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Top Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Cold Brew Coffee Makers Taste Test with Heroes Coffee
It's a mistake to pass up cold brew coffee with its bold smoothness and rich, complex flavors. Cold coffee might sound foreign, but after experiencing the natural sweetness and different notes of freshly ground coffee beans, I feel bad for those who haven't had a cup of velvety smooth concentrated coffee that is cold brew. Because of the slow and cold extraction, this chilly counterpart has even more caffeine than a hot shot of espresso. Making a batch of cold brew at home is not only easy, but it can also save you precious time in the morning and you can stop spending your money on expensive iced coffees.
To do the ultimate taste test, we brought in our local coffee expert Case Howard from Heroes Coffee Company to help teach us about cold brew coffee and find the best tasting cold brew. Heroes provided their famous freshly roasted beans for our cold brew taste-testing.
We taste tested cold brew coffee from our top coffee makers to see which machine is best for you.
Everything you need to know about Cold Brew Coffee
- Less Acidic Coffee = Smoother Tasting Coffee - Ever have a sour or bitter cup of coffee that's been sitting on the warmer? Heat is what brings out the natural acids in coffee, cold brewing can have up to 67% less acid than traditional hot brewing.
- More Time + No Heat = More Caffeine - The slow process of steeping your beans in cold water instead of hot water makes cold brew coffee maintain more caffeine than any other coffee brewing method. It has more caffeine than espresso!
- Cold Brew Concentrate = Coffee for Weeks - Because the cold brew process produces a concentrate, you can be drinking coffee for weeks with a single brew. One part cold brew coffee concentrate is mixed with 3 parts water to create an undeniably smooth cup of coffee. The concentrate stays fresh in your fridge for up to two weeks. One brewed batch can make up to 32fl oz. of concentrate, which equates to about 128fl oz. of coffee to drink.
- Brew Tea as Well - Not a coffee fan? Use any coffee cold brew system to make a tea concentrate as well! The process is just as easy.
Everything Kitchen's Top Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Chef Austin's Test Results:
Toddy is known for its commercial cold brew systems and has created a home version. Toddy's Cold Brew System Coffee Maker is as simple as it gets - the whole kit is 5 pieces and leaves no questions on how it is supposed to work. The included user-friendly instructions are spot-on when it comes to making perfect cold brew coffee according to our guest coffee expert Case Howard from Heroes Coffee. The Toddy created one of the best tasting cold brew coffees we tasted because of their excellent quality filters. The thick fiber filters are reusable; our coffee expert Case recommends keeping the filter moist in a zip-lock bag when not using. The Toddy is an inexpensive way to get into cold brewing coffee or tea at home with the expert results Toddy is known for.
- Dead simple brewing system- minimal components make cold brewing easy
- Very thick fiber filters- not even the finest coffee grounds will make it through a Toddy filter
- Perfect Directions - Toddy's instruction manual perfectly describes how to make the most flavorful cold brew like a pro
- Not very attractive (kind of bulky)
- No fail-safes for not breaking your bloom when adding water to coffee grounds, you will need a small amount of skill to properly make cold brew
- You have to remove a rubber stopper from bottom of brewing jug, and then quickly set on top of decanter to drain - not too user-friendly
Quick Specs: 56oz Capacity | 2 Reusable Fiber Filters Included
Best For: Cold brew beginners or experts; Toddy offers a cave-man simple brewing system and perfect directions for making cold brew coffee at home.
Chef Austin's Test Results:
I was a bit skeptical at first when filling the KitchenAid with fresh coffee grounds. The design is radically different from the traditional Toddy or Oxo cold brew coffee makers. KitchenAid has made their coffee maker more compact by having the ground beans steep in the same vessel that will dispense your cold brew. The steeping basket is a very fine-mesh stainless steel which is nice because you don't need to buy paper filters. I wish, however, that it did have some sort of paper filter. We found some noticeable fine coffee ground sediment after draining our steeped coffee that normally would have been caught by a paper filter. But other than that, the cold brew was still smooth and deeply rich in flavor. Our coffee expert, Case from Heroes Coffee, actually picked KitchenAid as having the best flavor cold brew out of all the cold brew coffee makers in a blind taste test.
- Compact Size- Easily fits in the refrigerator, brew and dispense from the same container
- Glass & Metal Design - Thick glass sides and metal handle make the KitchenAid feel like a quality piece of equipment
- Built-In Pour Spout - No-drip pour spout makes it even easier to enjoy your cold brew coffee
- Good Directions - KitchenAid's directions produce a coffee bloom and properly extracts all the tasty stuff from your beans
- The stainless steel fine-mesh steeper can leave behind very fine sediment in your cold brew system
- Does not make as much cold brew coffee concentrate as Toddy or OXO
Quick Specs: 28oz Capacity | Very fine-mesh stainless steel infusing basket
Best For: If you need a compact and stylish cold brew coffee maker that can reside in the fridge.
