Do you want to make the same high-quality cold brew coffee that’s served in popular coffee chains? Do you know you can actually do cold brew just as easily at home? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the delicate process of making cold coffee at home with the top-notch cold brew coffee makers that we’ve chosen from dozens of available options. You’ll learn the benefits of cold brew, the type of beans you should use, tips and life-hacks to make the resulting product look and taste exquisitely delicate. We’ll review the TOP 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers to help you make the type of coffee that would impress your friends!
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- What is a cold brew coffee?
- Benefits of cold brew coffee
- What is a cold brew coffee maker?
- How cold brew coffee makers work
- Types of cold brew coffee makers
- Tips for making the best cold brew coffee
- TOP 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Nailing the process of brewing cold coffee makes an impressive conversation starter at parties. You can never go wrong with learning too much about it because everyone likes coffee. We’ve even come up with a special type of break calling it a “coffee break”, which is yet another excuse to break away from the hard working and stressful day to indulge in a cup of coffee with a piece of a light dessert.
I love coffee. I am not a fan of iced cold coffee though. First off, because I live in a cold climate, and it would be at least strange if I drank ice coffee outside when the air was coarse cold and the snow chaotically covered everything it could touch. But did you know that you can actually make a cold brew coffee hot? And it would be totally legit, like, you wouldn’t spoil the cold brew or anything. You’ll have all the benefits of the cold brew along with the hot temperature which in combination will make your taste buds go overboard. So, long story short, cold brew is not something that one can only afford living in sunny Florida or California, but also in Maine, Wyoming, or New York during those cold winter days.
So, what is a cold brew coffee, anyway? Cold brew is a ground coffee soaked in room temperature water and then strained; the produced concentrate is then mixed with water, ice, or cream. The steeping process can take up to 24 hours, but the results are totally different from the iced coffee. The iced coffee is something that you brew hot and then pour over ice. It has to be brewed stronger to compensate for the dilution that comes with ice, thus making the ice coffee so bitter.
Cold brew, on the contrary, utilizes a gentle process of extracting flavors from the ground beans during the steeping process, which makes it naturally a bit sweeter and way more delicate.
Cold brew is more than 60% less acidic than regular coffee, which is better for your stomach and teeth. Besides, if you suffer from acid reflux and still want to enjoy the benefits and flavors of coffee, then cold brew is your best bet. Also, with less acid, all that bitterness that’s seldom associated with a hot brew coffee is eliminated, and the resulting taste is sweet and exquisite.
Of course, you can do a cold brew coffee at home without any sophisticated devices; all you need is a jar and cheesecloth. But if you are serious about your love for coffee, then you can’t do without one of those cool extras to make brewing easier and more efficient.
Anyway, the cold brew coffee maker is essentially a device that produces large quantities of coffee concentrate that you then dilute and consume.
But before you go off running to the nearest coffee store or online to purchase a cold brew coffee maker, let’s see how different types of coffee makers work.
In essence, all cold brew coffee makers work the same way: hands-off, they produce a coffee concentrate from freshly ground beans that can later be stored in a refrigerator or immediately diluted with another drink of your choice (water, cream, milk, etc). However, there are variations to this process depending on the type of cold brew maker you choose.
The simple cold brew makers (and the most affordable and popular options) are either glass or plastic jars/carafes with mesh filters. The classic representative of this type is the coffee maker from Takeya. As you can see, it is of a very simple yet sleek design with no additional frills or sophisticated accouterments. With this type of cold brew maker, all you have to do is put your ground coffee into a mesh infuser, submerge it in cool or room temperature water and place the maker in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
The second type is automatic cold brew makers, like Cuisinart Coffeemaker. These machines dramatically cut the preparation time to as little as 25 to 45 minutes, which is amazing if you’re on the go all the time. They use spinning technology that spins the coffee for a pre-set amount of time: for example, 25 minutes for mild, 45 - for strong. They usually consist of a glass or plastic carafe (jar, beaker) that sits underneath the spinning machine with a water reservoir and coffee chamber. You put your ground coffee into the coffee chamber, place it in the water reservoir, pour the specified amount of water over it, and click on a button to cold brew your coffee. After 25 to 45 minutes, you slid the lever to release the “brewed” coffee into the carafe. The resulting mixture is the same coffee concentrate that you get with the other systems only for less time.
The third and the final type of coffee maker is a little more complicated than the previous two and requires more time and effort. This type of cold brew system consists of a carafe and a plastic jar with a reusable filter (which usually lasts about one to two month). Put one layer of ground coffee inside the plastic jar very gently, so as not to clog the filter; slowly pour over water, then put another layer of coffee on top, let it soak for 15 minutes, come back and pour over water again. Gently stir without disturbing the filter. Store the plastic jar with a solution in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Then remove the plug from underneath the plastic container and let it sit on top of a carafe for the coffee to drain for about 15 to 20 minutes. Allocate approximately 13 hours for making this type of coffee: 25 minutes preparation time, 12 hours in the fridge, and another 25 minutes for drainage. Surprisingly enough, this type of cold brew makers is very popular among professional baristas. The Toddy Cold Brew System, the best representative of this type of cold brew makers, is used in Starbucks chains across the world.
