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The 5 best cold brew coffee makers: Easy ice-cold java

What is the best cold brew coffee maker? ZDNet's top pick is the OXO Good Grips 32oz cold brew coffee maker. We analyzed and tested capacity, ease-of-use, taste, and more below.
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Written by Laura Leavitt and  Allison Murray, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

Cold brew has become a coffee-shop darling, a dark, rich coffee drink that is created by allowing coffee grounds to steep at room-temperature or cold water for a longer period of time, usually multiple hours. The resulting drink is strong and tasty, but many people find it a little less acidic and a little sweeter, even before adding a sweetener, than espresso or brewed coffee. 

Making cold brew at home to pack in your travel mug for the day is easier than you might think, but having a good piece of equipment makes the process even more foolproof. From a simple, small carafe to a large system meant to be durable and work for a long time, the many great cold brew makers on the market all offer something for the buyer. We pulled together some of the highest-rated cold brew makers so that you can find one that makes the right amount for you, in the time you have, and is easy to use, clean, and store. 

Must read: 

OXO Good Grips 32ozCold Brew Coffee Maker
Amazon

Features: Plastic and glass materials | 32 fluid ounce capacity | Paper filter

The OXO Good Grips cold brew maker gets high marks in a lot of categories: the taste of the resulting cold brew is one of the highest markers in customer reviews, which is often everyone's first question. 

The maker itself is designed to get water in contact with all of the grounds, maximizing extraction, but the design features a paper filter, which is considered the gold standard when it comes to keeping sediment and grounds out while allowing for strong, bold concentrate to be created. 

When you're ready to dispense, 12 to 24 hours later, the release lever allows you to dispense into a stylish carafe or keep your cold brew in the fridge for later. The combination of a mid-range price point, a durable but easy-to-clean design, and a great resulting brew make this a top pick among many enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Produces excellent concentrated cold brew with great taste and no grit.
  • Easy to operate
  • Very high customer satisfaction

Cons:

  • Some concerns about opening the brew release lever being sticky. 
  • A physically tall set-up (14.72 inches) may not fit under high cabinets on a countertop or on a refrigerator shelf.
Cold brew coffee maker stand on kitchen counter glasses full of ice
KitchenAid

Features: Stainless steel, aluminum, glass and plastic | Weighs 7.2lbs | 38oz capacity

Something about the sleek look of stainless steel makes the KitchenAid Cold Brew Maker a really beautiful addition to a kitchen. The paper filter system creates a similar level of high-extraction and low-sediment cold brew, making the OXO a hit. 

It is more compact, though definitely hefty at 7lbs. Its spout is located at the base of the device, making it a good fit for a higher refrigerator shelf, where it can hold your cold brew and dispense it a cup at a time with ease. 

KitchenAid's caché, as a high-quality kitchen appliance manufacturer holds up in the customer reviews - customers are very satisfied with this machine. By virtue of the size and weight, this isn't a cold brew maker that you'll be toting all over, from work to the office, but as a home kitchen mainstay, it shines.

Pros:

  • The chic design looks great in a fridge or on a shelf.
  • Paper filter design keeps sediment out and allows for strong extraction for tasty concentrate.
  • Great customer satisfaction reviews. 

Cons:

  • Heavy and therefore less portable than other cold brew makers.
  • Higher price point than other cold brew makers.
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Takeya

Features: Weighs 0.6lbs | Available in 32oz or 64oz sizes | 3 color options

The absolute most portable of the cold brew coffee makers, this simple carafe-style cold brew machine is the highest-rated by many customers who prefer a lightweight plastic brewer. It earns high marks for easy use and cleaning.

While fine-mesh filters can allow more sediment through than paper filters, most users find this is easily solved by remembering to course-grind one's beans rather than allowing a finer grind to create more sediment. The design of the carafe makes the best use of the space to allow the grounds and water to get strong extraction over the 12 to 24 hours of brewing.

All of this goodness for the lowest price point on the list? Sign me up! This is a wonderful place to start if you are still getting to know cold brew and are not sure you'll drink enough to merit one of the pricier set-ups.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easily portable or storable on the counter or in the refrigerator.
  • High customer satisfaction ratings.
  • The plastic design resists heat and breakage.

Cons:

  • Some comments about weaker results than other cold brew makers.
  • A fine-mesh coffee filter may allow sediment to pass through. 
Cold brew coffee maker on kitchen counter next to glasses full of ice
Ninja

Features: Stainless steel or plastic | Weighs 11.73lbs | 50oz carafe capacity

We didn't want to leave the list incomplete by skipping the traditional coffeemaker that has a combination of hot coffee and cold-brew offering. Ninja gets high bars from customers for good coffee extraction, with the proprietary systems keeping the water at the temperatures that work for hot coffee extraction.

The Ninja system doesn't do traditional cold brew, i.e. coffee grounds immersed in water for a long time. Instead, it passed water through coffee over the course of 10-15 minutes at lower temperatures, instructing you to add ice to the carafe. The result pleases a lot of the customers. 

It's unlikely that a 15-minute brew cycle is going to yield the same extraction, smoothness, and boldness that characterize some of the 12-24 hour brews, but if you want a machine that can admirably hand over iced-coffee-like cold brew as well as brew hot coffee and make tea, this machine is your swiss-army-knife of the coffee world.

Pros:

  • Share counter space easily with a hot-coffee lover. 
  • High customer satisfaction and limited warranty for 2 years.
  • Fast 10-15 minute brew time for cold brew.

