There are many reasons for the rise in popularity of cold brew coffee: It's easy to make and stays fresh for several days; the strength can be adjusted between a concentrated or diluted brew; and most importantly, it’s downright delicious.
Cold brew coffee makers generally rely on one of two brewing methods. The first style, known as immersion brewing, involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The second is a drip process that also takes several hours. Both methods infuse cold brew with a sweet, often chocolaty taste while avoiding the bitterness and high acidity found in hot coffee.
We sent cold brew coffee makers to our expert food writers so they could put them through our comprehensive testing process. They evaluated each one on its usability, design, performance, and value to help customers find the best option for their coffee needs.
Get ready to steep, chill, and pour. Here are the best cold brew makers to buy.
Toddy Cold Brew System
Setup is tricky
Pouring lip isn't very precise
Cold brew coffee has been around for centuries, but the Toddy has played an integral part in the modern craze surrounding the beverage. The device was invented in the 1960s by Todd Simpson after he encountered cold brew on a visit to Peru. Once it hit the U.S., the Toddy grew in popularity because it allowed coffee lovers to easily make cold brew right from home.
The design has changed very little over the years. The Toddy is comprised of a large plastic container that sits atop a glass decanter. To use, let coffee grounds and water soak in the plastic container for the recommended time, place the container on the decanter, and release a small silicone stopper to fill the decanter with your fresh cold brew. Our product tester wrote that the "setup requires close attention the first time around" and may be trickier than that of other cold brew makers. However, the review was largely positive aside from this critique. Our reviewer added that cleanup is easy because all of the pieces detach and are dishwasher safe, except for the filter. They also praised the coffee's flavor, calling it "very strong, yet smooth" and noted that a "single batch lasted a long time."
Price at time of publish: $60
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 38 ounces | Material: Glass and plastic | Warranty: 1 year
"Beyond brewing a strong cold brew concentrate, the Toddy Cold Brew System offers a myriad of other extra features that make it well worth the price." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best for Longer Storage
Ovalware Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser
Flavorful cold brew
Easy to use
Perfect size for fridge
Lid comes off
Some grounds get in cold brew
If you’re not one to drink multiple cups of coffee per day, you could definitely benefit from the Ovalware Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker and Tea Infuser, which is great for storing your homemade cold brew for several days. This affordable product includes a glass carafe and stainless steel filter that will help you make great coffee every time.
The Ovalware Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker holds up to four cups of coffee, and thanks to its airtight seal, it will keep your java fresh for up to two weeks. It can also brew tasty iced tea. The product’s steel filter is made of superfine mesh, and both pieces are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. After testing the product, our reviewer raved that the item was "very easy to use and fits perfectly in just about any fridge, making it highly adaptable to any kitchen.” Just watch out for the pesky lid, which "doesn't stay on perfectly" and may cause leaking.
According to users, another downside of this product is that fine particles of coffee sometimes seep through the filter into the cold brew. However, most people say these particles sink to the bottom, so as long as you’re careful pouring, they won’t get into your cup.
Price at time of publish: $36
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 34 and 51 ounces | Material: Glass and stainless steel | Warranty: 1-year limited
"Because you’re getting a flavorful cold brew and a long-lasting product that looks great in the kitchen, it’s really worth the price tag." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
High-quality cold brew concentrate
Disassembles for easy cleanup and storage
Visually appealing design
Clear brewing instructions
This big brewer might be a counter hog, but it brews some mighty fine cold brew concentrate and is extremely easy to use. The OXO "Rainmaker" water dispersion technology keeps the extraction consistent while allowing the user to "set it and forget it," which is pretty much the whole point of cold brew. Our product tester said the resulting flavor is "very smooth and flavorful" and, as an added bonus, the mesh filter prevents grounds from spilling into the coffee.
The glass carafe into which the concentrate is brewed feels very delicate, but the clear markings and silicone-sealed top make it a lovely and functional vessel. Optional paper filters can contribute even more clarity to the finished product, but the built-in metal mesh is an eco-friendly element to the contraption. Dispensing is easy and there's even a measuring cup to help you properly dilute the concentrate. It's fairly expensive for a cold brew coffee maker, but we view it as a good value nonetheless; as our reviewer writes, the "product pays for itself quickly."
