Cold brew coffees are insanely delicious and trump any flavored iced coffee from Starbucks. Starbucks has cold brew coffee now but making it at home is so much more fun anyway. As long as you have the best cold brew coffee maker, you can make it taste almost the same.
Making cold brew homemade also allows you to personalize the caffeine-content and flavor. The only variable that may make your cold brew taste better or worse would be the type or brand of coffee beans you decide to use. Of course, you can use Starbucks coffee beans if that’s what you prefer, but don’t feel limited to their brand.
Reach out a little and experiment with different tastes of coffee beans to figure out what you like the most. Some smaller coffee shops offer small bags of their personal coffee beans that they use in-store. Other than that, there’s plenty of good options at the regular store.
You could try coffee beans like Koffee Kult, Death Wish, Café Don Pablo, Kicking Horse, Cameron’s Columbian, or Peet’s. Death Wish coffee has become popular recently for its amazing taste. Cameron’s Columbian is also a staple coffee brand and is loved by most people who try it. There are so many other options on top of that; these are just to name a few. You might have to do a bit of research and taste testing to find the best one.
Keep in mind that cold brew coffees are usually made with a medium or dark roast coffee bean, but you can use whatever you like. Blonde or light coffee beans work for cold brew but don’t give the coffee as much of a strong taste, which cold brews are usually known for.
The caffeine-strength, flavor, and bitterness of your cold brew are all going to depend on personal preference as well as what recipe you follow and if you decide to edit that recipe. Some recipes that are available online, call for varying amounts for their recommended coffee grounds to water ratio, which plays a key role in the resulting cold brew. Commonly, you’ll see an equal number of ounces of coffee grounds to cups of water; such as 1 ounce of coffee to 1 cup of water, 2 ounces of coffee to 2 cups of water, and so on. Once you get the feel for it, you’ll know what you like.
Choosing Your Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The best cold brew coffee maker for you will depend on what you’re looking for and how much cold brew coffee you plan on making in one batch. There are several different styles to choose from when it comes to cold brew coffee makers. Depending on the coffee maker, the filter material will vary. Silicone filters are generally the easiest to remove for cleaning. Stainless steel mesh is another good choice because it lasts a lot longer than other materials. Another aspect is the overall setup of the coffee maker. Some cold brew coffee makers are large, and you can use them as a pitcher directly after brewing, others are compact for making single servings.
Cold Brew Coffee French Press
Something you can try to do to achieve a better tasting cold brew is to use a French press. A French press is a glass container that comes with an attached metal plunger that you use to press coffee grounds into hot water manually. A French press can also replace your cold brew coffee maker; in that case, you would use cold water rather than hot. The brewing process is mostly the same; how you finish the cold brew is what makes the difference.
When you make a classic batch of cold brew coffee, you pour water into a pitcher or a glass, add the correct amount of coffee grounds, and then stir it a little bit until the grounds are soaked but still floating. The pitcher is then put into the refrigerator to sit for 20 to 24 hours, and then it’s ready to go, after straining. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. Nothing complicated.
Things are a little different when you use a French press to make a cold brew. To make cold brew coffee in a French press, you need to open up the press, put your grounds and cold water into the base and then, without pushing the plunger, let it refrigerate for 12 to 15 hours. Once that time is up, you then press it and serve over ice.
You might’ve noticed that the sitting time is significantly shorter for the French press than for the cold brew coffee maker. When you press down the coffee with a French press, the most concentrated liquids that remain in the grounds, mix their way into the brewed coffee, thus creating an equally-strong cold brew as the method that makes you wait an entire day. I’d say a cold brew coffee made with a French press is better than one made in a cold brew coffee maker, but they don’t make nearly as much.
For your French Press Cold Brew, use 6oz of coffee grounds (coarse) to every 28oz of cold water.
Try this French Press (shown below), which is specifically labeled to make cold brews.
It’s made of glass and stainless steel, holds 51 ounces of brewed coffee, has a non-slip base, and comes with easy to follow instructions. You can use it for cold brew, coffee, or tea; as it goes for all French presses. This is a larger press, so you’ll be able to get a few cups of cold brew out of it.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Waiting 24 hours for coffee isn’t in everyone’s best interest. Of course, if you make a large pitcher before you start the week, it’ll save you the little bit of precious time you have in the mornings when you’re on your way out the door. But if you’d rather not make cold brew coffee from scratch at all, you can always buy a bottle of cold brew coffee concentrate. Try a brand that sells it, like Gevalia, Wandering Bear, Death Wish Coffee, or even the Trader Joes brand of cold brew concentrate. These are all great tasting choices.
