- A top-quality cold brew coffee maker should produce a large quantity of full-bodied and flavorful concentrate while being easy to operate and durable to withstand years of regular use.
- The OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker is our top pick because it makes rich, delicious coffee at a low cost per cup, and its sleek design stands out among its somewhat clunky competitors.
Cold brew coffee is smooth, highly concentrated, low in acidity, and tastes strong even over ice, making it a great warm-weather or year-round drink. It can take hours to steep coffee grounds into a concentrate, so picking one up at your favorite cafe can often come with sticker shock. The alternative — and it's a good one — is to brew your own at home with a cold brew maker.
While the devices we recommend below make things a little more seamless, you can (almost) just as easily make it at home with regular kitchen items you probably already have. Read the DIY method over here.
But if you're looking for the easiest and cleanest way to produce cold brew, you'll want a dedicated cold brew coffee maker. The ones included in our guide are durable, user-friendly, and, most importantly, produce a concentrate that is smooth and full of flavor. They produce a highly concentrated coffee so dilute it with milk, water, or pour it over ice. As tempting as it may be, do not drink an entire carafe of the stuff. We've read (and lived through) enough horror stories.
Here are the best cold brew coffee makers:
- Best overall: OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best on a budget: Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
- Best for a fast cold brew: Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
- Best for rich flavor: Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer
Prices and links are current as of 9/1/2020. We still stand by our picks, and while the OXO Good Grips remains our favorite dedicated cold brew maker, we also added notes on how to make your own cold brew coffee with what you probably already have in your kitchen.
The best overall
The OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker brews smooth, balanced cold coffee, and its sleek design will perk up any countertop.
There are a few features that set the OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker apart from the rest of the cold brewers on this list. First, there is a unique perforated "rainmaker" top that helps distribute the water evenly over the coffee grounds, which is key for optimal flavor extraction. Also, rather than using a stopper or plug at the bottom of the coffee bowl, there is a valve that is easy to turn on and off.
The OXO cold brew maker features a fine, stainless steel mesh filter that you can reuse, though you may still want to use a paper filter for easier cleanup. The carafe is made of borosilicate glass, which is quite resilient since it does not expand or contract like normal glass. The carafe is shaped like an Erlenmeyer flask, which is sure to appeal to science fans. Lastly, this OXO gadget can produce up to 32 ounces of cold brew at a time.
The simple design is incredibly smart. You just ensure that the release valve is locked, add the amount of coffee you want to use, pop the rainmaker top on, and pour the right amount of water over the grounds in a circular motion. The water will rain down on the grounds and get brewing. It's incredibly easy to use because you don't have to worry about any filters or small parts.
In our tests, we let it brew for 12 to 24 hours, depending on the flavor we wanted. When it's done brewing, you just flip the release valve and watch the coffee pour down into the carafe. Perhaps best of all, OXO includes a secure stopper for the top of the carafe, so you can just pop it on and put the entire carafe in the fridge.
The machine turned out an excellent cold brew every time we used it. It does take some trial and error to get the flavor and strength you want, but OXO's guidelines give you a good idea of where to get started. We recommend experimenting with different kinds of coffee to see which flavors and strengths you like. We were particularly fond of a fruity Colombian blend, because it almost tasted like chocolate milk when we made cold brew with it.
The machine is remarkably easy to clean after, too. You just scoop the grounds into the trash and rinse it out. The OXO cold brew machine makes brewing coffee an incredibly simple and effortless experience.
Pros: Stylish design, easy to store, convenient valve for pouring, easy to clean
Cons: Has more steps than others in our guide
The best on a budget
The Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker is a smart solution if you are on a budget and like your cold brew mild.
Although the Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker relies on the same cold-brewing principles as the other models we've covered, there are some basic differences. Up to eight ounces of coffee grounds are added to the filter, which is then screwed into the pitcher, which holds 32 ounces of water. Rather than removing a plug or opening a valve to release the cold brew, you remove the filter and grounds from the water. This leaves you with a pitcher of cold brew concentrate.
Since the Takeya brewer uses half the grounds to produce the same amount of cold brew as the makers we've already mentioned, the resulting concentrate is decidedly weaker. Yet, this may not be a problem since most people dilute their cold brew anyway.
The Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker is the preferred cold brew maker of Insider Reviews Guides Editor Les Shu. He likes the price, but it's the convenience that he appreciates most: Simply dump the coffee grounds into the filter (a medium or dark roast ground coarsely works best), add cold filtered water, place in the fridge overnight, and you have cold brew coffee waiting the next morning.
To counter the weaker brew, he strongly shakes the bottle for 30 seconds before placing it in the fridge — this is where the leak-proof cap comes in handy — which leads to a much stronger-tasting concentrate. Then, he lets it brew for at least 12 hours. The fine mesh of the built-in filter does a good job keeping the grounds from getting into the concentrate. The pitcher also makes it handy for pouring (pro tip: try making coffee ice cubes).
The filter can be a bit difficult to clean and over time, it will discolor and could take on the taste of a particular coffee. That being said, it's not a real issue for most people, and Takeya sells replacement filters.
Pros: Affordable, fits in your refrigerator door, does not require paper filters, easy to use
Cons: Doesn't produce strong cold brew
The best for fast cold brew
The Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker speeds up the cold brew process with a spinning chamber that agitates the coffee and the water.
The only real downside to cold brew is that it takes time. If you're impatient and never plan ahead, you may want to try a fast-brewing cold brew machine like this one from Cuisinart.
