The best cold-brew maker
Cold-brewed coffee is gaining popularity for coffee drinkers who want more options in a caffeinated beverage. Make no mistake: this isn’t simply adding ice to hot coffee. Cold brew extracts flavor from coffee beans over a longer period of time with cold water, resulting in a smooth, subtle brew that’s concentrated and ready to drink whenever you want it.
If you are serious about investing in a cold-brew maker that produces exceptional coffee in a variety of styles, the De'Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine is a great choice.
What to know before you buy a cold-brew maker
Cold-brew makers come in sizes that range from a few servings to more than a dozen. The larger makers take up more space, though, so if refrigerator real estate is at a premium, consider choosing a smaller size. And remember: Cold-brewed coffee is concentrated, so you don’t need as much to make a satisfying cup of coffee.
Keep in mind that one of the hallmarks of cold-brewed coffee is that it is steeped over an extended period of time (usually around 24 hours). This does require some planning, but once brewed, your coffee will stay fresh in the fridge for a week.
Automatic vs. manual
Cold-brew coffee makers come in either automatic or manual options. The automatic option is generally much more expensive than the manual cold-brew coffee maker, but they can also double as a regular coffee machine or espresso maker. If you like to have variety in the way you take your coffee, and you can afford to spend several hundred dollars or more, an automatic cold-brew coffee maker is a great investment. Otherwise, stick with a manual for an economical morning cup.
Cold-brew maker features
As with traditional coffee makers, cold-brew coffee makers have two filter options: paper and metal mesh. Paper filters are obviously easier to use, but they add to the landfill and are not the most environmentally friendly option.
Metal mesh filters, on the other hand, can be reused for years with proper care. The best reusable filters feature holes that are large enough to allow water to pass through easily, but not so large that fine sediment ends up in your coffee.
Look for stylish design options that make it easy to take your cold-brewed coffee from the fridge to the table. Whether you choose glass or a stainless steel carafe, there is a design option for every style.
An airtight lid on the cold-brew carafe is crucial. This keeps your coffee fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator. However, make sure there is a pouring spout for easy dispensing.
Cold-brew coffee makers can be found in a variety of materials, including plastic, glass and metal. Although plastic is less likely to break if dropped, glass and metal are classic choices. If you do choose a plastic cold-brew coffee maker, make sure it is BPA-free and food-safe.
A key element of perfectly brewed coffee is correctly ground beans. Some cold-brew coffee makers come with built-in grinders that can be adjusted depending on the coffee you are brewing. Others may also come with measuring scoops for pre-ground beans, reusable filters and travel mugs for cold brew on the go.
Cold-brew maker cost
The most affordable cold-brew makers start at just $20. Looking for a high-end machine that can produce a variety of coffee styles? Expect to spend anywhere from $200 to just under $1,000.
Cold-brew maker FAQ
How does cold brew differ from hot coffee that is chilled?
A. Fans of cold-brewed coffee appreciate its smooth, silky taste. The process of extracting flavor with cold water means that less of the acid in the coffee is removed during the brewing process. This results in a less acidic cup of coffee that might be easier on the stomach for some.
Another difference between cold-brewed coffee and traditionally brewed coffee that is iced is in the amount of caffeine. Because cold brew uses a longer process, more caffeine is extracted from the beans. That smooth cup of cold brew packs a punch.
Do you need to use freshly ground beans?
A. Although freshly ground beans are not required, using the freshest beans you can find will result in a more flavorful cup of coffee. If you must buy coffee that is ground, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer.
Which cold-brew maker should I get?
Best of the best cold-brew maker
De'Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine: available at Amazon
Our take: If you want a cold-brew maker that produces five-star coffee drinks every time, this is the machine for you.
What we like: Make not only cold brew but also a wide variety of espresso drinks with this high-end coffee and espresso machine. It is easy to use and has many dishwasher-safe components for easy cleanup.
What we dislike: This cold-brew maker is a professional-level piece of equipment. If you are not a serious coffee drinker or only drink cold brew occasionally, choose a more affordable option.
Best bang for your buck cold-brew maker
Bodum Cold-Brew Coffee Maker: available at Amazon
Our take: This holds 51 ounces of coffee so you can make cold brew for a crowd.
What we like: It comes with two lids — one for brewing and one for storage — and all plastic parts are BPA-free and food-safe. The storage lid seals tightly to prevent spills or leaks in the refrigerator. The price is right for those just getting into cold brew.
What we dislike: The storage lid can be tricky to get open.
Honorable mention cold-brew maker
Our take: This sturdy, stylish cold-brew maker produces delicious cold brew every time.
What we like: Brew 38 ounces of concentrated coffee end store for two weeks in the fridge with an airtight sealing lid. The dispensing top makes it easy to get coffee whenever you want, and the unit is easy to use and clean.
What we dislike: Some users thought the coffee dispensed too slowly from the tap.
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Suzannah Kolbeck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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