You want to make iced coffee, but you are not sure which cold brew coffee maker to buy. Awesome! Making some cold brew coffee at home is pretty easy, and we know exactly what’s on you your mind now. “What is the best cold brew coffee maker?” We will show you what are the options, and help you decide which cold brew system is best for you. We tested all of them.
Why Cold Brew Is Better?
First of all, let me start with a remark. Everybody talks about cold brew in the context of summer. Canada’s summers are pretty short, so there is not enough time to enjoy iced coffee. Cold brew, however, is so much more than the ingredient for iced coffee. I drink it all year round, and I suggest you do too. Here are a few other reasons to choose cold brew summer, or not.
- It is a healthier alternative to the traditional hot brewing techniques. By brewing cold we don’t extract many of the oils that can contribute to an unhealthy balance of the cholesterol. Also, the compounds that are responsible for irritating our stomach are not extracted when brewing cold.
- Let’s not forget the delicate aroma and flavors in a cold brew coffee. Sure we lose that kick that many coffee lovers enjoy. People with a delicate palate though, will enjoy cold brew coffee more than drip, or Turkish.
- Cold brew can be stored in the fridge for up to one week without any problems. Many experts say 2 weeks.
- I use a bit of sugar in my espresso, or my Turkish coffee. I don’t need to add any sugar in my cold brew coffee though. The taste is smoother and sweeter, and adding a bit of milk or cream is absolutely optional.
- You can drink it hot or cold. You can’t drink drip or espresso cold. You can, however, heat up your cold brew coffee and warm up in a winter day.
Cold Brew Coffee Extraction Techniques
How did you learn about cold brew coffee? Perhaps you had it at a restaurant and loved it, maybe you had it at a friend’s, but whatever brought you to this point, we are glad to help you pick up the best cold brew coffee maker for your needs. Our article is going to help you make the most out of your cold brew coffee adventure. Check this page on how to make cold brew coffee for a detailed step by step tutorial.
Before getting into the coffee maker reviews, we need to get you a little info about the brewing methods. Coffee geeks have classified cold brewing into two main techniques:
- steeping, also known as immersion
- and cold drip, also known as Dutch cold brew
Both of the techniques give you a delicious, healthy drink that has a shelf life of two weeks. Compare this to 20 minutes for drip coffee, or 5 minutes for espresso.
The price difference between the two methods is almost outrageous. You will have to spend 25 to 65 for steeping cold brew makers. On the other hand, you need to spend at least 350 CAD for a Dutch cold brew dripper, going up to 500 CAD, or even more for fancy Japanese drippers.
Well, there has to be a difference between the two methods, you might ask. The quantitative difference is the time. While steeping can take anywhere from 12 to 36 hours to brew, cold drip can be ready in 3 hours. There is also a subjective difference; cold drip advocates say that a coffee prepared in a Yama cold brew tower is smoother, and it just tastes better. I do think that too, but many coffee lovers would not detect this qualitative difference.
Most Popular Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Now, after we discussed the difference between immersion cold brew and cold drip, we can look at the most popular solutions. Here are the top options, and you can decide for yourself which one is the best one for you. We warn you, though, you might end up spending more than initially planned.
Here is the story of this article. We initially wanted to test the humble filter bag. Because the coffee brewed with the coffee filter didn’t quite tasted like the cold drip we had at the local coffee shop, we bought another device. At this point we realized that both methods gave great coffee but somewhat different. We then went on and tested more equipment to see if there was any difference. As a result, we ended up with testing quite a few brewers, and with a conclusion. Read on for the reviews, or jump straight to the conclusion if you are curious.
Cold Brew Coffee Filter Bag
Simple and dignified, this is great if you want to avoid the use of a maker entirely. You can create your own coffee sock and enjoy a rich flavour that doesn’t take long to brew. The clean up is a breeze, and it makes a good sized amount in one batch. With some bags, (nut milk bags included), it takes a second filtering process to ensure coffee is clear and there is no sludge. The filter bag from The Brewing Dad though is pretty good. The weave is specifically chosen for coffee filtering.
The package contains two bags. This is useful if you use flavored beans, or you want to make tea, since you can designate a bag for each type.
