The Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker to Buy in 2022

If you love the smooth taste of cold brew, it’s time to invest in a cold brew maker.
The OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker on a kitchen countertop with two glasses of cold brew.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Styling by Joseph De Leo

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Wouldn’t it be nice to start your summer days by rolling out of bed and pouring a cold cup of coffee from the fridge? The best cold-brew coffee maker lets you do just that. But what device is actually the best one to use at home? And is it even worth it to make your own cold brew?

We say yes! If you love cold-brew coffee, or even iced coffee, it’s absolutely worth it to make a cold-brew concentrate to keep in the fridge, especially because a great cold-brew coffee maker will only set you back the cost of about 10 trips to the coffee shop. It’s just a matter of finding an easy-to-use device that also produces a great concentrate—which isn’t always easy considering the sheer volume of machines promising to streamline the process and produce optimal cold coffee beverages.

Over the past few years, we’ve tested and retested the leading cold-brew makers—and tried the most promising new models—to find the best cold-brew coffee maker to use at home. Keep reading for our highly caffeinated results and the specifics of how we tested in 2022.


The best cold-brew coffee maker of 2022: Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Released in late 2019, the Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is Oxo’s space-saving answer to its popular but much larger Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker. We’ve long been big fans of the Oxo machine, but even outside of cramped New York City kitchens, the original device took up way too much counter space. The compact version employs the same drip brewing method as its predecessor and makes a cold brew that most closely resembles what we expect from a coffee shop. In fact, of all the machines we’ve tested, the Oxo devices are the only ones that consistently produced true café-strength cold-brew concentrates, whether brewed in the fridge or at room temperature.

The instructions for the Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker allow for brewing on the countertop for 12 to 24 hours or in the fridge for 20 to 24 hours. Brewing coffee in the fridge slows extraction no matter what device you’re using, but it affects the taste of the coffee too. While the Oxo Compact still produced really strong concentrate after 24 hours in the refrigerator, the flavor of the coffee improved significantly when brewed for 18 hours on the countertop. With that in mind we're recommending this machine with one caveat: It’s the best cold-brew coffee maker when used at room temperature.

The cold-brew concentrate you get from the Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker is meant to be diluted (the brand recommends a 1:2 or 1:3 coffee-to-water ratio), and diluting with both milk and water enhanced the nutty, chocolaty notes of the beans we used in testing.

Oxo has engineered this device to be nearly foolproof—both the reservoir and carafe have markers indicating how much coffee and water to use—so the only other gear you need is a coffee grinder. The high-quality glass carafe and cork stopper enhance the experience of pouring a morning cup too.

What makes Oxo cold-brew coffee makers different?

The Oxo cold-brew coffee makers employ a different brewing method than the infusion/pitcher systems, which have filter baskets suspended in water and function more like iced tea makers. In the pitcher-style brewers, all of the coffee makes contact with water right away, and most call for stirring or shaking sporadically throughout the brewing process. In the Oxo brewers, water slowly but evenly works its way through the coffee grinds.

Here’s how it works: After filling a BPA-free plastic reservoir with grinds, you slowly pour water (from the included marked carafe) all around a “rainmaker”—a perforated lid that sits on top of the reservoir/brewing container and directs the flow of water evenly into the grinds. At first a layer of water sits on top of the coffee. Over time it gradually saturates the grinds (it’s actually pretty cool to see where the line is every few hours). When the brewing time is complete, you set the reservoir on top of the glass carafe, which activates a spring to drain the coffee. From there it acts sort of like a drip coffee maker; the cold brew makes its way through a reusable filter into a glass carafe, which takes about 10 minutes. (Oxo also offers paper filters for additional filtration.)

What we didn’t love about the Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker

When we unboxed the Oxo Compact, we were put off by all the parts. But the instructions are clear and after the initial setup, it’s actually really simple to use. The carafe on this device could benefit from a spout, but it’s not necessary. Speaking of the carafe, it’s the only part of this cold-brew coffee maker that’s dishwasher-safe (the rest is very easy to clean by hand, though!).

What is cold-brew coffee anyway?

Cold brew is chilled, concentrated coffee brewed without any heat. To make it, coffee grounds are combined with room-temperature water or cold water and left to soak for up to 36 hours before the liquid is strained. The result? A refreshing, mild, sweet-tasting coffee that goes down smoothly.

Do you need a special coffee maker for cold brew?