Price at time of publish: $52
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 32 ounces | Material: Glass, plastic, and stainless steel | Warranty: Manufacturer guarantee (view at OXO)
"Looks great in any kitchen, makes high-quality cold brew concentrate, and disassembles for easy cleanup." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker
Durable, quality materials
Easy, intuitive setup
Great for parties
Awkward to fit in fridge
If you have a rustic or country aesthetic, the County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a beautiful match for your kitchen, and it comes at a budget price. The design of this Mason jar may be simple, but the item is durable, efficient, and makes great coffee.
Not only is this cold brew maker stylish, but it’s a simple, foolproof system for easy cold brew. Put coffee into the stainless steel filter, add water, and allow it to steep overnight. After testing the item firsthand, our reviewer found it "super easy to use and setup" and added that it is "definitely worth buying."
The jar can hold up to 2 quarts of coffee, and the silicone seal makes sure the lid stays on tightly. Our product tester noted that the filter successfully keeps coffee grinds out of the liquid and that both the steeper and jar are incredibly durable. The only thing to watch out for is that the "instructions for making the cold brew are pretty vague." Our tester was forced to "look up a recipe online that wasn't necessarily fitted to this specific cold brew maker."
Price at time of publish: $32
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 32 and 64 ounces | Material: Glass and stainless steel | Warranty: 90 days
"In terms of flavor, this coffee maker delivers. The cold brew we made was deliciously smooth and flavorful." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Adjustable coffee strength
Fragile filter basket
Loud while brewing
The majority of cold brew coffee makers are low-tech and take a long time to steep. Not so with the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker. Though a little pricey, it can whip up a 7-cup batch of cold brew in 25 to 45 minutes. The exact brew time depends on what strength you prefer the cold brew to be—mild, medium, or bold. Even on the longest setting, however, the item far outpaces the multiple hours it takes to use most cold brew makers.
And don't be daunted by the automated design. This machine is extremely intuitive and actually works similar to a standard drip coffee maker: scoop the grounds into the filter, fill the water reservoir, and hit go.
One downside is that the machine is fairly noisy while brewing; this may be especially frustrating since it takes longer than a normal drip coffee maker to brew. On top of that, several customers faced issues with the filter basket, saying it's on the fragile side. There are certainly pros and cons to consider with the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker, but if you want a versatile and lightning-fast machine that does the work for you, this is the top option.
Price at time of publish: $100
Style: Automatic | Capacity: 35 ounces | Material: Glass, plastic, and stainless steel | Warranty: 3-year limited
So how exactly does cold brew differ from everyday iced coffee? Well, as the name suggests, cold brew is brewed exclusively with cold water throughout the entire process. Iced coffee, on the other hand, is made by brewing coffee hot and then letting it chill before pouring over ice.
Best Ease of Use
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
Available in multiple sizes
Tall for some refrigerators
Glass is thin
Cold brew coffee is already one of the least fussy ways to get caffeinated, but this no-frills little number from Japanese coffee giant Hario couldn't be simpler. Coffee goes into the reusable mesh basket—no cloth or paper filters to futz around with—and is submerged into cool or room-temperature water. All it takes is time to do the rest of the work: The coffee will steep for 12–24 hours, after which you lift the grounds in the basket out of the finished liquid. While metal mesh can be somewhat tricky to scrub completely clean, it still beats the soaking and rinsing of cloth filters, and it creates far less waste than paper. Hario is a manufacturer that knows its stuff when it comes to coffee, and this little inexpensive brewer is where it's at.
Price at time of publish: $22
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 20 and 34 ounces | Material: Glass and silicone rubber | Warranty: 90 days
Best for Large Quantities
KitchenAid Brushed Stainless Steel Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Available in multiple sizes
Convenient handle for portability
Prone to leaking
Want to make a big batch of cold brew for your next party? Then you need the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker, which is available in two large sizes (28 and 38 ounces) and has a convenient tap for pouring.
This sleek cold brew maker is made of stainless steel and glass for a sophisticated design. Simply put coffee and water into the machine, then place the whole thing in the fridge to steep. Once you’re ready to serve, you can press the included tap to dispense the right amount of coffee into your cup. Since it’s a bigger brewer, the stainless steel steeper includes measurement marks in case you just want to make a few servings.
Reviewers say the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker makes great coffee and is ideal for entertaining guests. While this product is more expensive than many comparable cold brew machines, it’s worth the price if you drink a lot of coffee or frequently host parties.
