The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers (Immersion And Cold Drip Brewer Reviews)
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you could reach into your refrigerator and grab a bottle of cold brewed coffee on a hot summer day?
For that, you’d have to visit a nearby coffee shop and buy a crate of their bottled cold brew. Not to mention, you’d be spending a load of money.
What if you could make cold brew at home?
It’s simple, cheap, and you can have as much of it as you want. (But please, show a little restraint — too much of it can give you the shakes.)
In this article, we will review 7 cold brew coffee makers, so you can pick one and enjoy this delicious beverage without leaving the comfort of your home.
- Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee: Which Is Better?
- Cold Brew Coffee Maker Buying Guide
- The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers In 2020
- The Verdict On The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee: Which Is Better?
First off, cold brew coffee and iced coffee are quite different.
Sure, they are both chilled, caffeinated beverages, but the process of making them gives them a distinct taste.
Iced coffee is made by brewing coffee with hot water (as you usually would), but substituting some of that hot water with ice. You’d ideally drip your coffee directly onto the ice cubes, and swirl the final beverage to make sure the ice dissolves completely. Then you pour it over some ice cubes and enjoy a nice, refreshing glass of iced coffee. An iced Americano is made in a similar fashion by using a shot of espresso brewed in the same way.
Cold brew coffee is prepared by using cold water (i.e., room temperature) to extract the flavors of ground coffee beans. Since the water is cold, it can take up to 12 hours to extract the flavors from the coffee. The result is a cold brew concentrate that you can store in your refrigerator for up to a week. To enjoy a refreshing glass of cold brew, top off the concentrate with some cold water and ice. You could even add hot water to your cold brew concentrate to make some hot coffee!
Related: Best Drip Coffee Makers
Cold brewing brings out the chocolaty nature of coffee but mellows out the acidity and bitterness. On the other hand, iced coffee highlights the flavor profile of the beans, but you’d need to use more coffee than usual to make a good cup. According to James Hoffman:
When coffee gets cold, it loses some of its aromatic intensity… That’s true of any cold beverage.
We love both styles of brewing and would leave the choice of “which one is better,” up to you. However, this article is about cold brew coffee makers, so let’s see what features you should be looking for before buying one.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker Buying Guide
However, dedicated cold brew coffee makers bring additional functionality to the table. If you are in the market for one of these coffee makers, you might want to evaluate them on the following factors:
- Capacity: Do you want to brew enough coffee to last you a week or more, or would you prefer brewing a fresh batch every couple of days? Keep in mind that the bigger the capacity, the more space the cold brew coffee maker will occupy.
- Level of involvement: How hands-on do you want the cold brewing process to be? Some coffee makers might require you to follow specific procedures or recipes to get the best results, so it could take some getting used to.
- Cleanup: No one wants to do a ton of cleanup after brewing their coffee. Some coffee makers are more convenient than others when it comes to ease of cleaning.
- Cost: How much are you willing to invest in your cold brew equipment? If you drink a lot of it or entertain frequently, you might be able to justify spending that extra cash.
Whatever your requirements are for a cold brew coffee maker, we’re sure you’ll find one that you like in our list of…
The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers In 2020
Cold brew is all the rage these days, so a variety of cold brewing equipment has flooded the market. We believe the following are some of the best ones you can buy.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This Takeya coffee brewer could easily be the best cold brew coffee maker for your money. Just add coarsely ground coffee into the fine mesh filter basket, fill the BPA-free plastic pitcher with water, and put the filter basket into the pitcher. That’s it. Leave the pitcher out on your counter or in the refrigerator overnight, and you’ll have a nice, cold pitcher of cold brew ready.
Takeya recommends unscrewing the airtight lid and swirling the mixture around a few times during the brewing process. After brewing, remove the filter basket, dump the coffee grounds, and rinse the filter. You can store the cold brew in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Remember to let your drink stand for a couple of minutes before drinking, though. Since it uses a reusable mesh filter, it does permit some sediment to pass through into the concentrate.
