Americans drink over 3.4 billion pounds of coffee per year.
However, not everyone loves a bold cup.
Many people add milk, sugar, creamer, or any number of flavored syrups to their morning cup of Joe to mask a distinct coffee characteristic:
But what if there were a way to brew coffee with less bitterness?
There is, and it involves brewing coffee a different way.
(Hint: It’s in the title.)
Cold brew coffee is all the rage these days. I mean, just take a look at the following chart showing Google search trends for “cold brew coffee” over the last 5 years:
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Quick Picks
- 2 The Typical Coffee Brewing Process
- 3 Why Is Your Coffee Bitter?
- 4 The Cold Brew Difference
- 5 Cold Brew Coffee vs Chilled Coffee
- 6 How Do You Make Cold Brew Coffee?
- 7 Who Should Drink Cold Brew Coffee?
- 8 2 Methods: Immersion & Pour Over
- 9 6 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers Ranked
Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Quick Picks
If you’re looking for the best cold brew coffee maker, chances are it’s one of these 6 models.
But before we talk about this newfangled way of brewing coffee, let’s talk briefly about what makes cold brew coffee different than typical coffee.
The Typical Coffee Brewing Process
Whether you choose to roast and grind the beans yourself or buy pre-roasted and pre-ground coffee, the brewing process after that is virtually the same.
Your ground coffee is exposed to hot water, which gradually extracts the soluble compounds from the grounds:
- Fats and other volatile/aromatic oils
- Organic acids from plant fibers
Each of these compounds is responsible for a particular characteristic of your coffee.
The oils and fats are responsible for the fruity, floral notes. The sugars are, well, sweet. And towards the end of the extraction process, the hot water finally has enough times to break down the plant fibers into bitter organic acids that give your coffee the harsh flavors most people dislike.
Why Is Your Coffee Bitter?
How sweet or bitter the final product will be depends on a several factors:
- The type of roast you’re using
- How long the coffee is allowed to steep
- The granularity, or the coarseness or fineness of the ground coffee beans
- The temperature of the water you’re using to brew your coffee
If you source great beans — those that have been expertly (and recently!) roasted to optimize both the caramelized and fruity notes — and optimize your brewing process so that your coffee grind size, water temperature, and brew times are just right, you should get a pretty balanced cup.
In other words, you should get noticeably less of the harsh bitterness, which makes most reach for their hazelnut creamers.
The Cold Brew Difference
Whereas an optimized brewing process can give you a hot cup of coffee with less bitterness, the hot water still breaks down some of those plant fibers and extracts at least some bitter compounds in your coffee.
To combat that, you may want to give cold brewed a shot. Instead of brewing with hot water, you brew with room temperature water. The lower temperature prevents the breakdown of the plant fibers and keeps the bitter organic acids where they belong: in the bean.
A cup of cold brew coffee is typically described as full-bodied, sweet, and smooth, a perfect complement to a hot summer day and that after-dinner dessert.
Cold Brew Coffee vs Chilled Coffee
While it’s true that many coffee shops sell both iced coffee and cold brew coffee, they are actually two very different drinks.
In your run-of-the-mill iced coffee, double-brewed coffee is mixed with water, half-and-half, and flavored syrup, all served over some ice cubes.
Unfortunately, because it’s double-brewed coffee, it still has the potential to be bitter if the barista let the grounds steep for too long, the water was too hot, or the grounds were too fine for the brew method being used.
To sum up the downsides of regular iced coffee:
- Can still have bitter compounds
- Ice cubes tend to water it down (unless you let it chill)
Now let’s look at cold brew coffee.
How Do You Make Cold Brew Coffee?
The concept of cold brew coffee is simple. I’ve reduced it to 4 steps:
- Find your coarse ground coffee beans
- Combine with cold or room temperature water in a ratio by volume of 5:1
- Allow to sit for 12-24 hours — longer if you do it in the refrigerator
- When finished, dilute with cold water to taste
(That’s only one method, though — see below.)
Since the soluble compounds in the beans have been extracted with cold or room temperature water, the coffee lacks a lot of the acidity and bitterness normally found in conventionally brewed coffee. This makes for a sweeter, smoother cup that’s easier on your stomach and tooth enamel.
Who Should Drink Cold Brew Coffee?
You’ll want to drink cold brew coffee if any of the following describe you:
- You don’t like the taste of regular coffee.
- You have a sensitive stomach.
- You just want to drink coffee that is lower in acidity.
2 Methods: Immersion & Pour Over
There are essentially two basic methods for making cold brew.
- Immersion: Steeping the coffee grounds in cold water via an infuser or disposable filter
- Pour Over: Slowly dripping cold water over coffee grounds via a cold drip coffee maker
Allowing the coffee grounds to steep in the cold water for up to 24 hours is the most convenient method. As long as you use the right water-to-coffee ratio and don’t over extract your coffee, you should turn out a perfectly good cup.