Price at time of publish: $140
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 28 and 38 ounces | Material: Glass and stainless steel | Warranty: 1 year
Best Rapid Brewer
Presto Dorothy Rapid Cold Brewer
Easy to use
Adjustable spin speed
Carafe and filter are dishwasher safe
The cold brew process usually takes hours, but the Presto Dorothy Rapid Cold Brewer can make 22 ounces of refreshing coffee in as little as 15 minutes. It works by spinning coffee grounds and water inside a glass carafe, quickly diffusing flavor into every sip. Many users say the cold brew tastes better after longer intervals, even up to 30 minutes, so it may take some trial and error to find the best balance. Luckily, it's easy to use. All you have to do is pour in water, turn the dial to your preferred spin speed (try starting slowly as the device can get messy), and scoop in coffee grounds.
Another drawback to watch out for, along with the mess, is that the filter isn't the absolute finest, so the last couple sips could have some coffee silt in them. Once you're finished brewing, the carafe and filter are safe to put in the dishwasher. The Presto Dorothy also comes at a reasonable price considering it's an automatic cold brew maker.
Price at time of publish: $50
Style: Automatic | Capacity: 22 ounces | Material: Plastic and glass | Warranty: 1 year
Best Kyoto Style
Yama Cold Brew Tower
Produces a rich flavor
Faster than standard cold-brewing method
Glass parts are dishwasher safe
Takes up a lot of space
Kyoto-style cold brew is made by slowly dripping water over coffee grounds, in contrast to the standard immersion method used by most cold brew makers. The brew process, also referred to as "slow drip," harkens back to the 17th century in Kyoto, Japan, where cold brew first came about. Drip towers like this one from Yama Glass are the best way to make Kyoto-style cold brew as the drop-by-drop process amplifies the smooth and sweet flavor that cold brew is already known for. You may have seen one of the large wood-and-glass contraptions in a coffee shop before.
The Yama Cold Brew Tower is our top pick for several reasons. It's easier to assemble and use than it looks, although new customers should expect a brief learning curve at first, mainly because all drip towers are so different from other coffee makers. Yama also provides helpful instructions to put the device together in five steps. The drip tower brews up to 34 ounces per batch. That capacity is on par with most cold brew makers, but it brews much faster, taking roughly three hours from first drip to last. The materials are sturdy, including the dishwasher-safe glass parts, and the tower is a uniquely stunning piece to have in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the brand does not offer a warranty.
A couple other details to consider are the item's high price tag and that it takes up a lot of counter space, measuring 10 inches wide and 30 inches high. For customers who find it worth the investment, the flavor exceeds expectations. The cold brew it makes is rich, low in acid, and (depending on the type of coffee beans used) often has undertones of chocolate.
Price at time of publish: $270
Style: Slow drip | Capacity: 32 ounces | Material: Glass and wood | Warranty: None
Best With Dispenser
Willow & Everett Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Classic Mason jar aesthetic
Dishwasher safe (excluding the filter)
Spigot occasionally leaks
What could be easier than the Willow and Everett Cold Brew Maker? Just fill the removable stainless steel filter with your favorite ground coffee, add water, and snap the lid on. Then place the brewer in the refrigerator to steep. When morning comes, turn the spigot to dispense coffee into your mug or thermos and you’re on your way.
The coffee filter is a very fine mesh stainless steel, so you won’t get grounds in your drink or need to purchase disposable paper filters. It's easy to remove the filter once the coffee has steeped enough and simple to clean. The glass jar is dishwasher safe, so cleanup is easy there too when you’ve finished the last of the coffee. Customers add that the simplicity and affordable price make the Willow and Everett Cold Brew Maker an excellent gift option. Plus, it looks great on the counter or in the fridge.
Price at time of publish: $24
Style: Immersion | Capacity: 64 and 128 ounces | Material: Glass | Warranty: 1 year
The Toddy Cold Brew System provides delicious, hassle-free coffee and, after testing it ourselves, we think it's a notch above the competition. The County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Maker is worth consideration too, especially if you're looking to save a few bucks.
How We Tested
The cold brew coffee makers included in this article were tested firsthand by our expert food writers. Our team spent weeks evaluating the items in their kitchens to see how each one performed after everyday use. Some of the areas our reviewers focused on include how easy the brewer is to assemble, use, and clean; the style and efficiency of its design; and of course how good the coffee tastes. After testing, our writers submitted feedback about what they liked and disliked, and they rated each brewer on the following features: usability, design, performance, and value.