When you use a cold brew coffee concentrate, you can’t drink it straight out of the bottle. It’s very strong. What you’re supposed to do is dilute a ½ cup of concentrated liquid down by adding it to a ½ cup of cold water. That mixture then goes on ice, which will start to melt and further dilute the coffee concentrate. Some prefer to drink the cold brew without ice, which is okay, but you would still need to dilute the original coffee concentrate so that you do not consume too much caffeine all at once.
Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
The shape, style, and method that cold brew coffee makers use go in a lot of different directions design-wise. Some coffee makers look more like a big pitcher and allow you to pour the coffee immediately after waiting for it to brew. Other cold brew coffee makers include a separate container that holds the coffee, which detaches from the bottom. Both styles create the same taste of cold brew. Which one you buy depends on the size, shape, and convenience of the coffee maker you want.
Here are the best cold brew coffee makers for the summer of 2019. You can find each one of them on Amazon, and most have a reasonably low price.
This cold brew coffee maker made by Primula Burke is one of the cold brew coffee makers that works as a large pitcher as well as a brewer. And it conveniently fits in most refrigerator doors, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space. If you plan on using your coffee maker frequently, you want it to be in a spot that’s easy to access.
It holds 1.6 quarts of brewed coffee, and you’ll enjoy that you don’t have to worry about straining out your coffee grounds. It automatically does that for you with the silicone basket inside. This coffee maker is very inexpensive and decent quality. The product page on Amazon has a small section that explains to you how to use the coffee maker to make cold brew. Their instructions call for you to refrigerate the brew for 24 hours. You can also use it to make iced tea.
The CoffeeGator comes as a kit, including the cold brew coffee maker, a loading funnel, and a metal measuring scoop. The added tools help you keep your kitchen counter clean when making the cold brew. Similar to the Primula Burke Coffee Maker, this coffee maker doubles as a pitcher; not a full-sized one, but still large. The container volume is 47 ounces.
The container and tools included in the kit are made of high-quality materials like BPA-free borosilicate glass and stainless steel. The side of the packaging also displays an easy to read set of instructions, complete with pictures for quick reference (as shown in the picture above).
The BodyBrew Cold Brew Coffee Maker is one of the sleekest looking cold brew coffee makers you will find anywhere. The stealth black color you can buy it in is even better. This color is called Shadow.
As you make a cold brew in the coffee maker, the brew goes directly into the serving carafe and is ready to pour with the drip-proof lid. It creates a cold brew concentrate that you can add to other drinks or dilute down with water to make a cold brew iced coffee.
If you buy this coffee maker, you’ll be spending a little more money, but you’re paying for quality. The best part is the shatterproof glass and the fact that it is spill proof. You won’t find these qualities in most coffee makers on the market.
The glass on other coffee makers that are made with cheaper materials, tend to break easily with dramatic changes in temperature. When you pay more, you’re getting more of a guarantee that the coffee maker will last longer. The BodyBrew is also completely dishwasher safe.
This cold brew coffee maker made by Bassani not only doubles as a pitcher but also triples as a tea-infuser or a water-infuser. That includes hot or cold tea. To make tea, you go through the same process you would go through to make cold brew, but instead of coffee grounds, you use tea. It’s always nice when you can combine many kitchen uses or appliances into one; it keeps your kitchen looking neat and uncluttered.
A unique feature on this cold brew coffee maker is the stainless steel filter on the inside. You will see that many other cold brew coffee makers have a silicone or mesh filter made of weaker metal, but this one is steel, which is much easier to clean and will stay in good condition for as long as you need it.
The entire coffee maker and its detachable parts are dishwasher safe. It holds 32 ounces or 4 servings of coffee when full. When you store the cold brew coffee in the fridge, the airtight seal on the Bassani keeps your coffee fresh and oxidation free.
Nothing’s worse than a pot of coffee that’s gone old and bitter. Of course, that would take a while since it’s cold brew, which lasts up to two weeks in the refrigerator, but even a cold brew can go bad quickly if its container isn’t sealed properly.
