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Summer is right around the corner, and that means we’ll be hanging by the pool, spending long days at the beach and drinking copious amounts of cold brew coffee. And while that last one may be what excites us most, it can get expensive having to buy it from your local coffee shop every day. Fortunately, it turns out that making cold brew from your home is quite simple. According to Cary Wong, director of coffee at Partner’s Coffee, cold brew is simply “the process of brewing coffee by steeping ground coffee in cold water for 18-24 hours.”
In addition to Wong, we also spoke with Josey Markiewicz, Senior Director of Coffee Quality & Training at La Colombe Coffee Roasters, to glean expert insight into what cold brew is, how to make it, what to look for in cold brew makers, as well as some product recommendations. Below are our picks for the best cold brew coffee makers for a range of needs.
• Best Overall: Hario Cold Brew Wine Bottle
• Best Large: Toddy Cold Brew System
• Best Splurge: Vinci Express Cold Brew with Circle Flow Technology
• Best DIY: Altura The Tube+
• Best French Press Style: Bodum Caffettiera
• Best Budget: Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Things to consider:
Durability: Markiewicz says, “Almost any vessel can be used to make cold brew as long as you can filter the spent coffee grounds out,” but also notes that durability is a highly important feature to invest in. As a result, ensuring that you have a filter that will not break and will withstand many uses is important.
In addition to the filter’s durability, investing in products that are either made with heatproof glass or shatterproof plastic will help to ensure that it lasts you for the long haul.
Price: Wong tells us that “the great thing about cold brew is that it’s easy to make and you can do it without any special equipment,” so there is no reason that it should cost you a fortune to do so. Markiewicz adds that some brands overcomplicate an otherwise simple process just for the sake of pageantry. With this in mind, all of the options on our list are under $50, with some even under $15. There is no reason to spend more than this as these are super affordable and effective, with filters that work.
Cleaning: Wong recommends purchasing a cold brew coffee maker with parts that are easy to clean. If a product is frustrating to clean, then using it can become an unenjoyable experience and you may use it less often as a result. For this reason, we have included options that are both easy to clean by hand, as well as ones that feature dishwasher-safe parts.
Best overall cold brew coffee maker
Material: Glass, polyester resin, polypropylene | Capacity: 650ml |
Both Wong and Markiewicz recommend Hario’s Cold Brew Wine Bottle. This option uses what Wong refers to as immersion brewing, which is “steep[ing] coarse ground coffee in room temp or cold water.” It’s an affordable, sleek and highly effective model that is made with Hario’s heatproof glass and features a polyester resin filter that locks into the top. I own this brewer myself and appreciate that none of the grounds or any sediment makes it into the final brew as the filter is incredibly effective. One thing to be aware of with this option is that it will only yield about two glasses of 12 oz. cold brew.
Pros: Multiple color options, made with heat proof glass
Cons: Doesn’t brew more than two cups
Material: Glass, plastic, silicone | Capacity: 1.1 liters |
If you’re a coffee fanatic and two cups just won’t cut it, Toddy’s Cold Brew System was made with you in mind. It’s designed to yield 36-38 oz. of coffee concentrate, meaning that adding water to dilute it will further add to the yield. The system comes with a brewing container, a glass decanter with a lid and two reusable filters. One thing to be aware of, though, is that the reusable filters will only last you about 3 months. After that, you will need to get new ones, which aren’t expensive but are another thing to remember.
Pros: Yields more coffee, 1-year warranty, glass carafe included
Cons: More costly than other options, need to replace filters
Material: Glass | Capacity: 37 fl. oz. |
Markiewicz recommends a steep time of about 12 hours with traditional cold brew coffee makers, which requires some planning ahead. With The Vinci Express Cold Brew maker, you can make cold brew in as quick as five minutes by using electricity to constantly circle the water through the grounds for extraction. It features four different settings: light, which makes the cold brew in 5 minutes, medium, which gets it done in 10 minutes, bold, which works in 15 minutes and extra bold which gets it done in 25 minutes.
One drawback with this option is that it tends to brew a generally weaker cup of coffee. As a result, some reviewers have had success running it through the extra-bold setting twice to achieve the desired extraction and flavor.
Pros: Make cold brew in a fraction of the time, 1-year warranty
Cons: Not as strong of a flavor, harder to clean
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 64 fl. oz. |
If you’re looking to keep things simple and you already own a wide-mouth mason jar, The Tube+ from Altura is perfect for you. The stainless steel tube is designed to fit perfectly into 64 oz. Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jars. The steel weave of the tube’s mesh does an excellent job of keeping the sediment from going into the brew. Some reviewers do note, though, that while there is a gasket, it won’t prevent spills, so it’s important to make sure you don’t leave it somewhere that you would hate to have a spill.
Pros: Affordably priced, works with what you already have
Cons: Doesn’t have an air-tight seal
Best French Press
Material: Plastic, silicone, steel | Capacity: 34 oz. |
Markiewicz tells us that a French press is a completely viable option for making cold brew. “All you really need is a vessel, some coffee, a scale, filtration and some time.” In addition to being a stylish piece of gear to adorn your counter with, Bodum’s Caffettiera is made of shatterproof BPA-free SAN plastic that is resistant to temperature changes. A reasonably priced piece of gear to begin with, you’ll also save money in the long run by not having to purchase filters; the stainless-steel plunger with a silicone filter will keep your sediment at the bottom of the carafe when pouring. Although simple in design, cleaning the filter does require using a sponge in the sink as grounds can cling to it.
Pros: Simple and sleek design, multiple color options, can be used to brew hot as well
Cons: Cleaning it can be time-consuming
Best Budget Option
Material: Glass, mesh | Capacity: 52 oz. |
At under $15, Primula Burke’s Deluxe Cold Brew coffee maker can make up to 52 oz. of cold brew by adding coffee grounds to its super fine mesh filter. The filter is removable and all of the parts are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. There is a small sacrifice in quality for the lower price point. The sides of the glass feature no markings to let you know how much water you’ve poured. There’s also the chance that small sediments can make their way through the filter into your brew.
Pros: Very affordable, dishwasher safe, made with glass
Cons: Small sediment may make its way through
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