Buying cold brew coffee from your local coffee shop can be expensive. Moreover, it’s not uncommon for coffee shops to run out of cold brew since they have to brew it ahead of time and thus only have a certain amount available per day. We made this guide to showcase the best cold brew coffee makers you can buy so that you can cut down on your coffee spending while enjoying a great brew to help get you through the day.
We researched several dozen cold brew coffee makers, reviewing manufacturer claims and reputations, and then user reviews. This gave us a good idea of what consumers did or didn’t like about each product, as well as the properties each coffee maker possesses.
When we had narrowed our selection down to fewer than 10 products, we went right to the experts. We read reviews by and picked the brains of several former baristas to see what they had to say about cold brew coffee makers. With their input and insight, we were able to narrow down the product selection to the best five options.
And then we went right to the source itself. We received products directly from the manufacturers and played around with them ourselves, testing out their features and capabilities to determine their various benefits and differences.
Why buy a cold brew coffee maker?
If cold brew coffee is your go-to order at your local coffee shop, it’s almost certainly worth your while to invest in your own cold brew coffee maker for your home. Cold brew tends to be one of the more expensive types of coffee on a coffee shop’s menu, so buying a cold brew coffee maker to brew your own can be more cost-efficient in the long run. Not only will it save you money, but one of these devices may prove a useful time-saver in the morning.
Even though cold brew coffees take many hours to brew, once the coffee is brewed, it can last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. This means it’s possible to use your home cold brew coffee maker to brew yourself enough coffee to last the entire week or longer. Since your coffee will already be brewed when morning rolls around, it’ll save you time on your morning routine—or even allow you to catch a few extra minutes of sleep.
Even if you only occasionally enjoy a cup of coffee, a cold brew coffee maker might still be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen appliances. Cold brew coffee is known for its rich, less acidic taste, so people who don’t drink coffee as often, or those who don’t currently drink it but want to start, may find its flavor more palatable than regular hot coffee. Some models can also be used to make iced coffee or tea, which make them more versatile and give you more bang for your buck.
What should you look for in a cold brew coffee maker?
- Filter: Find a filter with a fine enough mesh to ensure no larger particles can slip through. This will ensure a delicious cold brew that is clear instead of murky. Additionally, some filters are easier than others to clean. Other models require paper filters rather than coming with their own built-in, reusable filter. These are more expensive in the long run since you’ll have to discard a filter after every use and keep buying new ones. This also means they’re not particularly eco-friendly. It will save time on cleanup, though.
- Type: While some cold brew makers are best used for creating large amounts of cold brew coffee, others are designed to brew cold brew concentrate. Since the former style usually takes up much more room, the amount of available counter or fridge space you have may determine which type of product is best for you. Some styles of cold brew coffee makers will be much easier to clean than others. A simple pitcher-like cold brew coffee machine, for instance, will be a lot easier to clean since it has a wide opening and no hard-to-reach corners or angles.
- Durability: Glass carafes are naturally more breakable than plastic options but can still be quite durable if they’re made of thick, reinforced glass. And while plastic models don’t have the risk of shattering if accidentally dropped, they are often more flimsy if they’re not made of good quality plastic. Additionally, different filters have varying degrees of durability, so when selecting a cold brew maker, ensure the filter will hold up to extended use.
How many cups does a cold brew coffee maker create at a time?
This will vary depending on the model in question and its capacity, but the average cold brew coffee maker will make somewhere between 4 to 7 cups of cold brew at once. This should suit most coffee drinkers’ needs nicely, but there are plenty of bigger and smaller options alike.
If several people in your household drink cold brew, you may want to opt for a larger quantity model that makes 10 to 16 cups (1 liquid gallon) at once.
How long does a cold brew coffee maker take to brew?
A standard cold brew coffee is going to take a long time to make your coffee. Most will take 12 to 24 hours to brew properly. This is why coffee shops often have a finite amount of cold brew each day; it has to be made the evening before and then left to brew overnight to be ready for the morning. This is also why the average cold brew coffee machine makes several cups at once, so you don’t have to wait half a day or longer every time you want a single cup of cold brew.
However, there is an alternative if you’re ever in a pinch and want a quicker cup of cold brew coffee. Electric cold brew coffee makers instead of the more traditional manual ones are much faster. They sort of “shake” the coffee grounds for you, moving them through the water. The process is essentially the same, just performed quicker and with more force instead of gradually steeping. Depending on how strong you like your coffee and the model in question, an electric cold brew coffee maker will usually brew you a cup within 20 minutes to an hour.
Electric models are more expensive, and the quality of the coffee might not be quite as high, but some consumers find this a worthwhile tradeoff for the faster brewing time. Especially since cold brew made in an electric model will still last for up to two weeks in the fridge, so you can brew a week or more’s worth of cold brew in a fraction of the time.
