If there is one coffee product that has seen immense growth in popularity over the last few years, it would be cold brew coffee.
How is it different from your regular brewed coffee? Cold brew coffee, as the name suggests, is brewed cold, and the process takes several hours (12 to 24 hours). The result – smoother, less acidic, strong, naturally sweet, and untainted coffee that is nothing like the watered-down version of regular iced coffee.
If that sounds like your favorite coffee version, then cold brew is for you, and with the best cold brew coffee maker, you can enjoy smooth, chocolatey cold brews right at home.
As the company’s original cold brew pioneer, the Toddy Cold Brew System is a non-electrical cold brew coffee maker that can produce a smooth, highly concentrated coffee from a surprisingly simple brewing process. In fact, the process is so simple that you wouldn’t bother looking at some of the high-tech models on the market.
With the Toddy Cold Brew System, you get to choose between two different brewing methods: the Toddy Dual Filtration and the Toddy Classic.
The former tends to be the easier and less messy version because it uses disposable paper filters (and reusable felt filters too), which makes cleanup easy, and it is also more forgiving of the grind size. The latter, on the other hand, uses only reusable felt filters.
Either way, this cold brew system delivers a rich, strong, yet smooth coffee concentrate that will easily last a long time. Each batch can brew over a liter of coffee concentrate, and the Toddy can be used to cold brew tea as well.
The Toddy Cold Brew System is for you if you’re looking for a cold brew coffee maker that is easy to use and leaves behind a lesser mess.
From the long list of Modern Joe’s high-quality and functional home products comes this Premium Infuser that can be used for cold brewing not just coffee but also tea, alcohol, and oil. These infusers are available in two sizes – 1 QT and 2 QT, and all you need is a wide-mouthed mason jar – 1 or 2 QT jar for the 1 QT infuser, and 2 QT jar for the 2 QT infuser – to make amazing cold brew coffee.
The 50 micron mesh weave of the infuser means you do not get a flimsy product, but rather a sturdy one. Since there are no coffee filters or single serve cups involved, this cold brew coffee infuser is eco-friendly and is also BPA-free. While the company claims that there will be minimal sediment at the bottom of the jar after each brew, we were able to find that this was true with medium to coarse grounds, but not so much with fine grounds.
Choose Modern Joe’s Premium Infuser if you’d like delicious cold brew coffee at home without having to spend a lot of money or give up counter space.
The CUSINIUM Large Cold Brew Coffee Maker will be a chic and elegant addition to your kitchen, but one that requires careful handling. The product is basically a glass coffee carafe/pitcher that comes with a removable stainless steel filter, which can be used for both cold brew and hot brew.
Available in two sizes – 1 liter and 1.5 liters, this cold brew coffee maker is ideal for families, as you can easily make a large batch of concentrated coffee in one go and store it in the refrigerator for everyday use.
The best way to make cold brew coffee in the CUSINIUM Large Cold Brew Coffee Maker is to fill up the filter with coarse coffee grounds, and fill the carafe with cold water; let it brew at room temperature for about 10 to 12 hours and then refrigerate for the next 12 hours. This yields a strong but deliciously smooth coffee.
Though the carafe looks extremely elegant and high-end, the glass, however, is delicate and could break easily even with the smallest error.
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot is a no-fuss solution to your cold brew cravings, without having to spend big bucks. The minimalist design of this cold brew coffee maker is one of its major selling points.
Available in two sizes – 600 mL (makes 5 cups) and 1000 mL (makes 8 cups), the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot comes with a well-built heat-proof glass carafe with a plastic handle, and a fine nylon mesh filter that is removable and reusable. Of course, the carafe needs to be handled carefully to avoid breakage; however, it does seem to be stronger than some of the other glass carafe cold brew models on the market, and user reviews on different platforms suggest the same.
One important thing to note about this cold brew coffee maker is that it doesn’t make cold brew coffee concentrate like most products in its category; instead, it makes ready-to-drink cold brew coffee, and you wouldn’t have to dilute it further with water or milk.
As the best simple design cold brew coffee maker available today, the Hario Mizudashi is perfect for beginners with absolutely no experience in cold brewing. Of course, it can be used by cold brew devotees alike, provided you’re not after a cold brew coffee concentrate making product.
The process of making cold brew always involves several hours of brewing, and most cold brew coffee makers on the market, including the previous ones on our list, follow the same concept. But, that’s not the case with the Cuisinart DCB-10!
