The 3 best cold brew makers
While there are a few key factors that go into the best cold brew makers, a good filter is one of the most important ones. The best filters are typically made of high-quality stainless steel with mesh that's ultra-fine so sediment doesn't accumulate at the bottom of the carafe and leave you with a gritty or sludgy texture.
Another factor to think about is the coffee maker's carafe or pitcher. Borosilicate glass is usually the best material as it isn't as vulnerable to extreme temperature changes and it also handles impacts better (which means it's harder to break if you drop it). Additionally, borosilicate glass doesn't absorb flavor like plastic does so your coffee will taste fresher and more pure.
Lastly, think about practical things like how easy the coffee maker is to clean, or how well it fits (or doesn't fit) in your fridge and cupboards. Tall pitchers, for example, can be difficult to fit on your refrigerator shelves, and bigger units can be more cumbersome to store when not in use.
How does a cold brew coffee maker work?
Each coffee maker will have a slightly different system of operation, but there are several guiding principles to cold brewing that will help you get the most out of your new device:
- Use coarse grinds: Since the water is cold, the coffee grinds need to sit much longer to steep so coarser grinds will prevent the coffee from getting thick or grainy.
- Aim for a 1-cup-to-1-ounce ratio: The best cold brew is usually the result of a ratio that's roughly a cup of water to an ounce of coffee grinds. Start with this formula and tweak it as necessary depending on your tastebuds.
- Dial in your steeping time: You'll need to do some experimenting to find the magic number that fits your personal preferences; however, watching the time carefully will help you dial it in. Optimal steep time ranges from 12 to 20 hours.
With all this in mind, check out the best cold brew makers below.
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1. The basic one
This simple-but-popular cold brew coffee pitcher gives you high-quality flavor with an elegant, easy-to-use design. Unlike some of the cheaper plastic options out there, this one is made out of top-grade borosilicate glass that's tough and dishwasher safe. The stainless steel filter prevents grinds from slipping into your cold brew, and the airtight lid keeps everything fresh. Reviewers noted that it's simple to clean and, as just 32 ounces in capacity, it's sized to fit comfortably in your fridge.
One reviewer says: "We followed the easy directions that came with the carafe and our coffee turned out smooth and lovely! Easy to clean and no more fragile than our French press. Would highly recommend!
2. The fan favorite
Boasting more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon, this OXO Good Grips cold brew coffee maker is a huge fan favorite. Reviewers liked how evenly it distributes the water (via its "perforated rainmaker"), resulting in a rich flavor without any bitterness. The filter is constructed with high-quality stainless steel and it also comes with paper filters you can use in addition for extra filtration (which is an option the other picks on this list don't offer).
While the bigger component of this system is made of plastic, your cold brew won't be spending much time in it. Leave this one on your counter during the day or overnight while the cold brew steeps into the 32-ounce carafe, which is made of borosilicate glass and can be stored in the fridge on its own when the process is complete. Best of all, the whole thing can be disassembled and stored out of sight when you're not using it.
One reviewer says: "I absolutely love, love, love this product for the ease of making the cold brew and just the functionality of it. I was so tired of using the cheese cloth in the mason jar. This is the answer! [...] Super easy to use, easy to clean and is the best purchase ever."
3. The complete kit
In addition to the generous 47-ounce carafe and fine mesh filter, this convenient cold brew coffee kit comes with a scoop and funnel too. The borosilicate glass pitcher keeps the flavor fresh while the collapsible funnel allows you to add the grinds without spilling them on the counter. The kit is easy to clean and produces non-acidic, flavor-rich cold brew that tastes great, according to reviewers. Though, at 9.5 inches in height, this carafe may not fit easily in smaller fridges. Just note that some reviewers found the filter hard to get off the first couple of times they used it.
One reviewer says: "Just love it! Tried it today with our home produced raw goat's milk & a bit of chocolate. It was a pure delight, so my husband & I had another one! This will be a real treat in hot weather, the coffee is sweet, not bitter, the instructions are simple, & the results are yummy. [...] I highly recommend this cold brew coffee maker."