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Published Jul 14, 2022 9:10 AM

For many of us, mornings and coffee are inextricably linked, giving us some pep in our step as we head to work with a thermos in hand. For some, cold brew is about taste, for others it’s convenience. The best cold-brew makers give you the tools to home-brew rich, cold brew, whether it’s for your love of low-acidity iced coffee, or simply for a convenient morning cup that’s ready when you are. 

Using a long extraction method that can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours (more or less), cold brew is made by pouring cold water across ground coffee and letting it extract with time. Cold brew can be made with many different builds of brewers, from dedicated large-batch brewers to a standard home French press. I’ve even made cold brew while camping for weeks at a time with a metal loose leaf tea filter.

Known for brewing coffee without the acidity that’s found in pour overs and filter drips, cold-brew makers can bring out gorgeous flavor notes from your favorite beans, whether deep-cherry, cacao, almonds, coconut, or caramel crisp. The best cold-brew makers help you unlock the bean, for a balanced cup without unwanted acidity. 

How We Picked the Best Cold-Brew Makers

I spent years as a barista working in specialty coffee shops in New York City. To build this list I factored my own experience with numerous cold-brew makers, and followed up with many of my favorite coffee brands. I wanted to make sure to represent different approaches to cold brew that would work well for coffee nerds and laypeople alike. Some of the criteria I looked for are as follows:

Brew quality is the most basic criteria that factors into how good any given cold-brew maker is. I looked for cold-brew makers that deliver smooth, rich, cold brew, with low acidity, and little silt. 

Ease of use is important. While some of the brewers on this list are easier to use than others, sometimes a more involved process does yield better and more reliable results . However, for most people, a brew method with greater ease of use will outweigh a more labor intensive brewer if they achieve comparable results. For those looking for a prep-and-forget ‘til morning style brewer that will replace their morning drip brewer, ease of use is especially important.

Sturdiness, or lack thereof, can make or break a brewer. No one wants a glass carafe shattering in their refrigerator and spraying glass shards and black coffee into the cole slaw. I factored material quality into all my picks.

Filter reuse can be nice. Some cold-brew makers allow you to reuse a filter numerous times, some can be used limitlessly, while others will require you to buy and throw away paper filters. We highlighted this across all our picks.

Best Cold-Brew Makers: Reviews And Recommendations

Best Overall: OXO Good Grips

Ease of use and perfectionism hold hands with the OXO Good Grips. OXO

Why It Made The Cut: Delivering spectacular cold brew with an intuitive brew method that looks great on your countertop, the OXO Good Grips will appeal to perfectionists and laymen alike.

Specs:

  • Filter: Reusable mesh, or added filters in addition
  • Capacity: 32 ounces
  • Materials: Plastic, glass carafe

Pros:

  • Makes excellent coffee
  • Carafe seals to stay fresh in fridge
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used with or without added paper filter

Cons:

  • Some people have leaking issues with this device

If you’re like me, then coffee is easily the centerpiece of your kitchen. The OXO Good Grips delivers just this, and delivers it well. This bucket style cold-brew maker is perfect for those who like an immaculate, smooth cold brew that’s made in decent-enough sized batches for ahem… constant use. 

The OXO uses a simple system with a raised clear bucket containing grounds and filter, and a removable tray above it which disperses water across the grounds via perforations. A switch opens the device’s bottom hatch to pour the finished coffee into a carafe. The carafe is then sealable for easy storage in the fridge. It also ships with ten paper filters which can be used or ignored depending on taste—the device will filter without them. All in all, the system is simple and easy to use, yet gives you all the tools you’ll need to tweak the variables if you want to. 

With its tall frame and removable glass carafe bottom, this cold-brew maker will take center stage on your counter. It’s good looking, even if much of it is made of plastic. Easy to clean, easy to use, attractive, and best of all — makes great tasting coffee. The OXO system is one of the best cold-brew makers out there for those who want to commit.

Best Budget: Bodum Java

Best Budget

This classic French press makes a great cold brew. Bodum

Why It Made The Cut: Bodum’s budget French press comes with a stainless-steel mesh and brews up to 34 ounces; the fact that this also makes a great hot coffee only improves the deal.

Specs: 

  • Filter: Reusable stainless steel mesh
  • Capacity: 34 ounces
  • Materials: Glass, stainless steel, BPA free plastic

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Also makes a great French Press
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Cold brew may contain more silt and imperfections

It might come as a surprise that a French press is one of the best cold-brew makers on the market, but anyone acquainted with Bodum won’t be surprised to see the Bodum Java on any coffee “Best of” list. Made in Portugal, this excellent coffee maker is the little brother to the famous Bodum Chambord, which subs out some of the plastic components on the Java for metal. 

