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Review: Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
Cold-brewing coffee typically takes hours. Cuisinart has upended that timetable. Instead of steeping coffee grounds for hours, Cuisinart promises to produce cold-brew coffee in as few as 25 minutes. The cold-brew process makes a cup of coffee that's up to 67% less acidic than what you get with traditional brewing methods. Being easier on your stomach, cold brewing lets you re-experience the flavor of your favorite freshly roasted beans. Can Cuisinart make its promised delivery time? Let's find out Everything you need to know about cold-brew coffee and Cuisinart's Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker.
- No-Heat Coffee in Less Time: Make a cup of coffee with cold water in as few as 25 minutes
- No Skill Required: Just load the ground coffee, water, and press one button. No need to master fancy layering or steeping techniques like in many typical cold-brew systems
- Filter Free: No paper filters needed, the stainless steel brew basket is washable and reusable.
- Ready to Drink: The coffee brewed with the Cuisinart system is ready to drink as soon as the brew cycle is finished, with no dilution necessary. Just pour over ice and enjoy!
- Flat Taste: This quick cold-brew method doesn't result in deep, complex flavors like you get with traditional hours-long cold-brew methods
- What You See is What You Get: Cold-brew coffee made in this Cuisinart coffeemaker is NOT a concentrate, so you only get up to seven drinkable cups from a single brew. Traditional cold-brew methods make a concentrate making a lot more servings.
Quick Specs: 7-Cup Capacity | Dual-mesh filter system
Best for: People who have sensitive stomachs to acid and need their morning coffee fix. Get a drinkable cup of the low-acid cold brew coffee in a fraction of the time of traditional methods.
Design & Construction
The Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker's design is very similar to that of a traditional drip coffee maker. The filter basket and water reservoir are at the top, and below is the glass carafe for the finished cold brew to drain into.
The top has a removable water tank, making it easy to fill whether you're using the tap or a pitcher. The filter basket, which sits inside of the water tank, is made of stainless steel mesh, so no paper filters are needed.
The removable coffee filter basket is also easy to fill.The filter basket mounts onto a small drive-socket that spins like an old-school washing machine to agitate the ground coffee. Instead of enduring a lengthy, undisturbed steeping process, the grounds are moved around at intervals to extract the natural flavors.
After brewing is complete, you toggle a lever to release your coffee into the glass carafe. The coffee passes through a filter on the carafe to ensure there are no grounds in your finished coffee.
Cuisinart takes a backward approach to cold-brew coffee. Instead of steeping coffee grounds for hours undisturbed, it does the opposite.The Cuisinart has a spinning basket at the top that agitates the ground coffee to extract flavor. This process takes only 25-45 minutes, depending on how strong you want your cold brew.
We tested a "bold" cup of cold brew to get the maximum flavor we could from the beans. The machine was easy to load with ground coffee and water with a one-button press to start the brewing process. The Cuisinart spins the coffee-filter basket every few minutes to extract the flavors in the beans. After 45 minutes of on-and-off spinning, the Cuisinart started beeping to alert us it was coffee time. We pulled the release lever and out poured cold-brew coffee into the carafe. Overall, the experience was very similar to a standard drip coffee maker; no special pouring techniques or secret cold-brew knowledge needed to operate the machine properly.
You need to know that the coffee Cuisinart creates is not a concentrate, like what's made by traditional cold-brew coffee makers. Instead, this is a ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee - no dilution required. In a side-by-side taste test, we could definitely tell a difference between this cold brew and what we consider "true" cold-brew coffee. The flavor was not nearly as intense or complex as the coffee that was steeped for 18 hours, even with setting the Cuisinart to the "bold" brew (taking 45 minutes). Visually we could see that the Cuisinart coffee was much lighter in color than the cold-brews made by the other systems we tested. The Cuisinart coffee didn't taste unpleasant, by any means, but it wasn't nearly as strong as the cold brews which took more time and patience. Traditionally made cold brew simply has more time to extract the maximum amount of flavor from the ground coffee. If you want the benefits of a less-acidic coffee from the cold-brew process, the Cuisinart will still work as a quick cold-brew system.
Personally, I'm into cold-brew coffee for the rich and complex flavors that result only after many hours of steeping - If that's what you're looking for, you won't get that from the Cuisinart Cold Brew Coffee Maker. However, if you're someone with a sensitivity to acidic foods and in a hurry, the Cuisinart makes low-acid coffee in a fraction of the time of traditional cold brewing. The Cuisinart is especially a good fit if you prefer a more mild-tasting cup of coffee - I love that there is a company like Cuisinart that's bold enough to take a radically different approach to cold-brew coffee. They made this machine for folks who want the benefits of cold brew without the wait and for that, I respect this product.
Still deciding which is the perfect cold-brew coffee maker? We taste-tested Everything Kitchens' top coffee makers to see which machine is best. Click here to see the comparison.
Everything You Need to Know about Cold-Brew Coffee
- Less Acid = Smoother Taste: Ever have a sour or bitter cup of coffee that had been sitting on the warmer? Heat brings out the natural acids in coffee, so a cold brew can have up to 67% less acid than coffee brewed the traditional way. If you're sensitive to acidic food, cold-brew coffee could be an option for you.
- More Time - Heat = More Caffeine: The process of slow-steeping ground coffee beans in cold water retains more caffeine than other brewing methods. In fact, cold-brew coffee has more caffeine than espresso! Yes, we mentioned that before - but it does! Can you tell?
- Cold-Brew Concentrate = Coffee for Weeks: The cold-brew process produces a coffee concentrate. One pound of coffee grounds makes up to 32 ounces of coffee concentrate. At a one part coffee to three parts water (or milk, or cream, or whatever liquid you use to cut the coffee), those 32 ounces of concentrate equate to about 128 ounces of drinkable brew. The concentrate stays fresh in your fridge for up to two weeks, so a single brew can have you drinking cold-brew coffee for a full fortnight.
- Brews Tea, Too: Not a coffee fan? You can make a tea concentrate with any coffee-cold brew system as well! The process is just the same.
- Great For Recipes - Making tiramisu or a coffee cocktail? When a recipe calls for espresso or coffee, cold brew can be used as a replacement for hot coffee that's just been allowed to get cold.
About the Author:
Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.