Are there any other factors to consider in a cold brew coffee maker?
The size of your cold brew coffee maker is definitely worth considering, especially for someone with a smaller kitchen or less available countertop or fridge space. Most of these types of coffee makers are a one-stop shop, brewing and storing your cold brew in the same container. Therefore, it’s important that your new coffee maker fits in your fridge without issue.
You may also want to keep an eye out for a cold brew coffee maker that comes with some extra accessories. These not only add value to your purchase but can streamline the brewing process as well. Some come with their own funnels, measuring cups or spoons, or coffee baskets. Models that aren’t pitcher-style tend to come with a carafe and lid for fridge storage. Some instruction booklets include recipes, great for those looking to add some variety to their coffee rotation.
|Our Reviews of the Best Coffee Makers|
|Drip Coffee Makers | Single-Serve Coffee Makers | French Press Coffee Makers | Cold Brew Coffee Makers | Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers | Stovetop Coffee Makers | Siphon Coffee Makers | Espresso Machines with Milk Frothers|
Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This cold brew maker features a BPA-free pitcher and a durable fine-mesh filter that produces a clear and clean cold brew concentrate.
Pros: You’ll love how easy it is to use this cold brew coffee maker. All you have to do is pour your coffee grounds into the filter, fill it with water, pop the lid on top, and leave it to brew for the allotted time. Since simplicity is considered optimal for making a good cup of cold brew, this coffee maker is well-suited for its intended task. This product is also dishwasher safe (top rack only) and easy to clean by hand if you prefer. The filter is reusable, too.
Cons: The plastic body feels lower-quality and will warp much easier than glass does. There are no fill lines or markings, so you’ll have to eyeball the correct amount of water to a degree. And while the slim body won’t take up extra width in your fridge, it may be too tall to fit on some fridge shelves.
Bottom Line: Featuring a BPA-free plastic pitcher and airtight lid, this cold brew pitcher is nearly flawless at keeping finely ground beans out of the finished product, thanks to its reusable fine mesh filter. Since it comes in multiple sizes, it should serve your needs nicely.
Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
This budget-friendly cold brew coffee maker features durable glass construction and can easily be taken apart for simplified cleaning.
Pros: This cold brew coffee maker is made of quality borosilicate glass. Right out of the box, it’s easy to tell that this is a durable, premium-made product, yet it doesn’t come with a premium price tag. It’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, its size and design are extremely convenient, and its filter is reusable. It has a maximum 6-cup capacity yet is shorter and wider than many similar models, making it easier to fit into your refrigerator.
Cons: While this cold brew maker is straightforward to use, it’s important to pour water over the coffee grounds very slowly to get them thoroughly wet before filling the coffee maker with water. There also isn’t a fill line, which can make it trickier to figure out the proper water level for brewing. It’s heavier than many similar models.
Bottom Line: For cold brew lovers on a budget, this cold brew coffee maker is a must-have. This 1.6-quart cold brew pitcher has a short and wide design that will fit in most refrigerator drawers or shelves and is made of borosilicate glass so that it doesn’t absorb the aroma from past brews. If you don’t mind the extra, key step of slowly pouring water over your coffee grounds, you will love the smooth, less-acidic taste of the cold brew this product is capable of making.
Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This electric cold brew maker features a unique, compact design and can brew a delicious cold brew in under an hour.
Pros: The biggest advantage offered by this cold brew coffee maker is the time it saves. While it doesn’t make instant coffee, it offers a much quicker brewing time than most cold brew coffee makers. This model can make your coffee within 25 to 45 minutes instead of 12 to 24 hours. The exact amount of time it takes depends on which of the brew strengths you select; again, unlike most other cold brew coffee makers, this one allows you to pick between three possible brewing strengths. All the parts are removable for easy dishwasher or hand washing. The included reusable filter but has triple filtration to prevent loose grounds or sediment from creeping into your coffee. This ensures a higher-quality, silkier, and smoother cup of cold brew than many electric models.
Cons: You’ll have to pay a higher price for its quicker brewing time. While not ridiculously noisy, it does make more noise than its pitcher-style cousins. There is a fairly typical whirring noise, similar to many other kitchen appliances, that arises as it’s working. This may take some getting used to, though noise-sensitive users may find it too disruptive for their liking.
Bottom Line: One complaint about cold brew coffee is that it takes too long to brew, but the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker can make a delicious cold brew in as little as 25 minutes. It also features a strength selector to ensure your needs are met, regardless of whether you prefer mild, medium, or bold coffee. The three-filter system works great to eliminate unpleasant sediment in your coffee, and the entire ensemble can be cleaned in five minutes or less. Despite the higher price (and the added noise compared to non-electric models), this electric cold brew coffee maker is an excellent pick for those who are short on time and caffeine.