All methods of coffee brew making follow the same simple formula: cool water, ground coffee, steeping overnight. However, the change of variables in this formula will produce different results. For example, if you use finely ground coffee, you’ll get a cloudier drink; stronger coffee to water ratio will produce a stronger drink, etc.
Let’s look at some other things that will influence the resulting concentrate.
- You need freshly grounded beans for more exquisite and delicate flavor. As for the beans, the cold brew is very forgiving in regard to coffee age, but you still want to get a fresh batch of beans. Doesn’t need to be high-end, though. More about the type of beans for a cold brew read at the end of this guide.
- Set your grinder to the coarsest setting unless you want your drink cloudy and grimy (which I am sure you don’t)
- The generic coffee-to-water ratio is a quarter-pound of coarsely ground fresh beans to four cups of water.
- As for the temperature, food critics and baristas at times have diametrically opposite opinions on the subject. However, if you think that temperature is crucial, then it’s not so simple. The generic recipes all call for the room temperature water. But you can use any, really, even hot. And the results will differ depending on what water you actually use. Don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, if you need your cold brew in the morning, but it’s already 11 pm, then simply pour hot water on your freshly ground beans to kick-start the brewing faster. Store the solution in the fridge overnight, and you can have your coffee at 6 or 7 am. Hot water, however, highlights different flavors from cold water, so you have to be prepared for that. If you are not ready to experiment, then the rule of thumb is to use room temperature water.
- Water-to-concentrate ratio. It would be wise to dilute your coffee with water in 50 to 50 ratio to cut down on caffeine and bitterness if any.
- The type of cold brew coffee maker you choose will influence the time you steep your coffee for. Like, in case you choose the simple mesh infuser then steep your coffee for 24 hours, if it’s automatic then 45 minutes is the max, if you choose Toddy or similar systems, you need to allocate at least 12 hours for steeping.
- Cold brew stays in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you immediately dilute it with water, its shelf life cuts down to 3 days.
- As for the filters, they usually come with the brewing system you buy. The manufacturers also provide replacement parts, or you can order them separately, like these Toddy filters, specifically designed for the cold brew. I wouldn’t recommend experimenting with filters that are not designed for a specific machine because it can mess up the whole process and you’ll destroy your coffee (and I bet you don’t want to do that)
Now let’s cover the TOP 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers that we’ve sifted through many other not-so-great options. You’ll read about very basic infusers, automatic brewers, sophisticated coffee towers, and makers that are used in national coffee chains.
Let’s start with the basic type. A carafe with a mesh basket is a very simple type of cold brew coffee makers that we’ve covered a little earlier in this guide. They usually consist of a glass or plastic carafe and a mesh infuser. These devices, as simple as they might look, are pretty versatile and can be used for making tea as well. Some representatives of this classic type are described below:
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Takeya is by far a national bestseller. It’s manufactured in the USA, so you don’t have to worry about quality, it is outstanding. Add 14 to 16 scoops of coffee into a mesh infuser, then add 32 ounces of cold water into the carafe, and lower the infuser with coffee into the water. Steep it overnight for at least 24 hours. It’s priced affordably, of a great quality, with good customer feedback, and a bunch of some serious followers, so Takeya is a solid recommendation.
Takeya: Check the current price
Hario"Mizudashi" Cold Brew Coffee Pot
This beast sounds like a Japanese samurai. In fact Hario is an industry leader that produces pour over brewing equipment. The company helped to bring “coffee renaissance” in the US by introducing the specially designed brewing systems to cafes and restaurants that eventually led to the regenesis of high-quality coffee in America.
The Hario Mizudashi device that we feature here, however, is not much different from Takeya, except that you can buy a smaller size: about 20 ounces. Critics say it’s too tall and can easily be knocked over. But with any Hario devices what you can surely expect is high-quality of glass and mesh materials that would serve you for years.
Hario: Check the current price
Cold Brew Coffee Maker Kit from Cawabon
This one looks pretty modern and sleek and comes with some nice accouterments like an ice cube tray and non-slip coasters, which can come in handy. The manufacturer says they utilize a 200-micron leak free mesh in the infuser which makes for greater coffee. Everyone seemed generally pleased with the brewer, and those who were not, just simply wished it was bigger.
Cawabon: Check the current price
The Original Cold Brew on Tap by Willow & Everett
This hipster looking glass jar with a tap is essentially the same thing as others above. The only thing that’s different is the design and a tap. The overall construction makes it a perfect gift for a vintage fan or a yuppie. People who have tested the product seemed to like it, those who didn’t, often complained about the quality of the filter. However, this thing is huge (1 gallon), so will work marvelously if you seldom hold coffee receptions at your place.
Willow & Everett: Check the current price
Cuisinart DCB-10 Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
This automatic coffee brewer is somewhat on the pricey side. However, judging by the positive customer response, it’s well worth the money. Cuisinart features a 7-cup glass carafe with removable stainless steel filter lid, coffee filter basket, and a removable water tank. It has 3 modes of brewing from 25 to 45 minutes. To have an idea of how it works, you may want to watch a manufacturer’s video explaining the coffee brewing process.