It’s entirely possible to make cold brew using a vessel you already possess—a French press, for instance, or a mason jar—but those methods generally yield smaller batches of concentrate than dedicated cold-brew systems. Their results also tend to be less refined, giving you a brew that’s slightly grittier and with a heavier, more intense body. That doesn't necessarily have to be a deal breaker—especially if your cold=brew habit isn’t so out of control as to justify investing in a new piece of equipment. If, however, you want to break your morning coffee shop habit and take matters into your own hands, it’s definitely worth considering investing in one of the best cold-brew coffee makers.

Iced coffee vs. cold brew

If you’re on the fence about buying a cold-brew maker, you’ve probably wondered if making cold brew is worth all the effort. Couldn’t you just stick your drip coffee or French press coffee leftovers in the fridge and call it a day? Not really.

Cold brew and plain old chilled coffee are entirely different animals. The slow extraction of the cold-brewing process produces coffee that’s distinctly smoother, rounder, and more balanced, with none of the bitter edges you find in hot-brewed coffee. Many coffee drinkers prefer cold brew for it’s low acidity compared to hot-brewed coffee (but the best cold brew will still have some acidic flavor). And because cold-brew concentrate is meant to be diluted with at least an equal amount of water or milk, you batch it in quantity for a week of sipping and can add ice and milk without worrying about a watered-down drink.

Cold brew can also be entirely prepared ahead of time. As we mentioned, you make a massive batch and let it brew overnight. Then you wake up to coffee that’s ready for you, for several days. It’s the meal prep of caffeination.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is made by chilling coffee (or espresso, if you’re fancy) after it’s been brewed with hot water. This results in a cup that does does retain the trademark acidic flavor of hot coffee, as well as the acids that get extracted with heat. Chilled coffee also doesn’t keep as well in the fridge as cold brew. 

Cold brew vs. nitro cold brew

Nitro cold brew—cold brew that’s been infused with nitrogen—is increasingly popular because the micro-bubbles give the liquid a frothier, creamier texture. Many brands, including Starbucks, even sell it in cans now, but if you have a cream whipper you can make it at home.

How we tested cold-brew coffee makers in 2022

Each of the cold-brew coffee makers we tested used a slightly different method, so we approached them individually and followed the brewing instructions included in their manuals. As a control, we used the same type of coffee for each test: super-fresh Mexican beans with a light-medium roast. Using a burr grinder, we ground the coffee for each according to the device’s directions and used cool, filtered water.

Because most of the devices’ instructions suggest a range for brew time (12 to 24 hours, 18 to 36 hours, etc.) we first brewed with each for 24 hours, except for the Hario which specifically instructed an eight-hour brew. Most of the devices sat in the refrigerator, except for the original Oxo, which is indicated for countertop use only (it wouldn’t fit in the fridge without removing a shelf anyway). The compact Oxo can be used on the countertop or in the refrigerator, so we brewed that one in the refrigerator for the first round. For the second round of testing, we again followed the instructions for measurements and grind but brewed with each device on the countertop for 18 hours. 

With both rounds we tested each straight and diluted with water and took notes on which we liked best and why. We also gave each sample to a barista/coffee roaster who blind taste-tested each straight, diluted with water, and diluted with cream.

Photo by Chelsea Kyle

Additionally, we evaluated the following factors:

1. Is the cold-brew coffee maker easy to assemble and use?

Cold coffee should be one of summer’s little pleasures, so when evaluating cold-brew systems we paid special attention to ease of use. Were the instructions clear? Was the method simple and intuitive? Did the process require lots of measuring, fiddling, screwing, and/or unscrewing of parts?

2. Does the coffee taste good? 

The whole point of cold brewing is that because the grounds never come into contact with hot water, the process is supposed to produce a smooth, round, easy-drinking cup. We tasted the results from each brewing kit with those criteria top of mind and particularly noted any bitterness or off flavors that came through.

3. Did the cold-brew coffee maker produce the best coffee when used as directed?

The best cold-brew coffee maker for most home users will produce the best cup of coffee when it’s used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These devices are meant to simplify the process of making cold-brew coffee at home and they shouldn’t require a ton of trial and error on the part of the user.

4. What other gear is required to use this cold-brew coffee maker?

Other than a coffee grinder, what other equipment is required to use the device? A measuring cup or spoon? A food scale? How simple is a device, really, if it requires you to also get out a food scale and multiple measuring cups? Some of the “simplest” devices would have scored extra points here if they’d had lines or other markers to indicate fill levels for coffee grounds, water, or both.

