If you get a cold brew on your way to work, you’re well aware of how costly that small morning ritual can be. With prices steadily rising (I recently spent $7 for a cold brew in Miami), now is the best time to invest in a home cold brew coffee maker.
Making the ideal cold brew is more difficult than it appears. You must obtain the proper coffee grounds (coarse), soak them overnight, then filter them properly the next morning. Professional coffee artisans are the best people to remark on the art form of cold brew production.
We tested ten common cold brew coffee makers, then asked three Brooklyn baristas to undertake a blind taste test of the cold brew we brewed in our studio to get their feedback on color, taste, concentration, and overall experience. They discovered that the easy-to-use Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker, as well as the adaptable Toddy Cold Brew System, which can make both concentrate and full-size carafes, were the best options for classic cold brew. Read on for all the facts on our picks for the finest cold brew coffee machines.
Heres what we suggest:
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cons: The release switch was a little difficult to operate (we had to steady the brewer with one hand while strongly pushing down on the release lever with the other).
While all three of these cold brew coffee machines produced excellent coffee, this one was our favorite because of its ease of use, concentrated flavor, and smooth body. Because the top of the brewing equipment has perforated holes, the water falls like rain on the grounds as you pour it over them. This effect, according to our barista testers, is both meditative and provides a balanced saturation of the coffee grinds.
Place a small circular paper filter (the machine comes with a pack of 10) at the bottom of the brewing container to begin the brewing process. After measuring out your coffee grounds with the stopper, put the perforated rainmaker lid on the carafe and slowly pour the water in a circular manner. Allow 12 to 24 hours for the brew to steep, then press the release switch to pour the brew into the carafe.
- 32-ounce capacity
- 9.5 x 9.5 x 14.7 inches in size
- Glass carafe with measuring marks and cork were given as extras.
Toddy Cold Brew System
Cons: It requires the purchase of paper filters and takes up a lot of counter space.
The Toddy was the heaviest of the cold brew coffee machines we tried, but the end result is well worth the extra counter space. This brewing system has a few distinct elements (a carafe, stopper, brewing container, and filters), yet it’s still simple to use. Place a big paper filter in the brewing container, pour in the coffee and water, cover, and let aside for 12 to 24 hours, depending on your preferences. Remove the paper filter and stopper when the necessary time has passed, and allow the coffee trickle into the carafe.
Between the brewing container and the carafe, a paper filter and a small reusable felt filter guaranteed that no grounds escaped during testing. The vast area in which the coffee grounds soaked overnight also resulted in a consistently robust and smooth cold brew concentrate.
Our baristas enjoyed how the Toddy system gives them versatility in coffee preparation. For an occasion, you may produce a large batch of cold brew concentrate, a stronger batch for cocktail ingredients, or a weaker batch for cold brew ice cubes.
- 33-ounce capacity
- 7.25 x 7.25 x 12.5 inches in size
- Two reusable felt filters, a rubber stopper, and a recipe book were given as extras.
KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cons: It’s hefty (6.5 pounds empty) and doesn’t come with a stand, so it needs to be kept on the refrigerator’s top shelf.
The directions for this cold brew coffee maker were the most lengthy, yet it was easy to use. To make the coffee grounds, place them in the circular filter and slowly pour water over them for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the filter and grinds before pouring from the tap once the necessary time has passed.
Because some grounds leaked into the poured coffee samples, our baristas recommended the KitchenAid as the only cold brew coffee maker that didn’t include a paper filter of some kind. Our baristas, on the other hand, were fans of the strong flavor and suggested using a paper filter for a smoother experience.
- 28-ounce capacity
- 10 x 9.1 x 10.3 inches in size
- The following items were included as extras: Steeper made of reusable stainless steel
The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker was the cold brew coffee maker that produced the best results while being the easiest to use. The Toddy Cold Brew System, which can be used as a cold brew concentrate maker as well as a conventional cold brew device, and the big size KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker, which maintains cold brew on tap in the fridge, are also excellent choices.
To develop our product collection, we chose ten popular cold brew coffee makers. We used coarse coffee grounds and followed the directions and coffee-to-water ratios for each model, allowing them to brew for the prescribed time (between 12 and 24 hours).
We then conducted a blind taste test with three Brooklyn baristas who are well-versed in the cold brew method. (Editor’s note: These are their personal views, which may or may not reflect those of their employers.) They evaluated the clarity of the flavors that came through in each sample, as well as the brew strength, smoothness, and consistency of the body, and if they would recommend it to a friend.
Consider the following factors:
There are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal cold brew coffee machine for you if you want to make cold brew at home. Because the process takes longer than making an iced coffee, you’ll want to be sure the payoff is worthwhile.
Perhaps the most important consideration when selecting a cold brew coffee maker is that you enjoy the flavor of the coffee it produces.
“If your first response when you taste it is to pull back, it’s definitely overly sour,” says Victoria Ratermanis, a barista at Edy’s Grocer in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “If you’re enjoying exploring the flavor of it, then it has a decent body.”
Ratermanis adds that a strong flavor doesn’t always imply a higher caffeine content in the finished cold brew. So, whichever cold brew coffee maker you choose, follow the directions for the coffee grounds to water ratio and brewing time, but tweak it until you achieve the flavor you desire.
A robust cold brew concentration is not only delicious, but it also ensures that you’re getting the most out of your coffee beans and allows you to experiment with your coffee. You can dilute with water or milk if you choose, but you can also be inventive.
Our baristas recommended using cold brew in cocktails or ice cubes, baking with it, and experimenting with it in different ways around the kitchen.
Jovanni Luna, barista at Gertie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, explains, “You want your cold brew concentrated so you can play around with it.” “You don’t want an already diluted coffee in a drink [made with cold brew], because your cocktail will be diluted.”
A smooth taste, according to Amanda Miserocchi, barista at Blue Bottle Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is essential in addition to acute concentration.
“I search for something more concentrated when looking for the perfect cold brew, and smoothness is a big consideration. The absence of the sourness or bitterness of hot coffee is the whole idea of sipping cold brew.”
When producing cold brew at home, the grounds must have enough room to steep in water overnight, resulting in a smooth and uniform flavor. As a result, most compact and narrow at-home cold brew machines don’t have the same smooth flavor as larger models from Toddy or Oxo. Because the coffee grounds have more surface area to steep overnight in a larger vessel, the body of the coffee is stronger and more uniform between cups.
Filtration that works
No coffee grounds should pass through the filter into the finished drink, just like in normal coffee machines. Both metal and stainless steel filters allowed some grounds to pass through, but mesh filters produced weak coffee. Paper filters generated sediment-free coffee in the cold brew makers we tested.
Yield of Coffee
Some cold brewers boast that your brew will stay fresh for up to two weeks, allowing you to prepare a large batch without fear of waste. While you don’t want to leave your cold brew in the fridge for too long, you also don’t want to go through the brewing process every night. It’s ideal to get a cold brew coffee maker that can create enough for your weekly morning coffee or enough to serve during a brunch with guests.
Q&A with Pro Panelists
What is the best way to use a cold brew coffee maker?
While it’s critical to follow the instructions for your specific coffee maker, making a great cold brew begins with selecting the appropriate beans and coarsely grinding them. Pour in the recommended number of grinds, then carefully drizzle in the water to evenly saturate them. Allow it to sit for the specified amount of time (details below), then remove the filter with the grounds before serving. Dilute the cold brew concentrate to taste, depending on your preferences.
How long does cold brew coffee take to make?
“It’s impossible to make immediate cold brew,” Ratermanis explains. “The beauty of cold brew’s flavor and concentrate is a timed thing, and that’s what distinguishes it, both in terms of method and flavor.”
Each cold brew maker we tested recommended steeping the grounds for 12 to 24 hours. After a few batches, you’ll gain a sense of your favorite brewing time.
What makes iced coffee different from cold brew?
Iced coffee is just brewed coffee that has been chilled. Cold brew is a more involved technique that requires steeping grounds in water overnight. This long process produces a concentrate that is regarded to be less acidic than normal coffee.
What’s the best way to clean your cold brew coffee maker?
Remove the coffee grounds and compost them or repurpose them into an exfoliating skin scrub or deep cleaning solution, depending on your coffee maker’s instructions. Then either hand-wash or put the components in the dishwasher.
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