The DCB-10 is an automatic cold brew coffee maker that is designed to brew a 7-cup batch of cold brew coffee in as little as 25 minutes. The exact time varies based on your preferred brew strength – mild, medium, or bold, which you can choose from the Strength Selector buttons on the machine. And the best part is that even if you choose the longest brew setting, the time taken obsoletes the 12 to 24 hours brew time taken by other cold brew coffee makers.
Before you get intimidated by the high-tech look of this automatic cold brew coffee maker, let us reassure you saying that the machine works similar to your regular drip coffee maker, and there is nothing complicated or fancy involved.
While the water tank and coffee filter basket can be removed for easy filling and cleaning, the filter basket is rather fragile, and the machine itself makes a lot of noise while brewing, with on/off whirring.
If you’re interested in making cold brew at home, you need the best cold brew coffee maker, and to choose one, you need to remember the following:
As you can see from the list above, most cold brew coffee makers come with a reasonable price tag, except for the Cuisinart DCB-10 automatic model which goes over a hundred dollars.
A classic cold brew coffee maker costs much less, and you can easily find a product that fits your budget, like the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot that costs less than $30, or a medium-priced variant, like the Toddy Cold Brew System ($80).
Just know that the quality of the cold brew produced doesn’t depend on the price of the machine, but rather on the quality of coffee grounds used.
2. The Type of Cold Brew Coffee Maker
There are three different types of cold brew coffee makers – Immersion, Slow Drip, and Automatic.
Immersion – With immersion cold brew coffee makers, the main aspect is the brew time, which is basically the length of time the coffee remains soaked in water. The longer brewing time slowly extracts the intense flavor of coffee, leaving you with a strong yet soft and delicious brew. Immersion brewing is the brewing method that almost all cold brew makers implement. The Toddy Cold Brew System on our list is one of the most popular options in this category.
Slow Drip – Also known as Kyoto-style brewing, the slow drip method is a mad scientist’s method of cold brewing. In this method, cold water poured over coffee grounds slowly drips down to a carafe, which then becomes the coffee you drink. This process also takes several hours, and the resulting cold brew happens to be strong, bright, and delicious, but not too full-bodied.
Automatic – Automatic cold brew coffee makers are designed to further simplify cold brewing. One of the biggest advantages of these machines is that they can finish brewing significantly faster than manual cold brew coffee makers, and they also allow you to choose your preferred brew strength. However, they are pricier and are more difficult to clean.
The size of the cold brew coffee maker you choose depends on how much coffee you or your family consumes per day, and also the size of your fridge. Though purchasing a model that produces a large batch of cold brew at a time, like the CUSINIUM Cold Brew Coffee Maker on our list, might seem practical if you drink 3 or more cups of coffee a day, it could be an impractical choice if you have a smaller fridge with minimal storage space.
On the other hand, if you’re the only one to be using the cold brew maker, and your daily coffee consumption is no more than a cup or two, you could choose from one of the smaller models, like the 600 mL Cold Brew Coffee Pot from Hario Mizudashi. Then again, you could go with a large cold brew coffee maker if you’d rather make a large batch on a bi-weekly basis and store it for everyday consumption if your fridge can spare the space.
Cold Brew Coffee Maker FAQ
Do you need a special coffee maker for cold brew?
You don’t necessarily need ninja-level skills or special equipment to make cold brew. You can do it with a large carafe or mason jar and a strainer. However, having a dedicated cold brew coffee maker can make the process much easier.
Is cold brew stronger than coffee?
Yes, cold brew is much stronger than coffee because the coffee-to-water ratio here is anywhere between 1:4 and 1:8, whereas the water ratio in coffee is typically multifold. This is why the extractions from most cold brew coffee makers are often called cold brew concentrates.
Can you make cold brew in a coffee maker?
Though you cannot “cold” brew in your regular coffee maker, what you can do is brew a carafe of coffee as usual, let it cool down, and then refrigerate it for when you need it. Note that this is going to be ready-to-drink coffee rather than a coffee concentrate like you get with a proper cold brew coffee maker.
Is it cheaper to make your own cold brew?
Absolutely! First of all, the process doesn’t require any special/fancy equipment, and even a dedicated cold brew coffee maker comes at an affordable price. Furthermore, since cold brew can stay fresh in your fridge for up to two weeks, you can brew a large batch each week, which will save you a lot of time and money. And, making your own cold brew is 100% more cost-effective than running to your favorite coffee shop every day.
While you’re focusing hard on becoming an at-home master barista, why not check out a list of the best Nespresso machines that enable you to make top-quality lattes right at home?!