Let’s get one thing straight: Iced coffee and cold brew coffee are not the same things. To suggest otherwise is sacrilege in my book, and an admission that your palate has been confusing melty-ice-water coffee with the real deal: the concentrated, rich flavor that coffee beans were born to give us.
Unfortunately for the cold brew snobs among us, shelling out the cash for your daily cuppa mud gets expensive—fast. Rather than running your wallet dry day by day, you can make a one-time purchase that will revolutionize your caffeine-dependent life: a cold brew coffee maker that lets you make your favorite caffeinated drink at home.
The good news is that making cold brew coffee is probably the easiest, most hands-off coffee-brewing method of them all. The only thing you need to do is load the grounds into a vessel that will let them steep in room temperature water overnight, and voila! You’ve just made yourself a cold brew coffee concentrate that will rival that of your local artisanal coffee shop.
Since the cold brew process is so simple, so too are the cold brew makers (typically). However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of great options for you to choose from. That’s why we rounded up a few of the best cold brew makers, from classic pitchers and fancy growlers to personal tumblers and elaborate wooden towers of pure java joy.
Keep it simple
You don’t have to be a barista to successfully use the Takeya pitcher—it’s one of the most user-friendly cold brew makers out there. It fits snugly in the fridge, and the airtight lid keeps your cold brew fresh for up to two weeks. (Although its brew is so delicious, you’ll surely finish it before then.)
This sleek infuser streamlines your cold brew process perfectly—you don’t even have to pour your brew, since the vessel doubles as a to-go tumbler, so your coffee will be ready to grab and drink, straight from the source. You can also use it to brew tea or other beanless infusions.
If you’ve never had nitro cold brew, imagine a glass of draft Guinness, but for coffee. (If you haven’t had Guinness… you should.) Fun fact, it’s also possible to make a great cup of nitro cold brew at home, too—and you don’t need an expensive draft setup to achieve the creamy goodness you’ve been overpaying for every other day. Instead, snag GrowlerWerks’ uKeg nitro cold brew coffee maker. It lets you achieve the perfect draft pour right in your own kitchen. Sure, it’s a bit more pricey than its non-nitro peers, but the luxurious brew is worth every penny.
A five-minute brew
Patience is a virtue that very few of us have. If the extended steep time is what’s keeping you from brewing it up at home, then the Gourmia is the right cold brew maker for you. This digital cold brew maker has shortened the process to mere minutes without sacrificing flavor. Plus, you can choose from four different brew strengths, ranging from light brew to concentrated mud.
If you’re not the only cold brew drinker in your household, you’re going to need a pretty large pitcher to keep up with demand. This dishwasher-safe cold brew maker brews six cups of cold brew, enough for the whole family. (Though we don’t judge if it’s all for you—just don’t forget to mix in some water.)
Always on tap
When my caffeine intake was at its all-time high, this stainless steel beauty was always holding court in my refrigerator, full and ready to give me a much-needed pour of bean juice. It has a higher price tag than some of the other cold brew coffee makers on this list, but for good reason: I’ve had it for over five years and it’s still good as new.
The space-saving option
Ah, the humble mason jar, the unsung hero of every kitchen. This cold brew maker insert makes the brewing process wonderfully uncomplicated. (Plus, the mason jar can hold two quarts of brew, a.k.a a half gallon, so you’ll be well stocked.) It has a smaller footprint than other, clunkier cold brew makers, so even if your refrigerator is packed full, you’ll be able to squeeze this guy in there.
Cold brew, but make it classy
Don’t like the look of the standard pitchers? No problem. This cold brew maker is shaped like a bottle of wine and has a beautiful matte finish. It’s an eye-catching addition to your breakfast spread.
Pack it with you
Don’t blame me if you get hooked on your homemade brew and your old coffee spot is ruined for you forever. If that’s your fate, then you’ll want this mess-free, vacuum-insulated portable cold brew maker so you can take your liquid gold with you wherever you go.
Hot and cold
Some of us are creatures of habit and some of us… not so much. If you aren’t committed to a usual order, then the Ninja hot- and cold-brewed system is the coffee maker for you. Not only does it make a 10-minute cold-brew concentrate, but it can also make traditional iced coffee, hot drip coffee, and specialty drinks, all at the press of a button.
Do you need a $100, old-timey, wooden cold brew tower in your kitchen? Probably not. Do I still think you should buy one? Absolutely.
Coffee not your thing? Don’t sweat—we’ve got you covered.
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