The French press has long been one of the easiest ways to make cold brew at home. Simply load the press with coffee, pour in cold water, wait 12 hours, and then press (though recipes vary). The whole process is identical to making hot coffee except set to a different time frame. Cold brew made with a French press does have the tendency to have more grit, silt, and oil to it than dedicated cold brew methods, and this can turn off perfectionists, but if you’re looking for intuitive ease of use and affordability, a French press can’t be beat. 

This cheap French press does a solid job. It uses borosilicate glass that’s heat resistant enough for those who want to shock their cold brew with hot water first (and for hot brews). The glass carafe is suspended in BPA-free plastic siding, with a plastic handle, and a stainless steel filter press. At 34 ounces, the press easily makes enough for multiple cups of coffee. All in all, this is a great one stop shop for cold brew and hot coffee that will knock out both your needs for under $20. 

Best Large-Batch: Toddy Cold-Brew System

Best Large-Batch

The classic cold brew system, sized for your home. Toddy

Why It Made The Cut: Toddy is still one of the best cold-brew makers out there, delivering nuanced, rich cold brew in a volume large enough to rely on.

Specs: 

  • Filter: Reusable felt filter and paper filter
  • Capacity: 56 fluid ounces (1.65 liters), 12 ounces of coffee
  • Materials: BPA free plastic, glass carafe

Pros:

  • Makes a large amount of cold brew concentrate
  • Reusable filter lasts for quite some time
  • Delicious coffee

Cons:

  • Somewhat labor intensive

Toddy is one of those brand names that has become synonymous with the task it performs. When you’re at the cafe buying beans and you ask your barista to grind them for cold brew, there’s a good chance they’ll hand it off to their coworker at the grinder and simply shout “Toddy!” That’s because the Toddy Cold-Brew System really does make great cold brew; it’s also been around so long that it’s become the ubiquitous standard for coffee shops.

The Toddy System uses a large, BPA-free plastic carafe, with a reusable felt filter in the bottom. A large paper filter is fitted into the carafe, wetted, and then filled with coffee and cold water. Just 12 to 24 hours later, the plug is pulled from the bottom of the plastic carafe, and the cold brew concentrate is ready to drop into the glass carafe below, which comes with a top stopper for freshness.

The Toddy makes an exceptionally tasty cold brew with very low acidity, and allows for several ways to tweak the flavor. The use of high quality BPA-free plastic means you can flash the grounds with hot water first, then finish out with cold water. The considerable size also gives you all the space you’ll want to play with ratios of water and coffee. If you’d like an even bigger size Toddy, the commercial-grade version is also available for retail and holds up to six liters.

Best In-Bottle: Hario Cold-Brew Coffee Wine Bottle

Best In-Bottle

A wine bottle-sized container with the brew built right in. Hario

Why It Made The Cut: This simple bottle style carafe with a brewer built right in is easy to use, highly portable, and looks nice in the fridge. 

Specs: 

  • Filter: Reusable filter
  • Capacity: 700 milliliters
  • Materials: Glass, silicone

Pros:

  • Easy overnight cold-brew maker
  • Brewer built into lid
  • Highly portable

Cons:

  • Not a lot of volume
  • Mesh filter will warp with hot brews

There’s a time and place for simplicity, and lush cold brew doesn’t get much easier than the Hario Cold-Brew Coffee Wine Bottle. This is a perfect system for those who are looking for an easy cold brew that can be prepped the night before and will be ready in the morning. Easily set this up, wait 8 or more hours, and pour cold brew concentrate all morning. The convenient wine bottle shape also makes this a great portable option for road trips, days at the office, or even fitting into the water bottle holder on your day pack.

With this in-bottle brew system, simply load the built-in reusable filter, slowly pour water across the grounds, give it a shake, then seal, refrigerate, and wait. The top allows you to pour without removing grounds, and the filter is easily cleanable, making for a simple morning ritual. 

All in all, this is a wonderful system for those who wish to create a ritual of morning brews prepped the night before to be ready for their early shifts. Because of its relatively small size, the Hario won’t make enough cold brew for a lot of people, or make enough for the whole week, but it’s a great personal-sized cold-brew maker that’s so easy you can work it into your daily routine.

