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Cold-brew coffee has gained traction in recent years. Whether made in the slow drip or pot-style immersion process, the coffee concentrate these machines produce makes superior iced coffee and a smooth and balanced morning cup.
To brew a cold-brew coffee concentrate, combine 1 cup of ground coffee for every 4 cups of cold water. Be patient (most cold-brew coffee makers require 12 to 24 hours) and take a Goldilocks approach to tinkering with the grind of your beans: too coarse and you won’t extract enough flavor; too fine and coffee grounds will leak into the cold-brew, making it gritty. This guide will help with the learning curve.
Ready to brew? Here are the best cold-brew coffee makers on the market.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker is the option most people will enjoy, due to its quality and simplicity. This 32-ounce countertop coffee maker weighs 2.5 pounds and measures 9.5 x 9.5 x 14.7 inches, so it's compact enough to store away for the winter. It's made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass with a stainless steel filter and silicone gasket.
The showerhead-style design drips water onto coffee grounds, in contrast to the pot-style brewing method where ground coffee is immersed directly in cold water. A drip brewing process creates less sediment and intensifies the flavors in the final cup. Brew time is 12 to 24 hours, at which point you’ll pull a drainage switch to release coffee into the included decanter. Once you're done, the entire maker comes apart for easy cleaning.
Best Budget: Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker
While the Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker is affordable, it rivals cold-brew coffee makers that cost double (or even triple) its price. This little coffee maker, which measures 6.9 x 4.7 x 7.7 inches and only weighs 1.75 pounds, is made with heat-resistant borosilicate glass, with a silicone lid, and has a capacity of 6 cups.
This cold-brew coffee maker uses pot-style brewing, where a basket of grounds is immersed in a brew pot. The mesh filter captures nearly all of the sediment for a smooth brew. The bottom of the filter unscrews so you can dump the grounds for easy cleanup, and both the filter and carafe are dishwasher safe. The biggest drawback? Brew time is 24 hours, so you need to plan ahead.
Best Big Batch: Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System
Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System is the undisputed king of big-batch cold-brew coffee, with a half-gallon consumer model. The Toddy system is made of glass, BPA-free plastic, and rubber, and comes with felt filters that can be reused 10 times.
One aspect to keep in mind is that you have to remove the rubber stopper to drain your cold brew, and quickly position it over the glass carafe. Still, it’s a reliable method to get vast quantities of tasty cold-brew that rivals what you'd get at the cafe (especially since they may be brewing with Toddy’s 2.5-gallon system!). Measuring 7.3 x 7.3 x 13 inches and weighing 2.42 pounds, the Toddy system is among the larger cold-brew coffee makers, so plan to brew on the counter, then refrigerate your concentrate.
Related: The Best Coffee Makers
Best Portable: Bodum Brazil Coffee Maker
It’s worth investing in a portable cold-brew coffee maker for travel, and a crowd-pleasing favorite is actually Bodum’s 34-ounce French press. Yup, you can use a French press for cold-brew. Let it steep, then plunge and strain.
The borosilicate glass carafe resists heat, as does the BPA-free handle, and everything is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. This travel-sized coffee maker weighs 1 pound and measures 4.2 x 5.2 x 9.3 inches.
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Best for Drinking Straight: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
Most cold-brew systems create a coffee concentrate, which is diluted with water to your preferred strength. The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot, however, makes a refreshingly complex cold-brew you'll want to drink directly.
The 1-liter size model brews 4 to 4.5 cups of coffee using immersion and measures 11.8 x 4.7 x 4.3 inches. Also, the heat-resistant glass pot and reusable fine mesh filter are dishwasher safe. While the manufacturer recommends an 8-hour brew time, dark roast lovers might prefer a 12-hour steep.
Best Rapid Brew: Dash Rapid Cold Brew System
If you’re too impatient to wait 12 hours for a caffeine fix, consider the Dash Cold Brew Coffee Maker. Three intensity settings (light, medium, and dark) brew in 5 to 15 minutes, thanks to a special “cold boil” brew process, where the coffee grounds are never heated, so the coffee oils don’t develop bitter flavors.
There is one trade-off for the speed: even at its strongest, the coffee is weaker than a typical cold brew. At 2.8 pounds and 6 x 10 x 13.5 inches, this is among the larger cold-brew coffee makers with a capacity of 48 ounces. Both the coffee maker and included storage carafe are made of BPA-free plastic.
Best Slow Drip System: Bruer Cold Drip System
Like the OXO, the Bruer Cold Drip Coffee System uses gravity to prevent gritty cold-brew coffee. The top chamber of this coffee maker holds ice water, which slowly drips onto the coffee grounds held below. A center knob lets you adjust the drip rate to a recommended one drop of water per second. A steel mesh filter prevents sediment from leaching into the finished cold-brew.
This system is delicate, since it's made of glass, and its capacity is limited to 20 ounces. A common complaint is the learning curve required to master the Bruer. However, if you want a silky-smooth cold-brew with no grit, this is your best bet. The Bruer weighs just over 3 pounds and measures 5.1 x 5.1 x 9.8 inches, making it a countertop model.
Related: The Best Travel Coffee Mugs
Almost any coffee enthusiast will be happy with the OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker (view at Amazon), which easily brews a flavorful coffee concentrate. For bigger quantities of cold-brew coffee, choose a longstanding favorite, the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System (view at Amazon).
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Lindsey Danis is a former professional cook and a food writer for retail and trade publications.
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