5. Are the components durable? Are there a lot of parts to keep track of?

This gadget is going to be in heavy rotation for a few months, so it needs to be able to stand up to the job. We looked at how sturdy the components felt in our hands and how well they seemed to withstand staining and frequent washing. We also considered whether the brewer came with lots of little parts that could be easily misplaced.

6. Does the device take up a lot of space? Does it look good?

Does the device take up too much room on the countertop? Does the pitcher or carafe fit in the refrigerator door? Does it store compactly in the off-season? Aesthetics were also a consideration—especially for machines that brew at room temperature.

7. Is the cold-brew machine easy to clean?

Were the parts easy to clean? Were the grinds easy to dispose of after brewing? Was the filter easy to rinse? 

8. Does the cold coffee keep well in the fridge?

One of the benefits of making your own cold-brew coffee at home is that the concentrate keeps well and most systems produce enough brew to last even two-cup-a-day drinkers a week or more. (Make sure you store the concentrate in a cool, airtight container.) Accordingly, we gave high marks to systems that fit well in our fridge without crowding and came with attractive carafes that had an airtight seal.

Other cold-brew coffee makers we tested

Previous winners

Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker 

The highly rated original Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker almost took the top honor this year. When we tested it in 2020, there were some issues with a painfully slow drip and total yield, but in multiple rounds of testing in 2022, the carafe filled with the anticipated 24 ounces of cold-brew concentrate in just under 10 minutes.

OXO Good Grips Cold-Brew Coffee Maker

Our decision ultimately came down to this: The original Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker is pricier and slightly more complicated than the newer more-compact version. It’s also really big for a personal device; it looks like something that belongs in a coffee shop not on a residential countertop. Unlike the compact version, there is no cover for this device’s rainmaker, so the reservoir isn’t entirely protected from kitchen elements. And save for the handsome glass carafe, the whole setup is pretty unattractive too. Unless you have a reason to regularly brew large batches of cold-brew concentrate and have unlimited counter space, save yourself $20 (or put it toward a bag of really nice coffee beans) and opt for the more attractive, space-saving Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

Hario is a beloved brand among baristas, and we were ready to fall in love with the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot all over again (it was our top pick in 2020). This device has a sleek, simple design and a slim glass pitcher that fits in the refrigerator door. But right out of the box, we ran into trouble, as the instructions provided with both the 600-milliliter and 1,000-milliliter brewers we ordered on Amazon were printed only in Japanese. We managed to find instructions on Hario’s website, but only for the larger device. English instructions for the 600-milliliter Hario Mizudashi are seemingly nonexistent, but we did a little math and made it work.

This was the only cold-brew maker we tested that recommended a medium-fine grind instead of coarse, and though the filter was made of an incredibly fine mesh material, there was still some sediment in our cup. Still, the coffee was smooth with a pleasant sweetness and acidity—but it was pretty weak. Unlike most cold-brew coffee makers, the Hario Mizudashi doesn’t actually produce a cold brew concentrate, it makes a cold-brew coffee that’s meant to be enjoyed black (or with a little cream, if that’s your thing). The instructions recommend brewing for eight hours in the fridge (less than any other device we tested) and as we’ve noted, brewing in the fridge actually slows down extraction. With more time and a darker roast (the instructions do recommend a dark roast) we managed to get a more robust coffee, but we can no longer recommend a device that doesn’t make the best coffee when used as instructed.

True coffee nerds may enjoy the trial and error it takes to get the best coffee from the Hario Mizudashi, but we fear most users will end up frustrated—or worse, under-caffeinated.

Hario Mizudashi Cold-Brew Coffee Pot

This pitcher-style Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker impressed us in many ways but has yet to fully win our hearts. While it never made the best coffee, it consistently produced a thick, creamy cold brew with a good, balanced acidity. As one of our super-testers said, "This is probably a good option for someone who doesn’t love cold brew but likes the idea of having iced coffee on hand at home."

The Takeya makes a more concentrated cold brew than the Hario, though when used according to the instructions, it’s nowhere near as concentrated as the cold brew from the Oxo devices. We didn’t love it when diluted with water (the flavors became muted) and preferred dilution with milk. Still, the Takeya is a good option for someone who wants a pitcher-style device and likes a strong, black iced coffee or a milky iced coffee that still has a solid coffee backbone to it.