Cons:

  • Automatic cold brew setting has a lower temp than traditional hot coffee but may result in coffee that tastes more "iced coffee" than "cold brew."
  • Some reviewers complained of water leaks in this design.
Cuisinart BCB-10 Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cuisinart

Features: Stainless steel | Weighs 6lbs | 56oz capacity

Much like the Ninja before it, the Cuisinart is a great fit for those who don't want to have to remember to brew their cold coffee the day or night before. Unlike the Ninja, Cuisinart's recipe for automatic cold brew is a happy medium: it uses the traditional cold-water-and-grounds immersion technique but for only 25-45 minutes, depending on how strong you want your coffee. The secret is in an agitation setting that moves the water and beans, ideally prompting the extraction to happen faster while still retaining the velvety boldness that makes people love cold brew.

Customers don't lie: they love the coffee the Cuisinart makes. Side-by-side with any 12-to-24-hour brew, a discerning palate might be able to tell some major differences, but if your priority is a well-made, beautiful machine that will get the job done fast, this ticks all the boxes, and at the 'bold' setting, 45 minutes, you're likely to be able to get some serious body when you've found the best coffee variety for your tastes. 

Pros:

  • Agitation technology makes your cold brew quickly, 25-45 minutes.
  • The chic design looks nice on a countertop.
  • High customer satisfaction rating.

Cons:

  • Some customers are dissatisfied with the cost of replacement filters and the challenges in cleaning them. 
  • Purists may find that automatic, fast cold brew has a different flavor than the long-extraction-time product.

What is the best cold brew coffee maker?

The OXO Good Grips 32oz Cold Brew Coffee Maker is the best cold brew coffee maker due to its ease-of-use, cold brew flavor, and price.

Cold Brew Maker

Price

Capacity 

OXO Good Grips Cold 32oz Cold Brew Coffee Maker

$73

32 ounces

KitchenAid Cold Brew Maker

$140

38 ounces

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker

$28

32 ounces or 64 ounces

Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System

$200

50 ounces

Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker

$80

56 ounces

Which cold brew coffee maker is right for you?

To that end, let's think through your best options. First, are you shopping for a steeper, which takes 12-24 hours to make cold brew or an automatic coffee maker? 

If you're aiming for automatic, consider your budget. The Cuisinart runs an affordable $80 for the fast-agitation-based cold brew, and if you're willing to splurge and have tea and hot-coffee drinkers in the house, the Ninja offers many features in a $199.99 machine.

If you're looking for a steeper, focus on your filtration method and budget level. For affordability, nothing beats the Takeya at $25, and the fine mesh filter does a good job. 

Finally, if you're narrowing down between two long-steep paper-filter machines, consider shape and aesthetics. Customers rave about both the OXO and the KitchenAid for their great extraction and ease to clean, so choose the lower price point one, OXO, for a great experience in a taller package that needs a little more countertop or fridge planning. The KitchenAid's beautiful design is well worth the splurge if you want a cold brew machine that will look great in your refrigerator or on display at brunch. 

In conclusion, all five of our picks have captured the interest of cold brew lovers but at a range of price points, filtration styles, and features. Choose based on what you'll use, what will bring you joy, and what you're interested in spending on your cold brew fix these days.

Choose this cold brew coffee maker... 

If you want... 

OXO Good Grips 32oz Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The best overall option

KitchenAid Cold Brew Maker

A durable yet compact cold brew coffee maker that can live in your fridge

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker

A low-cost cold brew coffee maker

Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System

A traditional coffee maker that can also make cold brew 

Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker

An automatic option

How did we choose these products?

When we select top cold brew coffee makers for you, we take into account many factors, but we focus primarily on customer satisfaction, experience options, and variety.

Because many people have different tastes in coffee flavors and experiences, we use customer reviews to determine, "did this cold brew maker satisfy the people who purchased it?" We wanted overall high ratings, but we also wanted reviews that told a story of someone who got the kind of cold brew they wanted, in an easy and straightforward way, over time so that we knew the product was durable.

Next, we focused on the experiences that people want: one factor in cold brew, particularly, is that good cold brew often takes time, and an automatic cold brew maker that only takes a few minutes may yield a noticeably different product than a long-brew machine that simply steeps the coffee overnight. 

Finally, we knew that some people want a cold brew maker for display at a brunch while others want one that will make a big quantity of cold brew, and others have high trust for brand names versus less well-known coffee makers when it comes to durability. A variety of 'winners' gives you the chance to prioritize whatever matters most to you.

What is the right amount of time for cold brew?

Every kind of beans and roast will take a little different time, so focus on using your cold brew maker's directions and then try each extreme with your roast. For instance, try a 12-hour brew one day, then a 24-hour brew the next, and compare your reaction. 

Be aware that medium-dark and dark roasts may yield the most typical "coffee shop cold brew" flavors you expect, while a light roast or medium roast may be a little weaker-tasting in the same amount of brew time. 

Does cold brew have more caffeine?

While every cold brew maker yields slight differences, the average cup of cold brew will often have more caffeine than the average drip coffee. The main ratio that changes is water to grounds, and since most cold brew makers recommend using more grounds than you'd use in a pot of drip coffee, the total caffeine potential is higher. 

That being said, if you get a bad extraction or dilute your cold brew concentrate, it is possible to have less caffeine, so consume cold brew with caution until you've established its caffeine effects on you. 

Also: How much caffeine is in your coffee cup?

Does cold brew coffee have less acid than hot coffee?

While it has been debunked that cold brew is less acidic than hot coffee (they're the same pH level), extraction may yield different acids and a few different chemical compounds, leading to the reports from those who drink cold brew that it upsets their stomach less than hot coffee.

Are there alternative cold brew coffee makers worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into:


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