What to Look for in a Cold Brew Coffee Maker
By Derek Rose
A cold brew maker will rely on one of two brewing methods: immersion or slow drip. Immersion, the most common style, is when coffee grounds are soaked in cold water anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The resulting coffee is often so strong that it’s more of a coffee concentrate, meant to be mixed with water or milk before drinking. With slow drip (also called Kyoto or Dutch-style), cold water gradually drips through a bed of coffee grounds. This process takes about half the time of immersion and does not need to be diluted. There are also automatic cold brew makers out there as well, but they will utilize one of these two primary brewing methods nonetheless.
Filter or Infuser
Some cold brew coffee makers use paper filters, like a traditional drip machine, others use stainless steel mesh infusers. The difference may seem slight, but it affects an item’s ease of use as well as the ease of cleaning up afterward. On one hand, it’s simple to throw out a paper filter after brewing; on the downside, you have to keep replenishing them and they can be messy if you spill. Metal infusers save money in the long run. Just check reviews ahead of time, as low-quality infusers may allow loose grounds to slip into the coffee.
Cold brew makers are generally quite compact, especially compared to other kinds of coffee makers. Many are designed to fit inside of a fridge, so they can be as small as an iced tea pitcher or Mason jar. That being said, you will also come across some rather large and bulky options that may not fit as easily in your kitchen. The overall capacity of cold brew makers also varies. If you prefer brewing a big batch at once and keeping it around to drink for a couple weeks, spend the extra money on a larger option, even if takes up a little more space. If you don’t mind making only a few cups at a time, you have even more options to choose from.
While the majority of cold brew makers are affordable, there is certainly a wide range of prices. Think about the price range you are comfortable with, from a few dollars all the way up to a few hundred. Some factors that affect item cost include size, whether it's automatic or not, and the intricacy of its design. For example, there are some incredibly elaborate drip-style cold brew makers that are a couple feet tall and contain a system of glass beakers that will be on the highest end of the price range. Fortunately, even inexpensive models can make tasty coffee with the right bag of beans and proper measurements.
Types of Cold Brew Coffee Makers
The majority of cold brew makers use what is known as an immersion brewing method. It’s where coffee grounds are directly soaked in water for several hours, slowly extracting all the wonderful flavor and caffeine. One of the most popular examples in this category is the Toddy Cold Brew System—though, there are many other reliable options out there. Immersion cold brew makers tend to produce incredibly strong coffee, even stronger than the second most common variety of cold brew maker, slow drip. While it all depends on the coffee-to-water ratio you use, you will likely have to dilute the final product with milk or water before drinking. The main downside to immersion brewing is that it takes so much time. But, aside from that, it remains the most tried-and-true method for delicious cold brew.
"You can over-extract all coffee, but I would say that cold brew is the most forgiving. Seeing that it takes 18 to 20 hours to brew, there’s a little more flexibility with it. You can give it a longer steep time, pour in more water—it’s just a little more flexible." — Timothy Johnson, Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group
Way back in the 1600s, Dutch merchants at sea, without access to hot water, began dripping cold water over coffee grounds. Thus, cold brew was born. It’s believed that they passed this brewing method along at Japanese trading ports. Centuries later, the style is still widely popular. Slow drip cold brew, also called Dutch or Kyoto-style cold brew, is made when water slowly passes through coffee grounds from above and then down into a carafe. The process is actually similar to that of an electric drip coffee maker, but with cold brew the ordeal takes several hours. The primary benefits of slow drip are that the coffee is less acidic than immersion cold brew (which is already low in acidity to begin with) and, secondly, that it’s a little faster than the immersion method. Keep in mind that drip cold brew makers are often quite tall, so measure the height of your cupboards or fridge shelves ahead of time.
Cold brew is already easy to make—all you really need is ground coffee, water, and a jar—and yet brands are simplifying the process even further by manufacturing automatic cold brew makers. There are two clear advantages to this route. First, automatic cold brew makers prepare coffee much faster than non-electric devices, some as quickly as five minutes. Second, these items may offer greater versatility, especially regarding cold brew strength. On the downside, customers should expect automatic cold brew makers to be more expensive.
There’s a good chance you already have an OXO product in your home. The American company originated 30 years ago when founder Sam Farber, whose wife had arthritis, sought to design more ergonomic kitchen items. The brand now manufactures everything from tiny utensils to full-sized appliances. OXO’s line of coffee products has especially grown over the years, today incorporating two different cold brew makers. Both options are immersion based and worth consideration. The main difference between them is that one holds 32 ounces and the other is a more compact 16-ounce brewer.