Like the Hario, the Takeya has a very simple design with just two main parts: a slim plastic pitcher and a tall filter basket insert. The whole system is so compact and lightweight that you can easily travel with it (it’s also watertight when properly closed).

Takeya Deluxe Cold-Brew Coffee Maker

In 2020 we tested the Bruer Grey Cold Drip Coffee System, a pricey glass device with an hourglass dripper modeled after a Kyoto-style brewer. The Bruer is best for coffee aficionados who think learning a complex new machine is thrilling and want the absolute best cup of cold brew no matter the price. If you really want to learn a complicated yet artful way of brewing coffee and can stand to wait four hours for a slow-dripped coffee produced in a handsome vessel, the Bruer Kyoto-style cold-brew machine is a worthy investment. But we don’t recommend it for those who want an easy way to make a great cold-brew concentrate.

Bruer Grey Cold Drip Coffee System

All the rest of the cold-brew coffee makers we’ve tested

This year we added a few new highly rated cold-brew coffee makers to our lineup, and we were excited to try the pitcher-style Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker (and not just because we had our pick of colors). Like most of the devices we tested, this is an infusion-style cold-brew maker with a fine-mesh filter basket suspended in water. We liked the borosilicate glass pitcher and its protective silicone casing and really appreciated that the bottom of the filter screws off for easy cleaning. Ultimately, though, the coffee fell flat. After the obligatory taste testing, we had no desire to drink more.

We were skeptical of the County Line Kitchen Cold Brewer before we even tried it. How could its stiff metal filter—that sits inside a quart-size mason jar—stand up to a brand like Hario, known for its high-end coffee equipment? But this device had such great reviews on Amazon and elsewhere we had to give it a try this year. The true test would be a blind one, and even then the overall consensus was “meh.” There was nothing exciting about this cold brew; the flavors were muddled and diluting it with milk didn’t help. While this would be a step up for someone already making cold brew in a big mason jar, it’s not the best device for getting the best cup of cold brew at home.

The Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker is a cold-brew maker that speeds up the standard method by spinning coffee grounds in a centrifuge for between 25–45 minutes (depending on the intensity you select) before filtering the brew into a glass pot below. This unitasker appliance failed to impress with its bitter and murky brew that was still lacking in flavor despite using the “bold” setting. It actually made fresh beans taste stale and couldn’t compare to the other cold brews in our lineup. Additionally, the machine had too many parts to set up and clean to inspire daily use.

The Filtron Cold Brew Coffee Filter is one of the originals in the world of cold brew and remains highly recommended, especially among baristas. The basic design is similar to the original Oxo, but it’s a bit taller and bulkier with more small parts to keep track of. In the end we were fans of the smooth, neutral brew it produced but didn’t find the taste any deeper or more refined than the cold brew from the original Oxo.

The Toddy Cold Brew System is another classic cold brewer (named after its creator, Todd Simpson). It’s similar in design to both the Filtron and the Oxo. It produced a smooth, clean brew that was even better when double-filtered using the optional paper insert—but we were put off by an abundance of parts, including a small rubber stopper and plush reusable flannel filter that, according to online chatter and anecdotal reports from friends, has a tendency to mildew over time if not kept scrupulously clean (or stored in the freezer). The white plastic reservoir that holds the grinds also seems likely to stain.

We found a lot to like in the BOD Cold Brew System: the compact hourglass shape, the easy assembly and instructions, and the pleasant, balanced concentrate it produced. But we ultimately eliminated it after some minor issues with leakage and a slightly cumbersome cleanup process.

Finally, the Ovalware Cold Brew Coffee Maker has an attractive minimalist design—it’s really just a borosilicate glass pitcher holding a slender 18/8 stainless-steel filter and topped by a rubberized cap. We appreciated that its slim profile and modest height fit easily in the fridge. But the brew was a bit grainier than the competition, and while the enclosed lid is advertised as airtight, in practice we found it a bit looser than the others we tested, which gave us pause when thinking about long-term storage.

The takeaway

Oxo hit the sweet spot when they released an affordable, compact version of its popular countertop cold brew coffee maker. The Oxo Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker takes the guesswork (and extra kitchen gear) out of making a flavorful cold brew concentrate, and we think coffee lovers will be very happy with this machine. Just be sure to brew it on the counter and not in the fridge.