Cuisinart: Check the current price
Dash Rapid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Dash is even more expensive than Cuisinart, making it the most expensive device on our list. This is a somewhat different brewer all together that makes coffee in less than 15 minutes. It comes with a separate coffee container and a carafe. The manufacturer uses what it calls patent-pending ColdBoil Technology, which at first sight looks like interconnected vessels. Unfortunately, though, the system doesn’t seem to work well, because the bottoms of a brewing chamber and a carafe are not adequately sealed, often resulting in leakage.
Dash: Check the current price
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
What makes OXO stand out is a perforated (what it calls) Rainmaker lid that evenly distributes water over coffee. To start using OXO, add filter pad to the brewing container, screw the filter cap on, and place the container on the OXO stand. Add a ground coffee to the container and place the rainmaker lid on top. Pour water through a rainmaker in a circular motion. Wait for 5 minutes, remove the lid, and stir the coffee mixture. Place the rainmaker lid back on and leave the solution to brew for 12 to 24 hours. Put a carafe underneath the brewer and release the brew switch. Voila, your coffee will drain within 15 minutes. Overall, this is a best-selling device, but not without its flaws: it seems to leak and the carafe is too fragile. They even sell a replacement carafe because so many customers complained that their ones broke.
Toddy Cold Brew
Toddy is the most famous cold brew coffee maker out there. It works just the same as OXO, but costs half as less. Besides, it’s been used in major coffee chains (like Starbucks) across the globe, although the process that goes into making the cold brew with this beast is somewhat time and effort consuming. To get an idea of what an average barista have to go through while making a cold brew with Toddy watch this video.
Toddy: Check the current price
Yama Glass 6-8 Cup Cold Drip Maker Curved Brown Wood Frame
The monstrously huge Yama tower that you may have seen in some plush trendy cafes is certainly not a necessity for making an average cold brew at home. However, it can, indeed, impress your girlfriend. And if you can afford it, then why the heck not? This sleek wooden tower with glass vessels, baroque spirals, a slow drip system will definitely make the coffee drinking more enjoyable and byzantine. Who does not want to feel slightly more important than they actually are?
So, anyway, there are 4 parts to the Yama cold brew system: the top is for water, then there’s a coffee dispenser, a spiral chamber, and a final carafe for the resulting brew. Release the valve for the water to drip (approximately 45 drops per minute). The whole process lasts for about 3 hours. Way less than you get with Toddy and regular systems. It’s fancy, trendy, hipster, but very pricey, takes a lot of space, and on top of that it’s very fragile.
Yama Glass: Check the current price
Tastes differ and people like all sorts of beans in their cold brew. For example, the columnist from the Washington Post swore by the natural Costa Rican beans, which, he said, tasted like “chocolate-covered grapes”. He then disclosed his findings to a fellow barista who said he was not surprised and would rather recommend naturals for a cold brew than overly processed coffee. If you won’t find Costa Rican, then natural Columbia will be a good replacement.
But since coffee is pretty much like wine in the sense that everyone prefers different versions of the same drink, there’s no single answer to questions like “what beans are the best for a cold brew.” This especially applies for the type of roast, light, medium, or dark, to each their own. There is the coffee specifically marketed as “cold brew”, meaning you don’t have to search for the beans that would taste perfect, the professionals have already done it for you. The most popular is the Dark Roast Coffee Beans from Koffee Kult. Prices of the other cold brew coffee beans start from $12.
How long do I need to steep cold brew?
With Yama it’s 3 hours, with Toddy it’s 12, with simple infused mesh systems it could be up to 24.
What water temperature for a cold brew would you recommend?
Room temperature is the best for steeping cold brew.
How strong is the resulting brew?
It depends on what water-to-coffee ratio you will use. If you use more coffee and less water, guess what? It’s going to be strong. And vice versa.
Does cold brew coffee have more caffeine than hot?
More caffeine is released with hot water. The hotter the water, the more caffeine you will get. Meaning you will have way less caffeine in your cold brew.
Which coffee beans should I use for this type of brewing?
If you think that the regular beans you like for your hot brew will work the same way for the cold, then you’re mistaken, you can get a very disappointing result. Since tastes are different, you will have to try several brands before you find your top choice. There is coffee specifically designed for cold brews. We recommend starting from there.
Is cold brew coffee less acidic?
Yes, in fact, it contains 67% less acid than the hot brew.
Can cold brew coffee make you sick?
If you drink too much of anything, you can become sick. But everything is fine in moderation.
Can cold brew coffee be stored at room temperature?
Yes. I would not leave it though for more than 24 hours.
How often should I change filters in coffee brewers?
Every 10 times, or once a month. If you’re not making your coffee often, then every two months.
How to clean cold coffee maker?
Each maker is different, some of them are safe to wash in a dishwasher. Please, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to be on a safe side.
Comparative chart of Cold Brew Coffee Makers
If you have not yet tried a cold brew coffee, then you definitely should. You will fall in love with it at first taste. And when you do, you would want to make it at home, trust me. And this is when our guide will be your guiding star in helping you choose the best coffee maker on the market. Happy brewing!