Best Coffee Grinders for Cold Brew Lovers
The right grind for your beans can be the difference between a rich treat and a weak disappointment
Cold brew, a more robust version of iced coffee, has become a staple of coffee shops. But if you're not able to make your usual coffee runs because of the coronavirus, you can still have your fix by brewing it right at home.
A cold brew coffee maker is only as good as the ground coffee you use, and to get the best possible coffee, you need to freshly grind your beans.
Cold brew requires a coarse grind, which means you need a coffee grinder with dedicated grind settings. “A coarse grind is good for a slow extraction, and that's what cold brew needs since coffee intermingles with water for a long period of time,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s test engineer for coffee makers and grinders.
In Consumer Reports’ coarse-grind performance test, we grind coffee beans using the coarsest setting, then put the grinds through a number of sieves to make sure they're the right size.
Below are the three best coffee grinders for cold brew from our tests; all earn a rating of Very Good or Excellent for coarse-grind performance. For more options, check our coffee grinder ratings and buying guide.
CR’s take: The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder performs especially well in our tests for coarse- and fine-ground coffee, making it a great choice for espresso as well as cold brew. This machine is very easy to clean and convenient to use, though it’s somewhat noisy. And though the Baratza allows for precision with 40 individual grind settings, it's more expensive than the other models here and lacks features such as the ability to select a preset number of cups and an auto-stop feature to halt grinding after a certain number of cups or minutes.
CR’s take: The Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder does well in all our grind tests, but it stands out for its coarse-grind performance, where it receives an Excellent rating. This model is easy to clean but not as convenient to use as other top-performing models, due to unclear markings on its controls. The Bodum is also one of the two noisiest grinders in our tests—we're talking about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. But because you use your coffee grinder only for a minute or two at a time, the noise is more of a nuisance than anything else. This model features 12 grind settings, an auto-stop feature, and a timer.
CR’s take: The Oxo Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is one of the more affordable models that does well in our tests. It receives strong scores in our grind-performance tests, making it a good choice for any brew method you want to use, including cold brew. It also earns a Very Good rating for convenience, thanks to its clearly marked and easy-to-use controls. Our testers find it quite easy to clean, too, due to its removable hopper. This Oxo is a bit noisy, but nothing like the Bodum above. It features 15 grind settings, a 12-ounce bean hopper (one of the largest), an auto-stop feature, and a timer.