Toddy – The Original Immersion Cold Brew Coffee Maker
One of the biggest options out there for cold brew coffee lovers, there are a lot of perks going for it. It gives a full and sweet final product and has a glass bottle come with it. Toddy’s recipe takes longer than most of the competitors to brew, and the filter needs to be kept cool. Hard to keep clean, too, meaning you have to be really fastidious about it after the fact.
This doesn’t mean you can’t shorten the brewing time, if you want it. At the end of the day Toddy’s recipe is just a guideline, and pretty much all other steeping based cold brew recipes are inspired from this one. Toddy was the first cold brew coffee maker, and for a long period of time they had exclusivity.
Filtron – an Alternative to Toddy
Takes less time than the Toddy to filter, and is much easier to clean and keep in good shape. It looks like this is due to its filter, an improved version. The brewing process is rather streamlined, making it great if you have a last minute party to plan for. On the other hand, it comes with a plastic carafe instead of a glass one, like the one from Toddy. These two brands always seem to be fighting back and forth in popularity.
The plastic cup saves you money, if the budget is a concern, but I love Toddy’s glass carafe. Overall though, Filtron is easier to use because of a few reasons.
- The water reservoir is easier to fill.
- The filter seems to last longer for the Filtron.
- Filtron’s carafe has a lid, which makes it more appropriate for storing in the fridge after brewing.
OXO Good Grips – The Best Immersion Cold Brewer
Oxo Good Grips makes the best cold brew maker that uses steeping as the extraction method. Oxo has a few improvements over Filtron and Toddy, and this makes it the natural choice.
- Firstly, Oxo has a switch that allows you to activate the filtration process by pressing a button. With other systems you need to raise the brewing reservoir and remove the stopper. In comparison, Oxo is easier to use and less messy.
- The carafe is made from durable borosilicate, and it has measurement markings for easy portioning.
- Another great feature is the rainmaker lid that ensures an even distribution of the water. An even distribution will ensure full coffee extraction.
- The decanter can be removed during filtration, if you can’t wait until the filtration is completely done. There is a valve that it’s closed when you remove the carafe from underneath the brewer.
Hario and Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Another type of immersion cold brew maker. If you want a simple option, this is one of the easiest out there. You don’t need a complex manual for it. It is simple to use and clean, and it makes a great coffee.
Hario is the original brewer, however, Takeya is a better copy. The filter for the Hario maker is a little small for getting a strong coffee. Takeya has changed the filter to hold more coffee grounds. These type of brewers have a few advantages. Firstly, it is much easier to fit them in your fridge during or after brewing. The airtight seal is very effective and it will protect the coffee from absorbing odors from the fridge.
Yama Cold Drip – The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This is a really outstanding coffee maker, both in terms of aesthetics and quality. All the parts that are in contact with coffee during brewing are made of glass. This means there will be no flavour leaking, if you like to change grinds regularly. The filter is a permanent one, made from ceramic. A ceramic filter will save you money, but more importantly will give your coffee more body. The brewing method is cold drip. Cold drip is different from steeping, giving you a better coffee. Toddy and Filtron, and most other cold brewing devices are immersion based brewers.
Yama is a great and entertaining way to get a perfect cup of coffee. That being said, it is one of the most expensive options out there. It does take up quite a lot of space in your kitchen, which may put it out of your options if you are limited on that. Even if many of us absolutely love the design, for many others it’s just ugly.
Instead of Conclusion
So, there you have it, some of the best ways to make an unforgettable cold brew coffee. If you are still confused about what coffee maker you should buy, consider these.
- A steeping cold brew maker will take longer to brew, minimum 12 hours.
- A cold drip coffee maker like the Yama Glass one takes only 3.5 hours to be ready.
- The taste between the two devices is very similar, but because of the shorter brewing time, cold drip is a bit smoother than immersion brewing.
- Cold drip devices are more complex than their counterpart. As a result, the price for these brewers is considerably higher.
As a conclusion for our comparison, we are going to let you decide what to buy. There is no right choice for everyone. It is going to be your choice. You just use these as a guide and make your decision. I personally love the coffee filter bag from The Brewing Dad. It’s inexpensive and efficient. No matter what you choose, enjoy the adventure and remember to leave your mind open to trying all sorts of new things. There is nothing to stop you try the cheapest device now, and then buy the more sophisticated options. If you find all this too complicated and still want your cold brew coffee at home, you can buy a coffee concentrate from Station Cold Brew Coffee Co, a Canadian based company.