for you.
Best Large-Batch Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you like to make huge batches of coffee a week in advance or simply have a lot of thirsty friends, then you need the Cold Brew Coffee Maker from Country Line Kitchen. Comprised of a two-quart mason jar and stainless steel filter basket to brew, the brew system is exceedingly simple.
Add a ton of coffee grounds to the filter basket and pour 64oz of water slowly through it. Let it sit for 12 hours (24 if it’s in the fridge), remove the filter basket and it’s ready to pour.
It’s worth pointing out that you should use quite a coarse grind of coffee with this cold brew coffee maker. The mesh filter tends to let smaller particles through and this makes for a grittier final product. That being said, the concentrate it produces tends to be smooth and not acidic at all.
It’s affordable and a great system for making large amounts of cold brew at once. Country Line Kitchen is also a Wisconsin-based, family-owned business. So you can rest assured that your money is supporting local operations.
7. Toddy Cold Brew System Review
Best Minimalist Cold Brew Coffee System
When discussing cold brew coffee makers it’s hard not to bring up the Toddy. Constructed by chemical engineer Todd Simpson in 1964, the Toddy Cold Brew System is practically an institution.
The construction is a simple, no-frills design that places the emphasis on functionality rather than aesthetics.
And function it does. While it does rely on reusable or disposable filters, the Toddy consistently produces rich, smooth and full-bodied cold brew concentrate.
Its only design flaw is the rubber stopper which has to be removed manually to drain the cold brew concentrate into the bottom glass carafe. It almost always results in some of the concentrate getting on the counter or onto your hands.
But if a little clean up doesn’t bother you then the Toddy Cold Brew System is the way to go. For its price it’s unlikely to break the bank, but is likely to consistently produce delicious cold brew coffee.
The Complete Buyer’s Guide for Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
While the production process is important, when it comes to cold brew the most crucial ingredient will always be the beans. In order to achieve the low acidity, smoothness and lack of bitterness which the cold brew is known for, a good roast is always required. Here are our favorites:
Red Flags To Watch Out For
While it’s generally pretty difficult to mess up a cold brew completely, there are a few things that you might want to avoid.
– Always check the filters of the cold brew coffee maker you’re investing in. If it’s too porous or not sealed properly, then it’s probably no good. The beauty of cold brew is in its smoothness, and any type of grit is going to ruin that consistency.
Yes, extremely! While some of the cold brew systems feature different carafes, filters and drip methods, generally making cold brew is a very straightforward affair. At its core it consists of nothing more than immersing coffee grounds in water for a long period of time.
As long as you have some sort of fine-mesh filter, coarse coffee grounds and some clean water, you’re good to go!
Because cold brew is brewed as a concentrate, it tends to have significantly more caffeine than say an ordinary drip coffee. That being said, it usually gets diluted before consumption. However, if you’re someone who wants to sip cold brew like you would an espresso, just be careful – you might just get the shakes.
One of the wonderful things about cold brew coffee is its ability to keep for long periods of time. Unlike hot coffee, which pretty much loses all appeal as soon as it cools, you can store cold brew for up to two weeks in concentrate form. While you can brew it in large batches to store, it’s flavor profile starts to disintegrate after a week.
Cold brew coffee takes between 8 – 24 hours to make depending on a number of different factors. A general rule of thumb is that the warmer the water, the quicker the extraction. Using room temperature water will get you a batch in 12 hours, but putting your cold brew in the fridge will take a full day.
If you like your cold brew weaker, just remove the grounds before the full 12 hours has elapsed.