The Takeya cold brew coffee maker is available in 2 sizes, 1 quart and 2 quarts. We love the fact that the pitchers can fit easily into the refrigerator doors, and are good for traveling too. The best part is the unbelievably low price. Taking all those factors into consideration, this is is one coffee maker that delivers total bang for your buck.
Hario Mizudashi Coffee Pot
Hario is a well-known manufacturer of manual brewing coffee equipment. It’s no surprise then that they decided to make the Mizudashi Coffee Pot, a cold brew coffee maker.
The Hario cold brew coffee maker is very similar to the Takeya above and uses the same principle. Add ground coffee to the nylon filter basket and put it into the glass pitcher. Then pour water over the grounds until the pitcher is almost full. Leave it to steep for 12 to 24 hours, and you end up with delicious cold-brewed coffee.
The Mizudashi, though, requires a little more hands-on approach to fill up with coffee and water. The reusable nylon mesh will probably get clogged if you try to pour water over a basket full of coffee grounds, leading to spillage. Hario recommends that you alternate between adding a small amount of coffee grounds and pouring a little bit of water over it until you’ve added all your coffee and water. On the flip side, the nylon material makes this coffee maker easier to clean.
Most user reviews have commented on the fact that the brew that you get from the Hario Mizudashi isn’t as concentrated as from other cold brew coffee makers.
In our books, that’s not necessarily a negative. It’s one less step before you can drink your chilled caffeine beverage. We love the fact that it has a glass pitcher and all its components are dishwasher-safe. It might not be as portable as the Takeya, but it will fit just as easily into your fridge door. It’s available in 2 sizes, 600 ml, and 1,000 ml.
Toddy Cold Brew System
Todd Simpson, a chemical engineering graduate of Cornell University, created this patented cold brew system in 1964. Since then, it has been one of the most popular cold brew coffee makers among enthusiasts and baristas.
The design is pretty much unchanged since the time it was conceptualized. It consists of a plastic brewing container with a removable handle, a felt filter pad, and a rubber stopper.
This US-made brewer quite simple to use too. Plug the hole at the bottom of the container with the stopper, affix the filter pad into its place and mix the coffee grounds with cold water in the container. After the mixture has steeped for 12-24 hours, carefully remove the rubber stopper and let your cold brew drip down into the glass decanter. You can put a lid on the decanter and store the brew in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The Toddy coffee maker has a few drawbacks, though. For example, the flimsy handle for the container just doesn’t cut it when you have to lift it; there’s no lid for the plastic container; the felt filter needs to be stored carefully and might need replacing after some time.
However, those are minor niggles. The Toddy Cold Brew System produces 32 oz of strong, smooth, cold brew concentrate. It’s the best choice for a regular cold brew drinker who loves the unabashed, bold coffee flavor in their brew.
Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewing System
The Filtron Brewing System is very similar to the Toddy, but it comes with some additional features that make it a worthy contender for the best cold brew coffee maker.
The Filtron uses a plastic coffee bowl where you have to mix the coffee grounds and cold water. You also get a wool filter pad and rubber stopper to decant the cold brew into the provided 1.5 L plastic decanter.
The Filtron coffee maker also comes with an additional water bowl, which sits on top of the coffee bowl. It has a hole in its center so that the water drips onto the coffee grounds. To ensure that the dripping water is distributed evenly, you can use the perforated plastic disc, called the “grounds guard.” A few users reported these extra bits weren’t particularly helpful, though.
Similar to the Toddy, the decanting process takes time and is a bit of a hassle. You have to lift the coffee bowl, unplug the stopper, and balance the whole contraption on the narrow decanter. We recommend being a little careful when doing it and making sure it sits in a place where no one disturbs it. Otherwise, you could be cleaning up the remnants of the cold brew from your kitchen floor.