But if you want to optimize your cold brew, then you may want to think about getting a cold drip coffee maker.
In certain models, a perforated lid allows the home barista to slowly drip coffee into the brewing chamber. This allows for more even extraction from the coffee grounds and reduces or eliminates the need to stir your coffee grounds as it’s brewing.
6 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers Ranked
If you want to start making great cold brew at home, read on for our list of the 6 best cold brew coffee makers.
- Capacity: 32 oz
- Borosilicate glass carafe has easy-to-read markings
- Reusable, ultra fine stainless steel filter keeps coffee silt out
- Included stopper keeps fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
- Perforated Rainmaker lid evenly distributes water over coffee grounds
- One-touch brew release
- Dimensions: 9.5″W x 9.5″D x 14.7″H
- Weight: 3.97 pounds
- Perforated Rainmaker evenly distributes water over coffee grounds for optimal flavor extraction
- Simple Brew-Release switch controls filtration process with one flick
- Brews smooth, low-acid concentrate for cold or hot coffee anytime
- Ultra-fine, stainless steel mesh filter is reusable and easy to clean
- Borosilicate glass carafe includes measurement markings, pairs with stopper to keep coffee fresh in refrigerator
This OXO Good Grips cold brew coffee maker is a high-quality but affordable alternative to some of the pricier cold brew drip coffee makers available for purchase.
To make a batch of cold brew with the OXO, do the following:
- Measure your coffee grounds into the conical, ultrafine filter.
- Add cold water to the perforated top in a circular motion.
- Steep the grounds for 12-24 hours.
- Press the brew release button to drain the concentrate into the carafe below.
We like this coffee maker because the Rainmaker lid ensures the ground coffee is evenly saturated with water. Plus, the one-touch brew release button is really convenient and mess-free.
However, the 32 oz capacity may not be enough for larger families or for times when you want to brew a larger batch for the week.
- 32 oz capacity is great for small families
- Ultra fine filter does an excellent job at filtering out coffee silt
- One-touch brew release button is convenient and mess-free
- High-quality glass carafe and stopper keeps cold brew fresh
- Rainmaker lid ensures coffee grounds are evenly saturated
- 32 oz capacity may not be ideal for larger families or larger cold brew batches
- Some units are prone to leakage
- Capacity: 56 oz
- Comes with two reusable felt filters
- High-quality glass decanter with lid
- Brew container with stopper
- Includes recipe guide
- Dimensions: 7.2″W x 7.2″D x 12.5″H
- Weight: 2.15 pounds
- Now you can create a 'coffeehouse' coffee - served steaming hot or iced cold, and in the comfort of your home - for much less than expensive signature coffee drinks!
- Patented cold brew system uses regular coffee beans to create incredibly smooth coffee concentrate with 67% less acid than coffee made with hot brew methods, it's easier on sensitive stomachs and all with no electricity required
- Get more out of your coffee grounds, as the coffee concentrate stays fresh for up to 2 weeks with no change to the flavor
- The Toddy Cold Brew System is also ideal for making tea, served hot or cold
- Set includes brewing container with handle, glass decanter with lid, 2 reusable filters, 1 rubber stopper, set of instructions, and recipe guide
First developed in 1964, the Toddy Cold Brew System is the original cold brew coffee maker.
Todd Simpson, a Cornell chemical engineering graduate, developed this patented method after trying a Peruvian coffee made from liquid coffee concentrate.
Unlike similar systems, there are two main brewing methods:
- Toddy Dual Filtration
- Toddy Classic
Both methods will yield a great cup of cold brew, but the dual filtration method tends to be easier and less messy.
For both of these methods, you can steep the cold brew for up to 24 hours for a rich coffee concentrate. When it’s done steeping, carefully remove the stopper over the included glass carafe, dilute as needed, and enjoy.
Overall, the Toddy Cold Brew System is an affordable but customizable option. It makes a great cup of cold brew and holds a reasonable amount of concentrate without taking up too much space.
My only gripe is that the process of removing the stopper and pouring the coffee into the decanter can get messy and awkward. Since the stopper is at the bottom of the brewing chamber, you’ll have to find a way of pulling off the stopper without getting cold brew all over your counter and missing the decanter entirely.
