Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers of 2021
Consumer Reports’ tests reveal the top automatic and manual models from Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Ninja, and more
From boutique cafés to supermarkets and even gas stations, cold brew coffee can now be found just about anywhere. Grabbing a cup out has never been more convenient. Making cold brew at home, on the other hand, can be rather involved.
Unlike the traditional coffee-brewing process (running hot water through a medium to medium-fine grind for a few minutes), cold brew involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold or room-temperature water for a longer period of time—anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. This yields a more concentrated brew, which you dilute with cold water and/or ice for a refreshing cup (or with hot water for a hot cup).
Thanks to its popularity, there are now plenty of dedicated cold-brew coffee makers that make the lengthy brewing process easy to DIY. Combined with fresh coffee beans and a good burr coffee grinder, you can make cold brew that tastes better than those served in some coffee shops.
But Consumer Reports' tests of cold-brew coffee makers show that some are more up to the task than others. And many of them bypass the manual process noted above: Automatic models, which plug into an outlet like a standard coffee maker, cut down brew time to as little as 4 minutes.
“We found that automatic models are more difficult to clean than manual models, since they often have more parts,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s test engineer for coffee makers. “But their relatively short brew times still make them a compelling option.” Lui’s team tests cold-brew coffee makers for convenience, including how easy they are to set up, use, dispense coffee, and clean. And our expert coffee taste tester evaluates each machine's brew.
Below you’ll find the five best cold-brew coffee makers from our tests, from Asobu, Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Ninja, and Primula, listed in alphabetical order.
CR members can click each model name for detailed ratings and reviews. To see more options, check out our completed cold-brew coffee maker ratings. And for more on all of the types of coffee makers we test, see our coffee maker buying guide.
CR’s take: The Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker DCB-10 performed better than automatic models that cost almost twice as much. It does well across all our tests, and it's the only model to receive a Very Good rating for ease of cleaning. Most parts are dishwasher-safe, unlike the other models in its class. This Cuisinart comes with a glass carafe (not plastic, like some competing models) and brews in 25 to 45 minutes.
CR’s take: The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System CP307 is a full-fledged drip coffee maker with a cold-brew mode. It performs well across the board, especially when it comes to convenience, earning an Excellent rating in that test. It uses an insulated stainless steel carafe and makes cold brew in 18 to 20 minutes. We also tested it as a standard drip coffee maker, and it receives strong scores in all of those tests, too. If you want to bounce back and forth between hot and cold brewing, this could be a great option.
CR’s take: The Asobu Insulated Portable Brewer KB900 is more expensive than most of the other manual models we tested, but it's a superior performer. It offers superb convenience and is the only model in our ratings with a Very Good rating for taste. The Asobu isn't dishwasher-safe, but it has a stainless steel insulated carafe (rare for a manual model) and brews in 12 to 24 hours, depending on how strong you want your coffee.
CR’s take: The KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker KCM4212SX is the most expensive manual model in our ratings, but it offers the smallest claimed capacity, at 28 ounces—almost half that of other top-rated models. And our testers found its glass carafe unusually heavy. Despite those shortcomings, this KitchenAid model does well in our performance tests, even receiving a Very Good rating for ease of cleaning. It can brew in 12 to 24 hours, depending on how concentrated you like your coffee.
CR’s take: The Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101 is the most inexpensive cold-brew coffee maker in our ratings—and it’s one of the best. It receives an Excellent rating for convenience. This Primula comes with a glass carafe, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe. It’s the only model that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results to be worth the wait.