In the early 2000s, cold brew coffee was seen as a specialty drink, reserved for people who scoured online forums or sought out specialty coffee shops to perfect their homemade brews.
When people first learned about cold brew, it defied everything they thought they knew about coffee. It even sounded strange, because you just basically drop coffee grounds in cold water and leave them alone. It would have been easy to dismiss the innovative new drink as a fad during its early stages.
This drink is now available on the menus of nearly every coffee shop and is widely regarded as one of the most popular coffee types.
Short Answer: You can definitely make your own cold brew coffee using one of the top cold brew coffee machines I researched, which include the OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker, the Toddy Cold Brew System, and the Coffee Gator.
Continue reading to discover more about cold brew coffee and, of course, my reviews on the 3 cold brew coffee devices I suggested to help you decide whether it’s worth buying one for your personal use.
What is cold brew?
The slow extraction process of cold brew is what differentiates it from other brewing techniques. Coffee is brewed for a very long time (about 12–24 hours) at room temperature or with cold water, then strained and served straight up or diluted with more water.
Waiting for a drink to be ready for a whole day might seem complicated but with cold brew coffee, you don’t have to do much but wait for the coffee flavor to set in the cold or ambient temperature water.
A lot of people confuse cold brew with iced coffee. However, these two aren’t the same. If you want to read more about cold brew and iced coffee, I have an entire article about this that you can check out right here.
The following table summarizes the differences between cold brew and iced coffee.
|Cold Brew||Iced Coffee|
|Brewed cold, never heated up||Brewed as normal coffee, which is then cooled down|
|A concentrate twice as caffeinated as regular coffee||Regular coffee simply poured over ice|
|Tastes less bitter, smoother, and more chocolaty than traditional coffee||Tastes like cooled down coffee, thinner due to melting ice, but with a full body|
Why is cold brew so much better?
Cold-brew has become one of many coffee drinkers’ favorite beverages, and here’s why:
- It’s lower in acidity—It’s proven that cold brew coffee is about 67% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. The acidity of regular coffee can damage your teeth and your stomach’s linings, and can cause heartburn as well. The lower acidity of cold brew also helps in balancing your body’s pH levels.
- It’s sweeter and smoother—As the coffee grounds do not undergo high temperatures, cold brew coffee usually tastes less bitter and more flavorful. Some people even claim that they need less cream and sweetener when drinking cold brew, which is great if you’re watching your calorie intake or cutting back on added sugar.
- There’s little to no waste—Cold brew concentrate can be used to prepare a cup of coffee (hot or cold) at the strength you like, one cup at a time. The concentrate can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It won’t go stale the way leftover hot brewed coffee does.
- You can serve it cold or hot—Cold brew coffee can be served cold or hot. Also, it’s very easy to make iced cold brew coffee: you just need to add ice and cold water to the concentrate and milk, if you want. To prepare hot coffee, you simply need to boil water and add it to your cold brew concentrate. It can be reheated in the microwave if you’re in a hurry.
If you really want to try cold brew coffee, you can check out my article about the best coffees you can use to make your cold brew at home over here.
Watch the following video to learn more about cold brew and how it’s better than other coffee drinks.
Do you need to use a special coffee maker for cold brew?
Cold brew coffee is prepared by soaking coarsely ground coffee beans in water for a long period of time. You don’t need any special machine or equipment to make a delicious cup of cold brew and can most likely prepare a decent cup with things you already own.
It’s quite easy to make cold brew at home, and the only drawback is that it requires a longer period of time (about 12 hours minimum), so you need to plan ahead if you want to enjoy a cold brew.
Having said that, there are coffee makers on the market that are specifically made to create cold brews, and these can be of great help if you truly enjoy cold brews and want to enjoy them on a daily basis.
Best cold brew coffee makers
Top overall cold brew coffee maker: OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is known for producing the most delectable cold brew consistently and, unlike many of the other brewers, it’s extremely easy to use.
Its compact size also makes it easy to store and carry along while traveling. Also, it comes with an appealing glass carafe for pouring.
Best for people who:
- need an easy to use brewer with minimal instructions
- just drinks a cup of cold brew coffee a day
- need a brewer that performs consistently
- have a small kitchen or workspace.
The best cold brew coffee maker for making a big batch: Toddy Cold Brew System
This coffee maker is as common in coffee shops as espresso machines. It produces a liter of cold brew coffee at a time, which should last at least a few days for even the most voracious cold brew fans.
The Toddy Cold Brew System uses both a felt disc and a paper filter to produce an ultra-clean cup that’s smooth and nuanced, as well as capable of withstanding the additions of sugar and milk.
Although it’s a little difficult to use at first, the Toddy cold brewer can produce a fantastic drink when you get the hang of it.
Best for people who:
- need to make large amounts of cold brew coffee
- want a clean cup of coffee without unwanted coffee particles
- would like to make cold brew coffee same as what they get from their favorite coffee shop
- want to learn professional brewing techniques
The best budget brewer with helpful extras: Coffee Gator (With Scoop and Funnel)
The glass immersion cold-brew coffee pot isn’t very unique. On Amazon, there are numerous pots that look precisely like it, but the Coffee Gator has a collapsible funnel and a metal scoop that make pouring water and grounds easier and more sanitary.
Cleaning this coffee maker is also faster and easier than cleaning other brewers since the grounds filter, which has a twist-off base for easy rinsing, can be easily separated.
It’s impossible to find a more convenient way to make cold brew than with the Coffee Gator. The company’s customer service is well-known for being helpful and responsive.
The sole disadvantage of this cold brew maker is that its glass base is brittle and the handle is manufactured of low-quality plastic. It’s recommended that you use it with caution.
To sum it all up
Cold-brewed coffee, when done correctly, is simply wonderful. Because it’s not heated, it gives off a mild taste, resulting in a less complex but more full-bodied drink.
It typically has a chocolatey flavor and a smooth mouthfeel, with no sharp notes or acidities.
When making a cold brew, coffee grounds are left to steep in cold or room-temperature water for about 12 hours. After that, the liquid is passed through a filter to remove the grounds.
The end product is a flavorful coffee with nearly double the caffeine content of regular coffee drinks.
Though there isn’t a need for any special machine or equipment to prepare a cold brew, a cold brew coffee maker can be useful if you are very fond of this drink and want to enjoy it on a regular basis.
Out of the top 3 cold brew coffee makers I reviewed, the best one for me is the OXO Brew Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker as it’s affordable, it makes great cold brew coffee every time and it fits in a small kitchen space.
Of course, if you want to compare other brands, you can always use the internet to assist you to find the ideal one for your needs.