Cold brew has become one of my favourite brewing methods as of late. It’s easy to make, tastes great, and brings out my inner coffee geek. Keep reading to find out my barista picks for the best cold brew coffee makers and cold drip systems.
But heres the deal: you need to know the difference between cold brew and cold drip to know which one better suites your taste. So lets discuss them quickly.
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Cold brew is a collective term used to describe coffee made by immersion without the use of heat. This means ground coffee is submerged in cold or iced water for the entire brew process. The end result is a non-acidic and refreshing coffee. But as cold water is used the brew time is quite long. Depending on the method it takes anywhere from 12-24 hours to complete. Yes that’s quite a long time. As without heat it takes coffee longer to release its flavours. But the wait is definitely worth it!
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Cold drip on the other hand is made by slowly dripping water upon ground coffee at consistent intervals. I like to think of it as a sub-class of cold brew coffee. The extraction time for this method is 4-6 hours and uses either iced or room temperature water to slowly drip through a coffee chamber. This creates a mellow yet surprisingly sweet-ish coffee, instead of an acidic and sharp tasting one typical from hot extractions. Once complete cold drip is best enjoyed straight or in a chilled glass with ice.
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Cold brew coffee makers come in all shapes and sizes. In fact you don’t even need any fancy equipment as you could use your standard iced tea maker to make some. However there are a few specialised cold brewers that make the process more convenient, grind free and consistent. Below you’ll find my picks for the best cold brew coffee maker.
The Toddy is a cold brew maker focused on simple function. As such it’s one of the more popular brewers for two simple reasons. It makes great coffee and it’s super easy to clean. The Toddy works by filling up the upper container with ground coffee then submerging it with cold or chilled water. In 12-24 hours remove the rubber stopper to release the coffee and enjoy great tasting cold brew. Simple, no? I’ll say so.
The OXO is a cold brewer that’ll sit comfortably on any counter. The OXO works much the same as the Toddy above, you simply add ground coffee and cold water to the upper chamber, however it places a greater focus on consistency. The neat feature of the OXO is that it has a “rainmaker” system that allows water to be evenly distributed over the coffee grinds. It also comes with an inbuilt metal filter and release lever. So you can extract fresh, filtered cold brew with one motion. The OXO comes with both the plastic brew chamber and the glass beaker below it – because everyone loves a bit of science when making coffee.
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]Barista Tip: Make sure to use a coarse coffee grind for both cold brew and cold drip. The grind should be the same consistency used in a french press.[/thrive_text_block]
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Due to the rise of alternative brewing methods cold drip has undergone a sort of renaissance. Today there are many different kinds of cold drip makers to choose from. In principle they all work the same. However as with most coffee makers, the higher the price the more customisable and durable the maker is (fancier, too!). Below you’ll find 3 of the best cold drip coffee makers.
The Iwaki is the perfect entry level cold drip. It’s compact, durable and creates tasty brew. It comes with a plastic water reserver, heat resistant glass catchment and an inbuilt filter. The only downside is that you cannot adjust the drip speed. The maker is set to drip approximately 1 drop of water every 1.5 seconds. But this lack of drip settings is mitigated by its [easyazon_link identifier=”B00JEQ5YAM” locale=”US” tag=”latartgui-20″]low price point[/easyazon_link]. So if you decide you want to upgrade later on the Iwaki is a low risk purchase and a great introduction to cold drip.
The Bruer is a Kickstarter funded cold drip. Over 3000 people backed its manufacture to bring it to life. The key feature of the Bruer is that you can adjust its drip speed. This means you can experiment with different drip settings to vary the taste of your coffee. Combine this adjustability with its heat resistant glass, stainless steel core, and silicon interiors – it makes for an elegant drip solution perfect for home use.
Update: The Bruer B1 has replaced the original Bruer. The only difference is a new ergonomic design however the interior dripping mechanism is the same.
The Yama is something straight out of a breaking bad set. Or rather the most common cold drip system you’ll see at your local cafe. It’s designed to durable with its wooden frame, easy to clean with all parts removable, and just plain good looking. As the Yama is a high end cold drip it has a very stable drip system. This is achieved with its valve-adjustable dripper, which ensures consistent drip rates and a better overall coffee. The Yama is a statement piece fitting for any coffee enthusiast.
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]Barista Tip: For cold drip start off with a drip speed of 1 drop/second, then get creative and experiment with different drip speeds and temperatures.[/thrive_text_block]
In the end the best cold brew coffee maker or cold drip will depend on specific needs. I hope I’ve outlined some good choices to get you started. In the coming weeks I’ll be publishing a how-to guide on making great cold drip and cold brew, so make sure to sign up to our mailing list on our home page to know when it comes out.