Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers in 2018

Cold brew is the new trendy drink to buy at your local cafe, but it’s actually quite simple (and much cheaper) to make at home.

Brewing coffee in cold water for a long period of time gives it a full-bodied, mellow taste that is pleasant and more than worth trying. Here are our top picks for the best cold brew makers in 2018. 

The Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is made by pouring hot or room temperature coffee over ice. This works just fine for many people, especially in the summertime when hot coffee loses some of its appeal.

But the problem with preparing coffee this way is that it can become watery and flavorless.

Alternatively, cold brew is produced from coffee grounds that are exposed to cold or room-temperature water for 8-24 hours. This is an entirely separate brewing method that gives cold brew a unique flavor profile.

Though cold water typically does not extract aroma and flavor from coffee beans as well as hot water, cold brew uses a larger ratio of coffee grounds to water to a achieve a full, balanced taste.

Specific techniques and recipes for this process vary; there are a wide brewing methods available for cold brew that you can see below.

Benefits of Cold Brew

Cold brew can be extremely simple to make.

How much time and effort you’ll expend depends on the gear you buy, but the basic concept of cold brew can be done without much fuss: prepare the brew, let it sit overnight, and then enjoy cold brew.

Most methods produce a concentrate that might give you up to eight cups of coffee, depending on how much you do or do not dilute.

Once it’s ready, that coffee will stay fresh for up to a week when stored properly. Being able to open your refrigerator on busy mornings and have quality coffee sitting ready for you beats spending 10-15 minutes brewing every day.

One interesting benefit of cold brew for some people is the slightly higher pH, meaning cold brew may be less acidic.

Cold water extracts less of the natural acids found in coffee beans, making it a good choice for anyone worried about the side effects of coffee’s acidic nature.

There is some debate about the caffeine levels in cold brew. While it is true that the colder water extracts fewer caffeine solubles into the coffee, caffeine content results from the ratio of water and grounds, temperature of the water, brewing time, and type of beans used.

In the end, the caffeine content likely ends up being around the same as a regular cup of hot-brewed coffee.

Considerations for a Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Find the right cold brew maker for your preference and lifestyle by reflecting on your motivations for making cold brew in the first place.

If you are curious about the unique flavor that brewing coffee in cold water yields and are willing to spend money to find the best taste, then opt for a method with more control over the details of the brewing process.

If, however, you want to try cold brew for its time efficiency and high yield of coffee that will stay fresh for days, find something that is no-fuss and simply designed. 

Effort

Some cold brew makers will require more effort than others, so think about what you are looking for in terms of time investment. Keep in mind that one of the benefits of cold brew is the ease of use, so rest assured that most options we list will be relatively simple to operate.

Size

Most cold brew makers are designed to brew enough coffee for more than a few servings but they will vary in capacity. Keep in mind that many systems produce cold brew concentrate, so they may actually yield more cups of coffee than what they appear to hold. 

Filters

There are plenty of cold brew options that use reusable filters, and that is one of the benefits of this method. However, beware of those that don’t and consider whether this is important to you or not.

Materials

Like all coffee makers, cold brew systems that are higher quality are made of higher quality materials like glass and ceramic. This factor mostly depends on your budget, but these materials are always better at containing water than plastics or metals.

Coffee Grounds

Cold brew systems use coarse grounds, so make sure you have the ability to grind coarsely ground fresh coffee beans before you get started. See our guide here for the best grinders on the market.

A Note About Cold Brew

Making cold brew doesn’t have to be particularly fancy; in fact, a mason jar and reusable filter of some sort are enough to do the job well enough to reap the benefits of cold brew.

High-end makers involve highly engineered systems of cooling and dripping. The more mid-range products that are still specific to cold brewing are usually pitcher-style coffee makers that differ in quality of material, size, and capacity.

As you search, keep in mind that there is more variation between cold brew coffee makers than with other types of brewing systems simply because they all use a slightly different method.

We’ve done our best to help you understand how each cold brew maker works before giving you our evaluation.

Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers in 2018

Here are our top picks for the best cold brew coffee makers on the market and a brief explanation of how they operate.

Toddy Cold Brew System

The Toddy system is a popular method of cold brewing coffee that uses wool filters and a plastic bin with a rubber stopper to filter coffee into a glass carafe. It’s a bit pricey for the lower quality materials, but the Toddy brews a lot of concentrate and will keep coffee fresh for several weeks.

PROS

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    Keeps coffee fresh for 2-3 weeks
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    Comes with two reusable wool and paper filters
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    Brews a large capacity of concentrate
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    Simple to use and easy to store

CONS

  • Brewing container is plastic
  • Rubber stoppers may need to be replaced
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    Takes a while to drain after brewing
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The OXO is similar to the Toddy but uses higher quality materials and a higher quality design, which accounts for its higher price point. This is a simple, user-friendly coffee maker that produces a reasonable amount of cold brew concentrate.