We tried it out at home, and though it didn't produce a cold brew that was as aromatic and flavorful as the OXO, the coffee it did produce was still delicious and it was ready in just 25 to 45 minutes as opposed to 12 to 24 hours.
The machine is easy to use, though it does require electricity. You simply add ground coffee to the filter basket and fill the water tank with cold or room temperature water. It will take some time to figure out how much water and coffee you want to use, but Cuisinart has very clear guidelines that worked well enough for our tastes.
The machine has three different coffee strengths, each of which corresponds to a different brew time: mild (25 minutes), medium (35 minutes), and bold (45 minutes). Once you've chosen your strength, you press "brew" to begin. The coffee filter basket spins to agitate the grounds and the water and speed up the extraction process.
Once it's done brewing, you slide the lever to the release the coffee into the carafe below. The carafe also has a filter top, so you shouldn't get too much sediment in your cup, though you will see some as you reach the end of the carafe. Some people hate this and say it tastes "dirty," but others don't seem to mind.
We thought the Cuisinart Cold Brew Coffeemaker did best on the bold setting, which makes sense because it's the longest period of extraction. Keep in mind that you simply can't beat a good, long extraction time with this type of brewing. Still, for cold brew in less than an hour, this is the best machine you can buy.
The main concern we had was that the machine has moving parts, so it is more at risk of breaking than the other cold brew makers we recommend, all of which require no electricity. — Malarie Gokey
Pros: Fast brewing process, easy to use, effective, good flavor
Cons: Moving parts risk failure, needs electricity, cold brew purists may not like the speedy extraction time
The best for rich flavor
The Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer produces remarkably rich, sediment-free cold brew, thanks to its multi-chamber filter system.
What sets the Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer apart from other brewing systems is its use of a water bowl. This system evenly saturates the coffee grounds to draw out the flavors of the beans and make delicious coffee.
To use the brewer, you first plug the bottom of the coffee bowl and insert the reusable sealed filter. For easy cleanup, insert a large coffee filter on top of that and fill it with up to a pound of ground coffee. Next, place the plastic guard on the coffee and put the water bowl on top. You then fill the water bowl to the appropriate level and let the coffee steep for 12 to 24 hours. Lastly, you place the setup over the 1.5-liter carafe and pull the plug.
We admit, the Filtron requires a bit of work, but you'll be rewarded with great tasting cold brew coffee for the effort.
The Filtron Brewer comes with two sample paper filters and a measuring cup. One unique and somewhat irritating feature is that the reusable filter pad must be stored in the refrigerator in water to stave off mold.
An important perk: you don't need to buy Filtron-specific filters. Standard large coffee filters work fine with this cold brew maker.
Pros: Takes many different filters, produces rich and delicious coffee at a low cost per cup
Cons: Hard to store, difficult to use initially
How to make cold brew at home with regular kitchen items
If you're looking for a DIY method, you can make cold brew at home with what you already have.
In the simplest of terms, you need a coffee grinder (medium-coarse grounds are best), a mason jar (or any kind of glass or plastic pitcher with a lid), and a strainer or cheesecloth for filtering.
Toss in however much coffee you'd like (we go for a roughly 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of coffee to water), cover it, and let it steep either in the fridge or out at room temperature for anywhere from 12-24 hours. If you have a French press, you can do the same thing but note that a cheesecloth or paper filter is still best — unless you like cowboy coffee.
Once it's been brewed up to 24 hours, pour through the filter and/or cheesecloth, doctor it up as you'd like, and serve. Yes, it's really that easy—and as long as you keep it covered and refrigerated, each batch should last a couple of weeks in the fridge.
What else we've considered
We researched and tested many of the items here for our guide, but there are certain ones that didn't make the cut. Here's what else we came across:
Toddy Cold Brew System: This maker has a long track record of providing a great balance of simplicity and flavor. The system includes a brewing container with a handle, two reusable filters, a rubber stopper, a glass decanter with a lid, a recipe guide, and instructions. While it makes a smooth drink, it's not as easy to use as others in our guide, it doesn't have a lid, and there are long-term durability concerns.
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Iced Coffee Pot: This one has a sleek design that fits into your refrigerator door and produces cold-brewed coffee in just eight hours. It's compact, durable, easy to use, dishwasher safe, and doesn't require paper filters that you'll have to buy often. But it ultimately produces weak concentrate.
Check out our other great coffee buying guides
The best stovetop espresso machines
One of the most humble and effective machines for making a strong cup of coffee is the stovetop espresso maker also known as the moka pot. The moka pot, or macchinetta del caffè, which literally translates to "small coffee machine," is a stovetop machine that moves boiling water, pressurized by steam, through ground coffee to make a delicious brew. It's also an easy way to start making espresso at home. These are the best stovetop espresso machines.
The best pour-over coffee gear
Pour-over coffee is having a renaissance. Some baristas and coffee enthusiasts make the pour-over method look painstaking, but it's actually quite easy once you get the steps down. While you just need a cone, a filter, and a mug to get started, if you're serious about your coffee, then you're going to want some other gear to complete your pour-over kit. That's why we rounded up a few must-have accessories. Here is the best pour-over coffee gear you can buy.
The best French presses
Coffee brewing methods are many and varied. One of the most popular methods is the French press, which lets your coffee grounds swirl around in boiling water to brew before you push the plunger down and pour the coffee right into your mug. There are dozens of great French press coffee makers out there, but they're not all created equal. These are the best French presses.
The best espresso machines
Investing in an espresso machine might be a daunting prospect, but if you're regularly hitting up Starbucks, it might pay for itself a whole lot quicker than you think. These are the best espresso machines you can buy.
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