The Good Grips cold brew coffee maker has its own stand which allows you to slide a container underneath the pouring spout. It has a switch on the front that you use to pour the coffee, which separates out the coffee grounds before releasing a stream This type of setup is a lot more convenient than having to take a whole pitcher out of the refrigerator and tilting it to pour, when it could be heavy and not easily maneuverable. Simply make room on your refrigerator shelf and set it there for easy access.
You’ll notice right away that the Toddy Cold Brew System is small, smaller than most other coffee makers. However, this may be what you’re looking for because it’s so compact. You could travel with it easily if you had to and you don’t have to worry about wasting any of your cold brew coffee because it makes small servings. It’s a great cold brew coffee maker if you’re going to be the only person using the coffee maker. It could work for two people even, since cold brew coffee is concentrated.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee
The terms cold brew and iced coffee are different. Don’t get the two confused, because the taste of each is very unalike from one another. Learn the difference before going to a coffee shop and complaining that your iced coffee doesn’t taste like it usually does because you mistakenly used the words “cold brewed coffee” when you ordered rather than asking for an iced coffee.
As previously explained in the above section, Cold Brew Coffee French Press, a cold brew is a 24-hour process in which a mixture of cold water and coarsely-grinded coffee grounds sit and soak to create a long-lasting and robust batch of coffee. In making a cold brew, the coffee grounds are filtered out after they’ve completed brewing in the refrigerator; when you make iced coffee, they are filtered in the beginning.
Making iced coffee doesn’t take nearly as much time as it does to make cold brew coffee. To do it, you use what is called a Pour-Over Coffee Maker, which sits directly on top of your cup and holds a filter in the top. To use the pour-over coffee maker, you put your coffee grounds inside the filter, which is cone-shaped, and pour boiling water directly through it. It’s similar to using a standard countertop electric coffee maker, only manual and it makes stronger coffee.
Coffee that’s made by hand is always better; it tastes better, lasts longer, and gives off more of that coffee-aroma that you’ve come to love so much.
How Long Does Cold Brew Last?
The short answer is two weeks. Cold brew, whether it was homemade or bought bottled in the store, will typically stay fresh and not bitter for about two weeks. Any longer than two weeks and you’ll be tasting something that is very unsatisfying and overly-acidic.
One word of advice is to size down the container your cold brew coffee is in once you drink a good portion of it. That way, there is less air trapped, which would’ve created an increased amount of oxidation, and thus spoiling the coffee quicker. Regular coffee doesn’t last nearly as long because of how fast it starts to turn bitter and moldy.
From what I understand, the large, coarse coffee grounds used for cold brew are part of the reason why it lasts for two weeks rather than two days.
Cold Brew Pitcher
A lot of cold brew coffee makers double as a coffee brewer and a pitcher. Usually, when someone makes a batch of cold brew, it’s not just a cups worth; it’s made in bulk. Cold brew has a longer lifespan and stays fresh for an incredibly long time compared to a regular pot of coffee. Where a pot of standard-brewed coffee can sit in the refrigerator for only a few days, cold brew lasts up to 2 weeks before going bitter. That’s why a cold brew coffee maker is the better buy.
For example, when you look at the Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker (see the image and product link above), you wouldn’t know that it was a coffee maker and not just a pitcher. Coffee makers like this save you time and storage space, they’re also just a lot more convenient. They eliminate the need to switch containers after brewing a cold brew.
Flavors to Try in Your Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee is typically served with ice and milk or creamer. The creamer isn’t totally necessary because of the naturally incredible taste of the cold brew, but you can at least add some simple syrup for a more flavorful taste. You can buy simple syrup or you can make it at home.
Flavor choices you can buy in the store include flavors like caramel, amaretto, French hazelnut, Irish cream, or vanilla. These are the basic flavors you’ll find at coffee shops since they’re the common favorites amongst coffee drinkers.
Homemade flavors are more exotic and unique tasting. There are many simple syrup recipes on the internet that you can try out. A couple that I’ve seen are recipes for brown sugar & ginger, cinnamon, strawberry, pomegranate, and lavender. Sites like theSpruceEats offer these recipes free for you to use.
The best cold brew coffee maker for the summer of 2019 is the BodyBrew Cold Brew Coffee Maker; followed by these other great cold brew coffee makers:
In addition to these cold brew coffee makers, you can use a French press, like the Square Cottage Cold Brew French Press Coffee Maker to make the cold brew.
Think about how much cold brew coffee you’ll making and how often you want to make it. This will help you decide which coffee maker to buy that you’ll enjoy the most.