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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
What We Love: Easy to clean, brews strong coffee
What We Don't Love: Delicate glass beaker can be prone to leaking
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 translates to 12–14 cups of cold brew, and 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. The carafe can be put in the dishwasher, while everything else needs to be hand washed.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.5 x 9.5 x 14.75 inches | Capacity: 32 ounces | Weight: 4.4 pounds
Best Budget: Primula Burke 1.6-Quart Cold Brew Coffee Maker
What We Love: Simple and easy use, great value
What We Don't Love: Takes a long time to brew
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 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.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.7 x 5.1 x 7.6 inches | Capacity: 51 ounces | Weight: 1.75 pounds
Best Big Batch: Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System
What We Love: Can prep coffee for the week, less acidic brew
What We Don't Love: Delicate glass
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!). The Toddy system is among the larger cold-brew coffee makers, so plan to brew on the counter, then refrigerate your concentrate.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.3 x 7.3 x 13 inches | Capacity: 2 liters | Weight: 2.4 pounds
Related: The Best Coffee Makers
Best Portable: Bodum Brazil Coffee Maker
What We Love: Simple and attractive design, affordable
What We Don't Love: Mesh can bend out of shape
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. Like a lot of French press coffee makers, if you don't handle the mesh screen with care, it can start warping a little and coming apart. And since this travel-sized coffee maker weighs a mere 1 pound, you can easily take it on the road with you.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.1 x 4.1 x 9.25 inches | Capacity: 34 ounces | Weight: 1 pounds
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Best for Drinking Straight: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
What We Love: Reusable filters, produces strong flavor profiles
What We Don't Love: Tall height may make it hard to store
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 produces 4 to 4.5 cups of coffee using immersion brewing. 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.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.7 x 4.3 x 11.8 inches | Capacity: 1 liter | Weight: 13 ounces
Best Rapid Brew: Dash Rapid Cold Brew System
What We Love: Brews quickly, no bitterness
What We Don't Love: Bulky design, cleanup can take time
If you’re too impatient to wait 12 hours for your coffee to brew, 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. This is among the larger cold-brew coffee makers with a capacity of 42 ounces or 1.5 liters. Both the coffee maker and included storage carafe are made of BPA-free plastic.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 10 x 6 x 13.5 inches | Capacity: 42 ounces | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Best Slow Drip System: Bruer Cold Drip System
What We Love: Attractive design, produces great results
What We Don't Love: Tricky to learn
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 a little under 2 pounds and 10.5 inches in height, making it a countertop model.
"There's a bit of a learning curve to using this brewer, but once I mastered the process, I was rewarded with the smoothest homemade cold brew. Once brewing is complete and the tower is removed, I love that the silicone lid can be pressed into the pitcher for a tight seal when storing in the fridge. Plus, the pitcher itself is beautiful enough for other uses: I've used mine to mix big-batch cocktails and lemonade." — Taysha Murtaugh, Commerce Editorial Director
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5 x 5 x 10.5 inches | Capacity: 20 ounces | Weight: 1.7 pounds
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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