Zulay Kitchen 1 Gallon Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This cold brew maker features reinforced and extra-thick glass construction, an impressive gallon capacity, and a high-quality fine mesh filter.
Pros: If you like several cups of cold brew a day or want to make yourself enough to last more than a single week, this is the perfect cold brew coffee maker for your needs. It has an impressive 1-gallon capacity, enough to make and store 16 to 20 servings of cold brew in one batch. And since it’s a container and coffee maker in one, you don’t have to transfer the cold brew into a new container when it’s finished brewing. As a bonus, this cold brew coffee maker is great for brewing or mixing and serving many other types of drinks, including teas, lemonades, and more.
Cons: Due to its large capacity, this model isn’t exactly the most compact one on the market. Be sure you have space to spare before you spring for this cold brew coffee maker. The higher capacity also means a bit of a higher price tag (though it’s still less expensive than an electric cold brew coffee maker).
Bottom Line: For those with the available refrigerator space, this cold brew coffee maker is the best high-capacity model for your money. Featuring a classic design and reinforced shockproof glass, this is one of the most durable glass cold brew makers on the market.
OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This compact cold brew concentrate maker will take up minimal fridge space.
Pros: The biggest benefit to this cold brew coffee maker is how easy it is to store. The two parts can nest inside one another when not in use, so it won’t take up much storage space. The bottom piece, which the coffee automatically drains into when brewing, doubles as a narrow glass carafe for storing your cold brew in the fridge. The carafe also features a cork stopper with a silicone seal that will keep your cold brew tasting fresh, even after a week or more of storage in the fridge. When in use, the rainmaker design feature (found on the piece that connects the top and bottom halves of the coffee maker) ensures that water is distributed more evenly during the brewing process. This ensures a more balanced (and better-tasting) cup of cold brew. You can also use this coffee maker for regular hot coffee, so it’s more multifunctional than many cold brew makers.
Cons: If you drink multiple cups of coffee a day or want to make enough cold brew to last the full work week, this cold brew coffee maker is likely too small for your needs. It only makes and stores 16 ounces (2 cups) at a time. The reusable filter can be tricky to pop out to clean. You run the risk of leaking or debris getting into your coffee if the pieces aren’t properly aligned. And there’s no handle on the lid, which means it’s harder to lift.
Bottom Line: For those who lack fridge space, the OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is for you. This compact cold brew coffee maker features a unique design that allows the carafe to nest inside the brewer to minimize clutter. It also scores major points for having a rainmaker that evenly distributes water over the coffee grounds for a less acidic flavor. If you enjoy an occasional cup of cold brew, this cold brew coffee maker should suit your needs perfectly.
How much can you expect to spend on a cold brew coffee maker?
It depends on several factors, including the type of cold brew coffee maker you opt for and how many cups of coffee it makes in one sitting. A typical pitcher-like cold brew coffee maker with the standard 4- to 7-cup capacity will likely cost somewhere around $25 to $30 on average. Plastic models will generally be a bit less expensive than glass ones, though they won’t hold up as long. If the device has special features, like a rainmaker, or comes with extra accessories, it may run a bit higher, closer to the $30 to $60 range. As mentioned, electric models are even more expensive. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to find one under $70 due to the higher speed brewing they offer.
What type of coffee grounds work best for cold brew coffee machines?
When it comes to cold brew, the coarser your coffee grounds are, the better. Since cold brewing is done at room temperature or cold temperatures, it has an overall lower extraction rate than regular coffee making. Coarser grounds are easier to filter out during the brewing process, which decreases your chances of finding loose debris in your finished cup of cold brew. It also means that your coffee will be less bitter on the whole.
Is a countertop or refrigerator-based cold brew coffee machine a better choice?
Both should work equally well since cold brew coffee can be made at either room temperature or cold temperatures. And the brewing water will likely start a room temperature anyway. It’s worth noting that room temperature cold brew generally brews a little bit faster; a cold brew that takes 17 hours to make in the fridge may only take 14 hours on the counter, for instance. (Neither will brew as fast as an electric model, though.)
That said, room temperature cold brew should be refrigerated ASAP once it’s finished steeping. Therefore a fridge-based cold brew coffee machine means you won’t have to worry about forgetting to stash your cold brew away once it’s done. But if you have limited fridge space, a countertop cold brew coffee machine may be better suited to your kitchen.
These cold brew coffee makers are worthwhile investments for fans of cold brew coffee. Even though they take can a long time to brew your coffee properly, these devices are easy to use, cost-efficient, and great for planning ahead.
If you didn’t see a cold brew coffee maker that makes the quantity of coffee you need or has the features you’re looking for, here are a few other models that we would also recommend: