Make Better Cold Brew at Home with the Help of These Top Tools
As temperatures rise, many regular coffee drinkers are beginning to add ice to their morning cup of joe. But for those willing to spend a little more time preparing their morning java, making homemade cold brew can produce a smoother tasting iced coffee. What's more, making cold brew at home is actually not that much more difficult than brewing regular coffee-it's just a little time consuming, but that time is mostly hands-off. Once you add water to your coffee grounds, it's just a waiting game (usually about 12 to 24 hours, although there are a few shortcuts). Most coffee drinkers find that cold brew is more flavorful and less bitter and acidic, and that's because the coffee beans aren't exposed to heat at all. You may even find you need less sugar when drinking cold brew. One more bonus: It stays fresh for a couple of weeks in the fridge, so you can make a large batch and enjoy it for days on end. Just remember that cold brew has a higher caffeine content than hot coffee.
If you want to start making cold brew at home, you'll need a few tools. First and foremost, you'll want to invest in some form of cold brew coffee maker. There are two different types readily available: ones that steep and ones that drip. You can use anything from a simple mason jar to a French press to a more complicated drip mechanism, but most are of the set-it-and-forget-it type. And while most cold brew makers are manual, there are a few electric versions out there that can make a cold brew in 30 minutes or less.
Whichever you choose, you'll be entering a world of caffeinated summertime bliss.
- Best Budget-Friendly Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Cuisinart DCB-10 Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
- Best Drip Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Bruer Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best No-Hassle Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Country Line Kitchen Durable Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker
- Most Versatile Cold Brew Coffee Maker: VacOne Air Brewer Hot Coffee and Cold Brew Maker in One
Best Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate Maker
If you're a coffee connoisseur ready to give up valuable counter space to a cold brew coffee maker in order to get the best tasting coffee, this set-up is for you. Its "rainmaker" lid allows for even distribution of water over the grounds, and after 12 to 24 hours you'll flip a switch to release the cold brew through a filter and into the flask below. Because this produces a concentrate, it will last longer-just don't forget to dilute with water or your favorite milk before enjoying.
Shop Now: OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $54.98, amazon.com.
Best Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Although this is the same size as a regular countertop coffeemaker, its ease and speed make it worthwhile for the daily cold brew drinker (although there are a lot of parts to clean). Depending on your preferred caffeine strength (mild, medium, or bold), it takes anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes to brew seven cups at the push of a button. It has three filters to reduce sediment and the airtight glass carafe can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Shop Now: Cuisinart DCB-10 Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker, $79.85, amazon.com.
Best Speedy Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If time is always of the essence, this electronic cold brew coffee maker, which uses a pressurized system, is for you. In just five to 15 minutes it can make cold brew to your preferred strength (although some complain it tastes weaker than other methods). Plus, it's easy to use: Simply fill the coffee container with grounds, add water to the carafe, and turn the dial.
Shop Now: Dash Rapid Cold Brew Coffee Maker with Easy Pour Spout, $82, amazon.com.
Most Versatile Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This nifty device can be used to brew a cup of hot or cold brew coffee using vacuum pressure to accelerate the brewing time-in just one minute you can enjoy a cup of hot coffee, but you'll need to wait four minutes for cold brew. A USB rechargeable motor creates the pressure, and once the coffee is brewed, it drips through the mesh filter into the glass-handled carafe below. The downside is that it uses a lot more coffee (four scoops) to make just 14 ounces.
Shop Now: VacOne Air Brewer Hot Coffee and Cold Brew Maker in One, $89, amazon.com.
Best Hassle-Free Cold Brew Coffee Maker
When exploring how to make cold brew, you'll often hear people refer to the "mason jar method." In its simplest form, mason jar cold brew involves soaking grounds in a mason jar for 12 to 24 hours and then straining the grounds out. This nifty product has a reusable mesh strainer that fits into the jar and a top with a spout that allows you to turn the jar into a pitcher. Take note that there's often sediment in the coffee when you use this method.
Shop Now: Country Line Kitchen Durable Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $26.95, amazon.com.
Most Stylish Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Essentially a sleeker and more stylish version of the mason jar, this glass carafe brewer uses the same method of soaking the coffee inside an ultra-fine mesh strainer, but does a better job filtering the sediment. Once you remove the filter, you're left with an attractive glass carafe that fits easily in the door of your refrigerator.
Shop Now: Hario Cold Brew Coffee Bottle, $29.50, amazon.com.
Best Budget-Friendly Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The Japanese know their coffee, and this portable tool is simple yet effective way to prepare a great cup of joe. All you do is fill the mesh filter inset with grounds and add it to the BPA-free plastic pitcher. It has an airtight lid that prevents leakage and keeps your cold brew fresher, longer. Bonus: It fits in most refrigerator doors and is dishwasher safe.
Shop Now: Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $19.99, amazon.com.
Best Drip Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This hypnotic and attractive hourglass-shaped cold brew maker uses the drip method to make delicious coffee. The way it works is you fill the top chamber with water and ice and then have to set a rubber valve so that you allow approximately one drop of water per second to soak the grounds in the middle layer. Then, the cold brew drips down to the bottom chamber. While it's faster than the simple soak and filter method, at around four hours it's still longer than automatic brewers. It's a bit fussy to use, there's no danger of over-extraction and it produces a well-rounded cup devoid of bitterness.
Shop Now: Bruer Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $79.95, amazon.com.
Best Ready-Made Cold Brew Concentrate
Okay, we know this isn't actually a cold brew making tool, but it's definitely the easiest and fastest way to get a strong cup of cold brew. It's a 20x liquid coffee ultra-concentrate that you can just add to milk or water. It claims to be as strong as a double espresso shot and each 200ml bottle can make 14 cups of coffee. Balanced and not acidic, it's one of the best coffee concentrates around.
Shop Now: Jot Concentrated Coffee, $24, amazon.com.