The Best List

The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers, According to the Best Experts

published Apr 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you are a seasonal iced coffee drinker, we’re betting you’re pretty excited by these sunnier (and slightly warmer) days. It’s just about time to ditch our hot coffees in favor of colder, less acidic, smoother stuff. With that in mind, we figured it might be helpful to take a look at the best cold brew coffee makers for those of you who want to make your own concentrate at home.

Where to start? We cut straight to the chase and made this a LITERAL best list, in which we gathered the top picks from other well-respected testers including Wirecutter and Cook’s Illustrated. We also looked at Amazon to see what people are buying and raving about.

Here are the cold brew coffee machines other experts deem to be the best of the best — plus Kitchn’s two cents.

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cool water and making a coffee concentrate via cold extraction. It’s smoother, less acidic, and more flavorful than coffee made with hot water. For those who always prefer their coffee hot — even in 90-degree temps — you can add hot water to your cold brew coffee concentrate and get all the flavor benefits of cold brew but in a hot drink.

More on Cold Brew Coffee

5 of the Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers

The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker, According to Wirecutter

The folks at Wirecutter looked at 15 different cold brew coffee makers and made concentrate for more than 300 cups of coffee. They landed on this OXO maker because it’s super-easy to use and incredibly good-looking. Plus, testers loved the coffee it produced, saying it consistently made coffee with balanced acidity, a strong aroma, and a clean finish. Testers really liked that the setup works with an included metal filter, which helps brew a more flavorful cup of coffee.

The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker, According to Cook’s Illustrated

Technically, the tasters at Cook’s Illustrated prefer cold brew coffee made using the French press method, but for those who really want a special device, they stand by the Toddy Cold Brew System — a gadget they’ve crowned and re-crowned in their testing over the years. It’s just a few pieces, so it’s easy to set up (and clean up!) and it brews a full-flavored concentrate that’ll hold up in the fridge.

The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker, According to Epicurious

OXO for the win again, according to Epicurious. They also call out the gadget’s good looks and go into a little more detail, pointing out the “rainmaker” insert that showers the grinds evenly to maximize flavor, the airtight storage container, and again, that metal filter.

The Bestselling Cold Brew Coffee Maker on Amazon

Search Amazon to find the bestselling cold brew coffee makers and this one comes up as the number-one pick. It’s got Amazon’s seal of approval, 4.5 stars, and more than 2,270 positive reviews. This is probably the easiest to use compared to all the brewers on this list, but maybe a little harder to clean (the grounds go in the narrow filter that sits in the middle of the pitcher, so you have to really dig them out). If you’re looking for something with as few pieces as possible, this is it.

The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker, According to Consumer Reports

This scientific-looking contraption won because of its speed. The water drips down into the grounds and drips out into the bottom carafe. It still takes around four hours, though, but that’s better than having to wait overnight. It doesn’t make concentrate, either — just ready-to-drink cold coffee — so it technically makes less than the other gadgets on this list.

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers

While we find the Bruer to be a little too finicky for our needs, we can see serious coffee nerds geeking out over it. For those looking for a simpler option, we 100 percent support the other brewers on this list. We’d also like to add one more suggestion: this stainless steel cold brew coffee maker by KitchenAid. It came out a few years ago and we loved it instantly. It works a lot like the Takeya, only the brew basket is wider, which means it’s easier to clean out. The whole thing has a small footprint and it can easily sit on a shelf in your fridge. And thanks to its spigot, it can dispense concentrate right from the shelf.

What do you think? Do you have a cold brew coffee brewer that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below.