Best Simple: County Line Kitchen

A simple filter top system that converts any Mason jar into a mobile cold brewing system. County Line Kitchen

Why It Made The Cut: Screwing onto the included 2-quart or 1-quart Mason jar, this lid and brewer combo offers a simple in-bottle system for making cold brew that’s entirely portable and ready for you the next morning.

Specs: 

  • Filter: Reusable stainless steel filter
  • Capacity: 2 quart
  • Materials: Glass, BPA-free plastic

Pros:

  • Fits all Mason jars
  • Simple to use
  • Great tasting cold brew

Cons: 

  • Not as exciting for those who like to go deep on their brew methods

The County Line Kitchen cold-brew maker is a masterstroke of simplicity. This BPA-free plastic upper and stainless steel filter easily screws onto the head of any Mason jar. It’s easily loaded and prepared, making for simple morning coffee that you can prep before bed and forget about until the morning. At 1 or 2 quarts of volume, this also makes enough for most of the day. 

Using a stainless-steel filter which descends into a traditional Ball wide-mouth Mason jar, the system easily seals for fridge security. Brew your coffee, then dump the grounds from the basket for easy clean up. After it’s done brewing, the system easily converts into a snap-closed sip top for all day enjoyment.

This is a great travel brewer for anyone on the road, and the compatibility with Mason jars means the system’s carafe can easily get swapped out should the glass break. With simple execution, wide compatibility, and a decent price, we think this is a great buy.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Cold-Brew Coffee Maker

Cold-brew makers come in a range of designs and capabilities. Before you buy one, it’s a good idea to do the research to make sure you get what you want.

Volume and Portability

It’s important to consider whether you’re looking for a brewer that can prep enough cold brew for a week at a time, or whether you want something that offers a simple solution to making the cold brew you’ll sip on the way to work. Consider the volume of the cold-brew maker you’re interested in before you commit. Portability is another factor that comes into play, and is often at odds with volume. Consider which factor you deem more important.

Recipes

Thousands of voices weigh in on the best ratio of ground coffee to water to use for the perfect cold brew. One cup of coffee to 4 cups of water is often thrown around. However, if you’re after cold-brew concentrate, you’ll likely want to add more coffee. Other recipe factors include brew time, which can stretch from 8 hours or less, up to 48 or more. It’s important to remember that some cold-brew systems give you more room to tweak all the factors involved in your cold brew batch. Usually in-bottle systems offer less room for experimentation, while a system like the Toddy offers more precise tools for trying different cold brew recipes. 

Other Tools

With even the best cold-brew maker, you won’t get the cup you want every time unless you make sure that your other tools are helping you along as well. Consider investing in an excellent coffee grinder and a solid coffee scale. These will ensure you’re getting the correct grind and dose of coffee grounds.

FAQs

Q: How much do cold-brew makers cost?

Since there are so many different styles of cold-brew makers out there, they can range in cost considerably. The cheapest cold-brew maker on this list costs about $15, while the most expensive costs around $50. 

Q: Are brew makers worth it?

Absolutely, cold-brew makers make wonderfully smooth coffee with low acidity, and often make it in large batches. If you’re having doubts about whether you want a dedicated coffee maker, consider getting a French press like the Bodum Java, which will do a great job with hot or cold coffee.

Q: Is it cheaper to make your own cold brew?

It is most definitely cheaper to make your own cold brew. After tip (always tip your barista), a cold brew will often cost $5 to $7 at a coffee shop. At home with a large-volume maker, you could easily make well over a liter of concentrate for $7, which will provide you with strong cold brews for days.

Q: Are cold-brew makers the same as iced coffee makers?

Not always! Iced coffee can refer to cold brew, but there are many different ways to make iced coffee. Often iced coffee is made by pouring hot coffee over ice — veritably icing it. Cold brew, on the other hand, is generally made all cold. These methods create different flavor profiles. Cold-brew makers make iced coffee using the cold-brew method, while iced coffee makers can use any of a number of methods.

Final Thoughts

Cold brew is a silky smooth coffee that brews without hot water, delivering a low acidity cup. The best cold-brew coffee makers are often capable of making large volumes of cold brew concentrate that will take care of your coffee needs for the week, while others might make easy small batches that you can carry with you to work. The Bodum Java is a French press that makes a great cold brew for an affordable price, and doubles as a hot coffee maker for extra value. The County Line Kitchen is a simple solution that appeals for its universal compatibility with classic Ball wide mouth Mason jars; it is easily set up for a small to medium batch of cold brew that’s as tasty as it is convenient. The OXO Good Grips, on the other hand, is a dedicated countertop cold-brew maker with enough precision to accomodate any recipe you want to try out.

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