Having been an enormous success in America, the craze of cold brew coffee is now sweeping across the UK. And the good news is that, while you’ll still find a lot of it compressed into cans or decanted into cartons in coffee shops, you can now make it in your very own home.
As it’s a reasonably new phenomenon, cold brew coffee makers are few and far between, but we’ve whittled those available down to the very best on the market. From innovative machines to the simplest of devices, we have got most caffeinated corners covered.
The most easy-to-use and affordable makers were the filter bottles/jugs but you need to be well prepared and some require a lot of patience – leaving the drink in the fridge overnight or some for as long as 24 hours for optimum flavour.
Your patience will certainly be rewarded though as cold brew coffee offers a unique beverage. It doesn’t have the bitterness of a hot brew (though some of the filter makers can also be used for hot cuppas too), yet sustains the strength, and the flavours are sweet and smooth.
However, if you really can’t wait that long, there are other options delivering an instant fix, and that doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive machine.
How we tested
For the filter bottles, we used high-grade ground coffee and added the right amount to the filter baskets inside the bottles. Then, we filled the containers with water (cold or room temperature is fine) before stirring.
Our patience was the only requirement for the next part as we left them in the fridge overnight before pouring them into a glass the following morning – a perfect way to wake up the senses.
The best cold brew coffee makers for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Whittards Hario bottle, 650ml: £30, Whittard.co.uk
- Best for groups – Takeya, 1l: £30.95, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for beginners – Rave’s cold brew starter set: £29.50, Ravecoffee.co.uk
- Best for a treat – Jura z10: £2,245 Jura.com
- Best for versatility – Melitta aromafresh grind and brew filter coffee machine: £199.99, Melitta.co.uk
- Best for style – Soulhand cold brew coffee maker: £29.04, Soulhandpro.com
- Best for flavour –Judge brew control 8-cup glass cafetiere: £35.50, Horwood.co.uk
- Best for gadget lovers – Aeropress coffee press and Dark Arts coffee puckpuck: £25.50, Darkartscoffee.co.uk
Whittards’ Hario filter-in coffee bottle
This was our favourite product for its simplicity and timeliness. It uses coffee grounds, which you add into the strainer followed by water. After giving it a little shake and sealing, you pop it into the fridge for around eight hours, a shorter time than some of the other similar products. The result was a refreshing and smooth yet robust cuppa. We loved the slim and sleek bottle which fitted into the fridge easily, unlike some of the larger, more clunky jugs.
Takeya cold brew coffee maker
Best: For groups
This jug-style cold brew maker is a great addition to your kitchen because not only does it make cold brew, you can make hot and iced coffee cups too. For the cold brew, we added ground coffee into the infuser, filled the pitcher with water and left to infuse overnight.
We found the jug style was a little clunky if you haven’t got a lot of fridge space, but in terms of serving to coffee-loving friends, it’s an ideal purchase as it provides a whole litre of coffee.
Rave Coffee’s cold brew starter kit, including Hario Mizudashi pot
Best: For beginners
For those who haven’t dabbled with cold brew before, Rave Coffee has you covered with this cold brew coffee starter kit. This includes a 300g pack of fabulous ground coffee especially made for cold brew and the Hario Mizudashi filter pot, as well as a handy how-to guide. We found the Mizudashi jug easy to use and discovered that leaving it to brew for as long as 12 hours made for maximum flavour. If you’re unsure how to start with cold brew, we would definitely recommend this affordable package.
Jura z10 coffee machine
Best: For a treat
This elaborate machine is more fitting inside a plush cafe, but it can also become a staple in your own kitchen. The touch-screen and shiny facade makes this a seriously stylish piece of kit and as well as offering all your typical hot coffees, it claims to be the first machine to offer cold brew coffee at “the touch of a button.”
It uses a pioneering cold brew process, whereby cold water is pulsed slowly through the freshly ground coffee under high pressure. The result, we found, is an excellent cuppa, without the need for a long wait. It even has a wi-fi connection so you can control the machine with your smart phone.
Melitta aroma fresh grind and brew filter coffee machine
Best: For versatility
While its main use is hot brew coffee, the Melitta is a versatile machine as it doubles up for cold brew too. To do this, you simply use the “unbreakable” insulated jug just as you would for a hot brew and then leave it in the fridge to cool down.
It uses an integrated grinder that freshly grinds the beans, even offering adjustable strength and grind levels to adapt the flavour to your needs. There’s also a programme timer feature that lets you set the time for your brew, meaning you can ensure your cup of joe is good to go first thing in the morning. We love the versatility of this machine and would definitely consider it as a permanent fixture in our kitchen.
Soulhand cold brew coffee maker
Best: For style
This was the most stylish product we used. Its clear glass bottle and sleek metal parts make it an impressive kitchen accessory. The filter in Soulhand’s maker was different from the mesh used in most of the containers we sampled, instead it uses a piece of equipment similar to a tea infuser, and it does, in fact, double up for tea too. Which also makes it easier to clean than the usual mesh.
Like the others, you need to leave this in the fridge to brew overnight. But we really enjoyed this cup of coffee, which we believe was made more smooth by the unique infuser.
Judge brew control
Best: For flavour
Judge brew control offers a range of different products, including a six cup glass teapot with infuser (£40.50, Horwood.co.uk) and a glass cafetiere. We obviously chose to sampl the latter and found it to be a versatile product, that was compact and easy to use.
We were pleased to learn that this worked like any normal hot brew cafetiere (which it can still be used for) just with cold water. You can stop the brewing process at any time by pressing the plunger to the base, meaning you can find the strength that works best for you while it cools and brews in the fridge. We loved this feature as we could perfect the strength and taste of cold brew, which meant it gave this cup the most flavour.
Dark Arts Coffee aeropress
Best: For gadget lovers
A lot of thought has gone into this collaboration from Dark Arts Coffee and PuckPuck, adding cold brew perfection to the pioneering aeropress coffee maker. This gadget uses a plunger technology which allows for a shorter brew time for each cup of coffee. Meanwhile, the addition of PuckPuck’s gadget (£29.99, Puckpuck.me) to the top of the plunger transforms it into a Kyoto-style cold brew drip tower.
We attached the PuckPuck on top of the AeroPress, screwed a bottle of mineral water to the PuckPuck and then added ice. Once you start turning the PuckPuck, the coffee begins to drip through. It was a bit of a fiddly process but it was worth it as it created a delicious brew.
The verdict: Cold brew coffee makers
While it requires a great deal of patience or preparation, cold brew coffee is (most of the time) worth the wait. If you can bear to wait, we strongly recommend making one of these cold brew coffee pots, like Whittards’ Hario pot or Soulhand, a staple accessory in your kitchen.
Of course, we all long for a cafe-style coffee machine and if you can afford it, the Jura z10 feels luxurious and is a speedier option than the rest. Just remember, good things come to those who wait.
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