Many brands only manufacture one kind of cold brew maker. Not Primula. The 30-year-old company offers several different models, from standard at-home cold brew makers to portable devices for those who want to take their joe on the go. Most Primula options are affordably priced and use the immersion brewing process. Even if the products all lead to a similar quality of taste, it’s still nice to have more options when searching.
Toddy revolutionized homemade cold brew in the 1960s with its famous Toddy Cold Brew System. The simple, time-tested device uses immersion-style brewing to whip up extremely rich and flavorful cold brew. The coffee is so rich, in fact, that it’s usually closer to a cold brew concentrate, which should be diluted with water or your preferred milk before drinking. Toddy manufactures other cold brew makers too, but the original Toddy Cold Brew System remains its most popular item and one certainly worth checking out.
While maintenance instructions vary from product to product, cold brew coffee makers are much easier to use and clean than other brewing devices. Not only are many dishwasher safe, but you won’t have to endure the arduous process of descaling. However, some cold brew makers may have several small parts that need to be removed and hand-washed individually, especially if the item has a spout or overhead filter. Ease of cleaning is also affected by whether your cold brew maker uses paper filters or a metal infuser. Filters can be thrown out after brewing but may occasionally spill loose grounds on the countertop. Infusers can generally be put in the dishwasher but should ideally be cleaned after every use.
As far as brewing instructions go, the proper coffee-to-water ratio is very much up to personal preference. If you want medium-strength cold brew that does not need to be diluted before drinking, try a 1:8 ratio—one part coffee and eight parts water. Make sure to use coarse-ground coffee beans for optimal results. For cold brew concentrate, a 1:4 ratio (one part coffee, four parts water) is a good place to start. Timothy Johnson, the Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group, recommends letting the grounds steep for 18 to 20 hours for the best results.
What coffee beans should I use for cold brew?
Darker roasts and a coarser grind size are recommended for cold brew. "We find that medium to medium-dark roasts extract way better," says Timothy Johnson of Vibe Coffee Group. "If you’re trying to brew something lighter and the flavor notes on the bag are like jasmine, lemongrass, and raspberries, that may not brew very well as cold brew. But if you look at something that’s like dark chocolate, cane sugar, and dried cherry, that might brew better as cold brew because it has deeper notes that will come through and shine with that longer brew method."
How is cold brew different from iced coffee?
Cold brew is not only different from iced coffee in the way it's prepared but in the overall taste too. Traditional iced coffee is made by brewing coffee hot first and then chilling it with ice afterward. Cold brew, on the other hand, is made by steeping coffee beans in nothing but cold water for several hours. This makes cold brew lower in acidity and able to stay fresh for a much longer period of time than iced coffee.
Timothy Johnson, the Head of Education and Training of Vibe Coffee Group, says the two drinks are so different in brew method that it's "like comparing a French press to a pour over." Cold brew is made through immersion brewing, whereas
What is cold brew coffee concentrate?
Cold brew can be broken down into two categories. One kind is ready to drink right when it’s finished brewing. The other kind, cold brew concentrate, is so strong that it should be diluted with milk or water before drinking. Most cold brew coffee makers can produce either kind. It all depends on the ratio of coffee grounds to water used. A mixture of one part coffee grounds to four parts water (1:4) is commonly used for cold brew concentrate, while a 1:8 ratio should be ready to drink as soon as it's finished steeping.
Is cold brew less acidic than other coffee?
Yes, cold brew is less acidic than other forms of coffee, whether it be traditional iced coffee or drip. Since cold brew is made by using cold water instead of hot, the coffee beans don’t release the same amount of oil that they would if brewed at higher temperatures. One last quick tip: dark roast coffee beans are less acidic than light roast coffee beans, so consider giving those a shot if you want even less acidity in your cold brew.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Erin Meister has spent years both working in and reporting on the coffee industry. Since moving to New York City in 2003, she has worked at Joe Coffee Company and Counter Culture Coffee. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Serious Eats, Rachael Ray Every Day, and more. Erin is also the author of "New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History."
This piece was updated by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. At home, he typically makes coffee with the Bodum Brazil French Press—a great budget option, especially for those who prefer non-electric brewers.
Timothy Johnson, the Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group, was interviewed for this piece. Timothy has worked in the coffee industry for 16 years. Vibe Coffee Group is the parent company of three Washington-based coffee brands: Victrola Coffee Roasters, Whidbey Coffee, and Seattle Coffee Works.
Rao NZ, Fuller M. Acidity and antioxidant activity of cold brew coffee. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):16030.