The Filtron system produces 32 oz of lip-smacking coffee concentrate, which can serve 14-16 guests and can be stored for up to 4 weeks. It will take up a lot of space, so it’s best for large batches of cold brew.
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker is one of the best brewers on the market, and many people swear by the robust, aromatic coffee it produces.
This OXO coffee maker has a unique rainmaker lid which ensures that the water wets the coffee grounds uniformly to ensure efficient extraction. It also uses a metal mesh filter to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds, which gives the brew its unique, full-bodied flavor.
Just set it to “on,” and the cold brew will drip into the included borosilicate glass carafe. No more messing about with fiddly rubber stoppers.
This coffee maker can brew 24-28 oz of cold brew concentrate and has markings on the carafe for measuring it out while serving. It’s also designed to be stowed away in compact form when not in use, thus keeping your kitchen clutter-free. If you like a mess-free, no-nonsense cold brew coffee maker, then you’ll love this OXO brewer.
Kitchenaid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If there’s one thing Kitchenaid knows how to do is to make fantastically convenient and user-friendly kitchen appliances. And they have done that again with their Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
This stainless steel and glass brewer is an elegant piece of equipment. It also makes dispensing the cold brew concentrate easy with its built-in tap. It is capable of producing 12-14 servings of concentrate, so you won’t have a problem even when you have a lot of guests over.
This Kitchenaid cold brew coffee maker isn’t just good-looking either. It comes with a broad laser-cut stainless steel filter basket that fits neatly into its squat body, and slips right out, which makes it easy to clean.
It might be a little expensive for a cold brew coffee maker, but the best-in-class build-quality, smart design, and Kitchenaid’s customer support make it totally worth it.
Yama Cold Brew Drip Tower
One look at the Yama Cold Brew Drip Tower and you know it’s something special. This coffee maker is not only unique in the way it looks, but it also brews coffee very differently.
The top chamber is where you add the cold water and ice mixture. The middle chamber holds the coffee grounds and the paper filter (which is placed on top of grounds, as opposed to other cold brewers). You can watch your brew drip down through the twisty pipes and into the 32 oz glass pot on the bottom.
You also have control over the total brew time by adjusting the water to ice ratio in the top chamber and manipulating the drip-rate. This lets you experiment and perfect your cold brew according to your taste.
The Yama, however, is best viewed cold brew enthusiast’s machine. It needs to be handled carefully, cleanup and brewing is a chore, and you need a place in your kitchen where no one will knock it over by mistake. Not to mention, it is an expensive cold brew maker. But if you’re a cold brew loving coffee nerd and want to proclaim it to the world, the Yama will probably take the place of pride in your home.
The Verdict On The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
As we mentioned in our buying guide above, your choice of a cold brew maker will depend on a variety of factors. So you have to figure out your specific needs, and personal taste before making a decision.
The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew is the best choice if you’re the only one drinking cold brew coffee (or one other person, max). It’s easy to clean and fits right into the refrigerator door. You can also drink it straight from the pot; no need to measure out concentrated coffee.
The Toddy Cold Brew System is better suited for brewing a large batch. It produces a great-tasting cup of cold brew with low acidity. You can make 14-16 servings in one go, so the Toddy is best if you’re expecting guests or if you drink cold brew frequently.
But that’s just us. Each of the coffee brewers we covered in this post could easily be the best cold brew coffee maker for you. We hope you get one of these brewers soon and relish the joys of smooth, bold cold-brewed coffee.
If you are interested in making coffee in different ways, see our reviews of the best coffee makers according to brew method and features below:
- Manual Drippers
- Moka Pots
- Single Cup Coffee Makers
- K-Cup Machines
- Drip Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe
- Grind and Brew Coffee Makers
- SCA-Certified Coffee Makers
Coffee lover and Dad, on a budget. Since the wishes of my beautiful wife and two charming kids are of course of much higher priority than my own ones, I always keep an eye out for coffee products which give me the biggest bang for the buck!