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Iced coffee is already pretty great. It’s delicious, energizing, refreshing. Now imagine an iced coffee with even more flavor and you’ve got cold brew.
The beloved beverage can be made with items ranging from a French press to a Mason jar, but every method involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. This simple process infuses cold brew with a naturally sweeter and more chocolaty taste, all while avoiding the bitterness and high acidity that’s often found in coffee, making the drink easier on your stomach and teeth. (Just keep in mind that the process leads to a higher caffeine content than typical iced coffee.) Cold brew also has a wonderfully long shelf life, staying good for up to two weeks.
Steep, chill, and pour. Here are the best cold brew makers to buy.
Dishwasher safe (excluding filter)
Setup is tricky
Kind of an eyesore while brewing
You can't beat a classic, and Todd Simpson's "TODDY" brewer is arguably the maker that started it all: While cold-brewed coffee has been made for who knows how long simply by soaking ground coffee in water, the Toddy brewer revolutionized the process for easy and convenient home use, and essentially reinvented the wheel of iced coffee brewing in 1964.
While it's made almost completely from plastic, the reusable filter makes up for the environmental impact a little, and the glass decanter is one of the most durable out there, and pretty enough to use as a serving vessel. After testing the product, our reviewer noted that cleanup was easy because all of the pieces detach and are dishwasher safe, aside from the filter.
Our reviewer also praised the coffee's flavor, calling it "very strong, yet smooth" and noted that a "single batch lasted a long time." This shouldn't be a surprise. Todd Simpson is undoubtedly the father of modern cold brew, and it's no wonder the coffee-loving chemical engineer was able to devise the perfect brewer to eliminate coffee acid and produce a heavy, smooth, silky iced coffee with almost no hassle.
"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
Airtight lid prevents leakage
Easy to use and clean
Cold brew lacks flavor
Too simplistic for price
If you want to make cold brew coffee on the go, this 1-quart brewer can travel with you anywhere. It makes 4 servings of coffee and has an airtight, leakproof lid, so you can take it along without worrying about spillage.
The container is made from BPA-free plastic that won’t shatter, and all parts are dishwasher safe. For home use, the container is sized to fit in most refrigerator doors. Brewing can be done overnight, or let the grounds steep for up to 36 hours in the refrigerator. Since this is a larger container, it doesn’t double as a to-go mug, but it’s ideal if you’re sharing your cold brew.
The Tayeka Cold Brew Maker does come with a few drawbacks, however. Our reviewer wrote that the item is "priced well, but it doesn’t offer any extra features that make it stand out from its competitors." While the item is easy to bring on picnics and camping trips, its lack of versatility and "plain" flavor makes it a better portable option than a primary source of at-home cold brew.
High-quality cold brew concentrate
Easy cleanup and storage
Visually appealing design
Larger vessel than competitors
This big brewer might be a counter hog, but it brews some mighty fine cold brew concentrate and is extremely easy to use. If the item does prove too large for your needs, however, space-saving alternatives can be found in our round-up of the best small coffee makers.
The OXO "Rainmaker" water dispersion technology keeps the extraction consistent while also allowing the user to "set it and forget it," which is pretty much the whole point of cold brew iced coffee. Our product tester said the resulting flavor was "very smooth and flavorful" and, as an added bonus, the mesh filter prevented 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 (while it lasts). 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. Dispension is easy, and there's even a measuring cup to help you properly dilute the concentrate.
"Looks great in any kitchen, makes high-quality cold brew concentrate, and disassembles for easy cleanup." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Flavorful cold brew
Easy to use
Makes cold brew coffee, not concentrate
Lid comes off
Some grounds seep into 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 perfect 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 4 cups of coffee, and thanks to its airtight seal, it will keep your java fresh for up to two weeks! 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.
Flavorful cold brew
Confusing instructions for making cold brew
Awkward to fit in fridge
Some grounds seep into cold brew
If you have rustic or country style, the County Line Kitchen Cold Brew Coffee Maker is perfect 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. Our product tester agreed that the item is "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. Reviewers say 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," according to our product tester. She was forced to "look up a recipe online that wasn't necessarily fitted to this specific cold brew maker."
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 simply 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.
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 can hold up to 14 servings of coffee 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 into 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 perfect for when you’re having guests over. 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.
Adjustable coffee strength
Easy to use
Prone to leaking
Mixed reviews on flavor
Larger than most cold brew makers
Cold brewing is a process that usually takes eight hours or more, but this item has uses a rapid cold brew system that pumps cold water through the grounds and finishes in 15 minutes or less. This can be used to make a cup of ready-to-drink cold brew, or it can make a coffee concentrate you can add to hot water, milk, or use in baking recipes that call for strong coffee or espresso.
It’s simple to use. Just add coffee to the basket, add water to the carafe, turn the dial to set the time, and push the button. When brewing time is up, there’s cold brew coffee in the carafe that’s ready to use or refrigerate for later. Removable parts are dishwasher safe.
Classic Mason jar aesthetic
Dishwasher safe (excluding the filter)
Spigot occasionally leaks
Could it be easier than this? Probably not. 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, just 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, and you won’t need disposable paper filters. It’s easy to remove once the coffee has steeped enough, and simple to clean. The glass is dishwasher safe, so cleanup is easy when you’ve used the last of the coffee, or wash by hand to start a new brew right away. Plus, it looks nice in your fridge!
The Toddy Cold Brew System comes at a fair price and has long provided delicious, hassle-free coffee to thousands of happy customers. It's the cold brew maker we most recommend for general household use, but the OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker is also worth consideration. It clocks in at a similar price and showcases a more modern design but has a slightly smaller capacity.
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 edited 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.
Size: Because the process is a lengthy one, most cold brew coffee makers are quite large. If space is a consideration, choose one of the smaller Mason jar or pitcher models—just note that you’ll be going through the brewing process much more frequently. If you have the extra space and like the convenience of brewing once per week or less, try one of the larger countertop models.
Method: There are two main types of cold brew coffee makers: immersion and slow drip. With immersion brewers, coffee grounds are soaked in cold water for an extended period of time, then filtered. This type of cold brew is meant to be diluted with water or milk, since it’s very concentrated. With slow drip (also called Kyoto or Dutch-style) brewers, cold water slowly drips through a bed of coffee grounds. This style of cold brew does not need to be diluted.
Filter: Some cold brew coffee makers use paper filters, while others use stainless steel mesh sieves. Paper filters require replenishing and can be messy if they break. Metal filters are more environmentally friendly, but they aren’t as effective at keeping sediment out of the final product.