- 56 oz capacity is perfect for families and batch brewing
- Proven method for making the best cold brew
- Dual filtration and classic methods allow for some customization and tweaking
- Doesn’t take up much room
- Reusable filters and filter bags make the process clean and hassle-free
- Poorly-designed brewing chamber makes it awkward to pour coffee concentrate into the carafe
- The 56 oz capacity may be too much for someone looking to make one or two servings at a time
- Capacity: 32 oz
- 304 stainless steel laser-cut mesh microdot filter and lid with BPA-free silicone sealing rings
- Carafe made from thick, durable, borosilicate glass
- Silicone sleeve at the bottom prevents slipping, cracking, and condensation build-up
- Easy-to-read volume markings
- Dimensions: 5.0″W x 5.0″D x 8.0″H
- Weight: 1 pound
- COLD BREWING PERFECTED: Whether you're discovering Cold Brew Coffee for the first time or you've been brewing for years, Bean Envy has developed the perfect Cold Brew System that delivers you 70% less acidity per brew than traditional iced or hot coffee. The concentrated flavors Bean Envy's Cold Brew System are rich, smooth and can be used for a variety of drinks and coffee recipes. ALSO included for FREE is our NEW tight fitting silicone cap.
- SUPERIOR QUALITY AND DURABILITY: We designed this Cold Brew Coffee Maker with one thing in mind, "Our Customers Deserve The Best". 304 stainless steel precision cut filter and lid with BPA-free silicone rings, thick and durable shock-resistant borosilicate carafe and patent pending non-slip base design separate us from other Cold Brewers on the market. Delivering a commercial quality system at a residential price is what you will receive with Bean Envy's Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
- SAFE, FAST AND EASY TO USE: Bean Envy's Cold Brew Coffee Maker is not only FUN but EASY to brew, store and clean. Simply pour the desired amount of coarse ground coffee (don't worry, we include a simple step-by-step instruction manual), add water and let brew between 12-24 hours - it's really that fast and easy to start brewing! Rinsing clean only takes a few seconds with our FDA food grade filter. No more messy spills!
- STYLE SECOND TO NONE: What good is great functionality without great design? Many customers say that our stylish design looks amazing in kitchens, offices and is the perfect size for any fridge.
- WORRY FREE PURCHASE: We at Bean Envy stand behind our products with our Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty. If you are not 100% satisfied please CONTACT US immediately and we will help you right away. Our world-class customer support is available 7 days per week.
Next, this Bean Envy cold brew coffee maker is sleek, made from quality components, and is easy on the eyes and wallet.
The markings on the glass carafe are easy to read, and the mesh filter has been precision-cut to ensure no grounds end up in your cold brew.
To make a batch of coffee, just measure your coffee grounds into the microdot filter, pour the appropriate amount of water into the pitcher, and let it steep for up to 24 hours.
While this coffee maker lacks some of the bells and whistles of some other models we’ve reviewed thus far, it makes a consistently good cup. Plus, the filter works very well, and there is no need to strain it through a paper filter.
However, the 32 oz capacity may not be a good size for those looking to make a large batch of cold brew for the week.
But for the build quality, consistent performance, and ease of use, this Bean Envy is a great choice. That’s why it’s our 3rd-best cold brew coffee maker.
- Perfect capacity for small families
- Great materials and build quality
- Reliable, precision-cut filter ensures there is no sludge at the bottom of your cup
- Airtight seal keeps cold brew coffee fresh
- Easy-to-read markings
- 32 oz capacity may be too small for large families or office use
- Not much room for customization
- Capacity: 100 oz
- 3-tiered, glass cold brewing system
- 4-stage filtration
- Reusable ceramic filter
- Holds up to 1 pound of ground coffee
- Brass valves for customizable water flow
- Dimensions: 11.8″W x 11.8″D x 44.5″H
- Weight: 27.9 pounds
- Great design and beautiful on any counter
- Produces an acid free coffee
- Keep refrigerated for up to 7 days and reheat
- Permanent ceramic filter
- Great for coffee and tea
This Yama Glass cold brew coffee maker makes great cold brew and is practically guaranteed to be a conversation piece at your next dinner party.
This cold brew tower consists of 3 tiers.
- Top: Holds your water and ice
- Middle: Holds your coffee grounds and water
- Bottom: Holds the extracted cold brew
Constructed from high-quality glass, water drips down from the top glass beaker, onto a paper filter, into the coffee grounds, through the ceramic filter, and finally into the serving carafe below.
Additionally, the brass valves are adjustable, so the home barista can customize the rate of the water passing through the grounds.
Though it’s a bit spendy for the average home barista looking for a quick cold brew, it’s perfect for the coffee connoisseur looking for that perfect cup.
Though the default setting for this model extracts coffee in 12 hours, you can control both the rate of water passing through the grounds and the amount of coffee in the middle carafe.
If you fill the center carafe with one pound of coffee and adjust the valve to release one drop per second, you’ll end up with a more concentrated cold brew.
While this cold brew coffee tower wins brownie points for being cool to watch, it is definitely not the right fit for every household. Homes with pets, children, and clumsy adults like myself may cause any one of the glass beakers to shatter, which would then render this beautiful work of art useless.
