Cold-brewed coffee, if made right, is simply divine. Sadly, it almost always tastes better at the coffee shop or from a bottle. That’s because brewing it at home can be incredibly tricky. I’ve read many guides that recommend different makers, methods, coffee grounds, water ratios, brew times, and temperatures.
In my quest to make better coffee, I’ve tested 22 cold brewers in the past year. I’ve tried pot immersion (tea style) methods, big immersion buckets, slow drip makers, French presses, mason jars, and even a couple of automated brewers. In them, I’ve tested more than half a dozen cold-brew-friendly coffee blends to try to find a combination I could recommend. I still haven’t made what I’d consider my perfect cup of cold-brewed coffee, but I’m getting closer. Below are my favorite picks.
Updated in February 2019: We’ve added a new recommendations from Primula, a new coffee blend, and a few new cold-brew makers to our list of products to avoid. Other changes were made for clarity.
1. The Best Overall
The Coffee Gator was my favorite cold brewer for many months, but Primula’s Burke immersion brewer has taken its top spot. It’s shorter and wider with a more durable build than the Gator. I couldn’t quite fit it into the door of my fridge, but it could fit in some. It makes about 32 ounces of coffee at a time.
Like other pot-style brewers, you put coarse grounds into the mesh basket, snap it into place, slowly pour water through it, and come back 24 hours later. Coffee came out smooth and flavorful without too much bitterness, and the filter is fine enough that there was less sediment than many immersion brewers. Too much sediment can ruin a good cold brew by adding a gritty mouthfeel and aftertaste.
Cleanup is easier than some brewers because the bottom of the Burke’s filter screws off, allowing you to easily eject used grounds. The only downside compared to the Gator (below) is that it doesn’t come with a scoop and funnel, though it does have a wider grounds filter, so you should be OK, but I’ve added one that looks good in the accessories sections below.
Primula Burke costs $27 from Amazon or $33 from Wayfair
The Primula Glass Carafe brewer ($26) also works well if you want a taller carafe. It has a stirrer you can add in. The downside: It lets in a lot of grit, so you need a coarser grind on your beans.
2. Runner Up
Coffee Gator (With Scoop and Funnel)
There’s nothing insanely unique about Coffee Gator’s glass immersion cold-brew coffee pot. There are a host of pots that look just like it on Amazon, but the included metal scoop and collapsible funnel made adding grounds and water an easier, tidier process. I liked them so much, I began using these handy accessories with all the other cold-brew makers. Cleanup is also faster than other brewers because you can quickly detach the grounds filter, which has a twist-off bottom for easy rinsing.
It’s hard to find a simpler way to make cold brew than with the Coffee Gator, and the company’s customer service reps are responsive. The downside is that the handle does feel like it’s made of cheap plastic and the the glass base isn’t very thick. I’ve had mine almost a year and have not broken it, but I recommend you treat it with care.
Coffee Gator costs $30 from Amazon
3. Best for Perfectionists
Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The WIRED Gear team has liked Oxo’s cold-brew coffee maker for years (we ranked it highly, giving it 8/10 and our WIRED Recommends seal of approval). It’s a cold-brew connoisseur’s dream rig that’s meant to sit proudly on your kitchen counter, and it’s the best purchase if you want bucket-style immersion brewing that allows for greater experimentation.