PROS

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    Rainmaker design evenly distributes water over the grounds
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    Simple switch control begins the filtering process after brewing
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    Glass carafe comes with a silicone seal to keep concentrate fresh
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    Includes a reusable stainless steel mesh filter

CONS

  • May need paper filters to keep coffee grounds out of final brew
  • Brewing container is made of plastic
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Iced Coffee Pot-Maker

This small, simple cold brew pitcher is a great option for anyone looking for a decent cold brew at a lower price point.

Hario is a well-respected brand in the coffee world, so this is a good budget-friendly option that will still be long-lasting.

PROS

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    Small container fits easily into refrigerator
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    Easy to clean and is dishwasher safe
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    Built-in filter is reusable
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    Brewing and serving is done from the same container

CONS

  • Pitcher is made of plastic
  • Makes smaller batches than most other cold brew makers
Yama Glass 6-8 Cup Cold Drip Maker Straight Black Wood

The fact that the Yama looks more like a science lab set-up than a coffee maker should tell you just how much detail and precision are built into extracting the perfect cold brew.

Using a system of ceramic filters and glass funnels stacked on top of each other, the Yama slowly releases one drop of cold water per second over coffee grounds. Here’s a great video guide showing how it works.

PROS

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    Ceramic filter is permanent and heat resistant
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    Glass carafe has measurements on the side
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    Slow drip method produces coffee with low to nonexistent acidity
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    Beautifully designed
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    Unique brewing method is not available with any other at-home cold brew system

CONS

  • Have to use paper filters over the coffee grounds
  • Though parts are dishwasher safe, the coils are difficult to clean
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    Large and bulky item will take up significant kitchen space
Country Line Kitchen Cold Brew Coffee Maker - 2 Quart

This is a simple but effective cold brew system that uses a quality-made filter and a glass mason jar. We like the simplicity of this design and think it is a great option for anyone wanting good cold brew without too much fuss.

PROS

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    Permanent filter is stainless steel and durable
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    Glass mason jar comes with a silicone seal for freshness
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    Soda-lime glass of the jar withstands the pressure of temperature and chemicals
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    Small container is compact and easy to store

CONS

  • Does not make large batches
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

This is a simply designed pitcher that brews and serves your coffee using the same container and one reusable filter. Its compact, user-friendly design makes it a good option for consistent cold brew.

PROS

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    Compact size will fit in most refrigerator doors
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    Good for consistent use
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    Airtight seal lets you keep coffee fresh for up to two weeks

CONS

  • Mesh strainer might leak some coffee grounds into the brew
  • Makes a relatively small batch of coffee
Simple Life Cycle Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Iced Tea Maker

This is an excellent budget option for a solid cold brew method made of durable materials. Much like a cheaper and smaller version of the Country Line Kitchen brewer, it’s simple but effective.

PROS

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    Materials are all plastic-free and reusable
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    Ball jar is made of soda-lime glass and is resistant to temperature and chemicals
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    Filter is large enough to reach the bottom of the glass for even brewing
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    Small jar is easy to store in limited space

CONS

  • Wooden lid must be washed by hand
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    No easy pouring spout
Ovalware Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker and Tea Infuser with Spout

This system uses a cone-shaped glass carafe and permanent stainless steel mesh filter to brew. These quality materials make excellent cold brew.

PROS

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    Glass carafe is durable and dishwasher safe
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    Stainless steel lid has a built-in seal to keep coffee fresh
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    Measurements on the side of the carafe are helpful for serving
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    Spout and handle make coffee easy to pour

CONS

  • This is a smaller brewing container
  • Small amounts of coffee sediment may leak out
Coffee Gator Cold Brew Coffee and Tea Maker – 47 fl oz Kit

Coffee Gator prides itself on selling products that maximize both quality and simplicity. This pitcher method cold brewer is an excellent option for something sturdy and consistent.

PROS

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    Glass is heat resistant and BPA-free
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    Entire system is easy to take apart and clean
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    Added user-friendly elements like an included funnel and leak-proof lid make the system intuitive and simple

CONS

  • Glass carafe may be fragile and break without proper care
  • Coffee grounds may leak into coffee through filter
Coffee Panda Cold Brew Coffee Maker - 44oz

Another simple pitcher system, the Coffee Panda is a durable cold brew maker that will last for a long time with proper care.

PROS

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    Glass is high quality and durable
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    Rubber on the bottom prevents glass from sliding around
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    Easy to take apart and clean
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    Will fit easily in most refrigerators

CONS

  • Coffee grounds may seep into brew

Winners of the Cold Brew Roundup

While the Yama Cold Drip Maker is by far the most elite brewing system on our list, we acknowledge that price makes it a bit of a stretch.

With that being said, our top pick goes to the Country Line Glass Cold Brew Maker.

Unlike the OXO or the Toddy, which are both great systems, the Country Line is simple and straightforward without compromising on flavor.

In fact, we like the fact that the Country Line’s simple system uses high-quality glass and stainless steel over plastics or paper filters. 


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