Additionally, the 25-cup capacity only applies to 25, 4 oz cups. However, if your cold brew is concentrated enough, you could probably get away with filling your mug the rest of the way with cold water, creamer, or milk.
- The elegant design is both beautiful and functional
- Larger capacity makes a great option for families and batch brewing
- Adjustable valve allows you to control the rate of extraction
- High-quality, glass parts
- Reusable ceramic filter
- Pricy when compared to other cold brew coffee makers
- Not suitable for families with young children or pets
- Takes up a fair amount of counter space
- Needs quite a bit of clearance as the product is 44.5″ tall
- Capacity: 40 oz
- 8 oz brewing Chamber made from BPA-free non-breakable tritan
- Filter made from 18/8 rust-free superfine double wall stainless steel mesh
- Stainless steel, double-insulated, 32 oz carafe
- Works with both hot and cold brew coffees
- Can brew loose leaf tea
- Dimensions: 4.8″W x 4.8″D x 12.2″H
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- INNOVATIVE- Asobu Coldbrew Insulated Portable Brewer is first of its kind in the cold brew market. Forget about diluted, bitter, and acidic standard ice coffee were talking about getting that amazing freshly brewed coffee every morning with your Asobu Coldbrew maker
- PORTABLE- The coffee maker comes along with an easy take on the go spill proof mug so you can enjoy your cold brew at home, in the office, park or on the road
- HASSLE FREE- Use your standard medium course coffee grind and with our fine mesh you don’t need to worry about having granules in your cup. Simply fill the mesh with 1.3 ounce of coffee pour cold filtered coffee in a circular motion three times and leave it to steep for 12 or more hours.
- FRESH AND COLD- Our airtight and leak proof lid keeps your coffee securely where it belongs while the double walled copper insulated construction ensure fresh ice cold coffee for hours. So once the coffee is brewed it easily gets released into the on the go mug and your coffee stays fresh and cold for hours
- SAFE AND PRACTICAL- 100% Bpa free and easily handed cleaned so your brewer will last a lifetime!
This portable Asobu cold brew coffee maker consists of a durable BPA-free brewing chamber, a super-fine double-walled 18/8 stainless steel mesh filter, and a double-walled, 32 oz, spill-proof carafe.
Unlike others on our best cold brew coffee maker list, this system is compact, simple, and portable. To make a batch of cold brew, simply measure your grounds into the filter, pour water over the grounds in a circular motion, and let it steep for 12-24 hours.
When you’re ready to drink your cold brew, just remove the seal, press the release button, and decant into the included carafe.
In my experience, the double-walled, stainless steel carafe did a great job keeping its contents cold. On the downside, the 32 oz capacity held just enough coffee for my office mates and I to each have one 6 oz cup, so it may not be the best option for an office full of java-obsessed writers.
Still, I like that I have the option to mix my hazelnut creamer right in with my cold brew and carry it to work. Plus, the build quality is excellent, and it accommodates loose tea leaves as well.
- Great build quality
- Effective, double-walled mesh filter
- Perfect size for taking on-the-go
- Simple brewing process
- Some models of this product are prone to leakage
- May not be suitable for family or office use due to its 32 oz capacity
- Capacity: 64 oz
- Airtight, leak-proof lid
- Non-slip silicone handle
- Made from BPA-free material
- Built-in BPA-free filter
- Dimensions: 4.1″W x 6.1″D x 12.2″H
- Weight: 1 pound
- Makes 8 servings of coffee (2 Quarts)
- Use with cold brew coffee grinds
- Airtight, leak-proof lid locks in freshness and flavor.
- Non-slip silicone handle
- BPA free Material
This Takeya Delux Cold Brew coffee maker is simple, easy to clean, and compact.
To brew a 64 oz batch of cold brew, simply fill the included filter to the top with coarsely-ground coffee. Then fill the pitcher with cold, filtered water for best results. Next, let the coffee steep for 20 hours before pouring.
Though the mesh filter keeps much of the coffee grounds out, you may need to strain the resulting coffee concentrate through a paper filter to remove any coffee grounds.
If used properly, this cold brew coffee maker yields a very sweet, smooth cup. Furthermore, its simplistic design means you’ll get years of service out of it before you’ll need to replace any parts, making it the most economical choice thus far.
- Compact, simple design
- Perfect capacity for small families and apartments
- Less moving parts yields a more consistent result
- Very economical, making it a great choice for a barista new to cold brew
- Not much room for customization
- Mesh filter does not filter out all coffee grounds from the cold brew concentrate
- Poorly-designed spout leads to leaking while pouring
Now it’s your turn. What’s your tried-and-true method of making cold brew? Do you think one of these truly is the best cold brew coffee maker? Comment below!