Chef Austin's Test Results:
Oxo always impresses me with taking a tool I use day-to-day and making it even easier to use. Their cold brew coffee maker takes the hardest step of cold brewing, creating the coffee bloom, and makes it dummy-proof. Oxo's Rainmaker lid can make a perfect bloom every time. Instead of slowly pouring water directly onto the ground coffee beans by hand, simply pour water into the rainmaker. Watch the water drip down gently and evenly like rain over the beans creating that magical, flavorful bloom you want to see when cold brewing coffee. With pouring water by hand, you can easily break this bloom by pouring too fast or unevenly. Unfortunately, we did not have a bloom with Oxo because their directions state to stir up the coffee grounds after adding the water. We do not agree with Oxo's method, we recommend a method similar to Toddy's or KitchenAid's where you layer water and beans alternatively. This way you do not disturb the ground beans after adding water; thus creating the bloom you are looking for instead of destroying it. Other than this, we love the Oxo's smooth cup of cold brew.
- Rainmaker Pouring Lid - This tool soaks your coffee grounds evenly every time! This helps make a perfect bloom to extract the maximum flavor from your beans.
- Dispensing Lever - When it's time to drain the coffee, simply press the lever and it will dispense into the glass carafe.
- Easy-to-Store - Oxo designed the cold brew system parts to neatly nest inside of each other to store when not making cold brews.
- Instructions provided for making cold brew are not optimal. Oxo's directions never produced a coffee bloom. We recommend not stirring the grounds to make a perfect coffee bloom.
Quick Specs: 40oz. Capacity | Metal mesh and paper filters included
Best For: Near dummy-proof system for cold brewing coffee. Oxo's design can make the perfect coffee bloom and dispense brewed coffee easily.
Chef Austin's Test Results:
Cuisinart takes a completely different 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 coffee grounds, spinning out the flavor. This process takes only 25-45 minutes depending on how strong you want your cold brew. The coffee it creates is not a concentrate like the other machines we tested. Instead, this is a ready-to-drink cold brew coffee, no dilution required. In a side-by-side taste test, you could definitely tell a difference from 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 when setting the Cuisinart to a "strong" brew (taking 45 minutes). Visually we could see that Cuisinart's coffee was much lighter in color. The coffee wasn't bad tasting by any means, but not nearly as good as the other cold brews that took more time and patience. The others simply had more time to extract the maximum amount of flavor from the coffee grounds. If you want a less acidic coffee, the Cuisinart will still work for you as a quick and dirty cold brew replacement. Personally, I'm in the cold brew coffee craze for the rich and complex flavors from a cold brew that you can only get with a long soak.
- No-Heat Coffee in Less Time - Make a cup of coffee with cold water in as little as 25 minutes.
- Motorized Agitator - The coffee filter basket spins coffee in cold water to extract coffee goodness instead of long steep periods
- Not really a true "cold-brew" coffee taste
- Coffee is weaker than long-brew time counterparts
Quick Specs: 7-Cup Capacity | Dual-mesh filter system
Best For: FAST cold brew coffee. Get the low-acid coffee cold brew offers in a fraction of the time.
Chef Austin's Top Pick
Oxo offers great design, makes it rain, and steeps a smooth cold brew.
Because of its balance of performance and price the Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker is my Top Pick. The Oxo takes what was good about simplistic designs like Toddy's Cold Brew Coffee Maker and improves on them. It looks more attractive and the overall user experience is much easier. I love the Oxo's Rainmaker pouring lid to make a perfect coffee bloom to extract the most flavor. The system makes it easy to drain the coffee from the soaked beans with a simple release lever that drains into the cool "science beaker" carafe. We do not recommend the directions that Oxo includes in their instructions, but that is an easy fix, just do not stir the grounds. The price point is right in the middle of all the cold brew makers making it affordable for anyone to start cold-brewing at home.
I will say that the close second for my top pick had to be the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker. I love the compact design with the thick and attractive glass walls and metal handle. I love that I can brew right in the fridge and don't have to take the container out to pour. I can use the spout to dispense my coffee concentrate with ease. If you're willing to spend the extra money on the KitchenAid cold brewer for this convenience, I fully recommend doing so!
Again, we want to thank Case Howard from Heroes Coffee for providing freshly roasted coffee beans for all of our tests. Order fresh beans directly to your door by checking out Heroes Coffee Company online store or visit one of their locations in Missouri or Arkansas.
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.