If you’re a coffee enthusiast, chances are you’ve swapped out your iced coffee order for cold brew over the past few years. The best cold brew coffee makers offer the same coffee shop-level brew at home—for less money, waste, and time. And they’re a more economical and sustainable option than cold brew concentrates and other store-bought cold brews.
If you haven’t hopped on the cold brew train, well, this is your sign to catch up. Cold brew is steeped cold, whereas iced coffee is brewed hot and then refrigerated. Cold brew offers a stronger, richer flavor than iced coffee, and it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. It also significantly reduces the acidity of coffee, as bitter-tasting oils are released through heat and can make iced or hot coffee taste acidic. Before we show you our favorite cold brew coffee makers, here’s what to know about brewing at home, plus what to look for when shopping cold brew coffee makers.
How do you make cold brew?
“Cold brewing coffee is relatively foolproof,” Josey Markiewicz, La Colombe’s Senior Director of Cafe, tells SELF. “Make sure you are using the right coffee and that your grind particles are as uniform as possible. The grind should be about as coarse as Kosher salt. let it mingle [in the brewing vessel] with cold or room-temperature water for around 18 hours before filtering.” These instructions can vary slightly depending on what kind of cold brew maker you buy, but in general, it’s pretty simple. The most important thing is to follow the coffee-to-water ratio
When it comes to the best kind of coffee for the brewing process, he says, “You want to choose a coffee that is relatively soluble, so either a coffee grown at low elevation, naturally processed, or roasted a bit on the darker side. But not all those variables at once.” You’ll want to have a good coffee grinder on hand, although some coffee subscriptions like Trade Coffee and La Colombe can grind it for whatever brewing method you prefer.
do you need a cold brew maker if you only drink it occasionally?
Cold brew coffee makers are the best way to achieve a smooth, grounds-free cup, but you can make it without one. This is especially something to note if you only drink cold brew once in a while, or don’t want a big container of it sitting in the fridge. “All you need is a vessel and time,” he says. “You could pour the right ratio of coffee and water in a mason jar [or something similar], stir, and let it sit overnight. Then, when you wake up, just pour the resulting liquid through any filter.”
What should you look for when buying a cold brew coffee maker?
Markiewicz says the most important factors in cold brew makers are durability and price. Thankfully, most cold brew makers we found were relatively accessible price-wise. One way to think about your price range for these kitchen gadgets is to consider if you’ll use the cold brew coffee maker enough to really get your money’s worth. As far as durability goes, your cold brew coffee maker should be made with thick plastic, glass, or stainless steel. “Use a reusable filter that is woven tightly enough to remove all sediment,” he adds. You’ll want a machine that simplifies the cold brew process and has comprehensive directions. It shouldn’t be a total pain to clean; we looked for options with dishwasher-safe parts. And if the cold brewer you like requires paper or felt filters, make sure that they’re easy to purchase separately.
Ahead, we gathered the best cold brew coffee makers using this guidance. We took glowing reviews from coffee lovers into account, too, and made sure to include options for every price point. You’ll find affordable filtration vessels and French presses, plus high-end cold brewers for the at-home baristas among us. We’ve included brands like OXO, Bodum, Hario, KitchenAid, and more for a smooth, strong cup of coffee.