Part of the joy in drinking cold brew coffee is spending the $5 to buy it at your local independent coffee shop, don’t you think? Isn’t it luxurious to drink a beverage so chock full of ice that four sips drains the cup? Just me?
While it is truly one of life’s purest pleasures to purchase individual cold brews every morning, I’ve come to realize that it’s anything but cost effective. In its place, I’ve dived headfirst into the world of at-home cold brew coffee makers — namely, the OXO compact cold brew coffee maker. Although I miss the sunny smiles and cheerful salutations of my local barista, I’m quickly learning to enjoy the weekly ritual of at home cold brewing.
I’ve spent some time with other cold brew makers in the past — even tried a few DIY cold brewing methods, but I can say unequivocally that the OXO compact cold brew coffee maker is far and away the best cold brewing experience I’ve ever had. Although it’s on the smaller side, it produces a concentrate that’s as smooth as it is strong. It’s easy to use, incredibly compact, and most importantly it makes a rich, tasty cold brew concentrate that will serve you well all week.
First: How strong is the coffee?
A major problem I’ve run into in the past while home brewing cold brew is that the end product lacks the jolt of caffeine I need first thing in the morning. After waiting 12 to 24 hours for the coffee to brew on my countertop, the last thing I want to be met with is a flabby cup of cold brew.
Fortunately, the OXO compact cold brew coffee maker creates a cup of pure electricity as far as I’m concerned. There was no lack of caffeine in my first cup — in fact after that first morning coffee I was so hyped up I became a little nervous to have another cup the next day.
Of course, it’s possible to adjust the strength of your cold brew by increasing or decreasing the amount of grounds you’re adding to brew, or by brewing for a shorter period of time. The best way, I’ve found, to mitigate the strength of the cold brew is to be judicious in the ratio of concentrate to milk or water that you mix. Using less concentrate will ensure you’re not bouncing off the walls all morning, and will extend the life of a single batch brew — it’s a win-win
There’s no way to mess this up!
Cold brew isn’t the most technically demanding iteration of coffee to make — there’s no grinding or tamping — but the ratio of grounds to water is important to remember and adjust as you find your perfect strength level. It’s always felt like a chore to me to get out measuring cups and make sure my brew is correctly measured, so I was happy to find that this cold brew maker is, for all intents and purposes, completely foolproof.
Fill lines on both the brewing container and the concentrate carafe denote how much grounds and water to add and the perforated rainmaker top ensures that the water is evenly distributed among the grounds.
Once the coffee has brewed for 12 to 24 hours, it’s as easy as placing the brewing container on top of the carafe and letting the concentrate drain into the carafe. A spring loaded stopper keeps the brewing coffee from spilling out of the brewing container until it’s on top of the carafe, and all told each brew should yield 16 ounces of coffee concentrate.
The brewing process was so easy it was genuinely a pleasure. The best design is simple and elegant, and the OXO compact cold brew coffee maker is so intuitive, I barely had to think about it.
Is it truly compact?
This is a cold brew maker that is truly compact. The glass carafe nestles snugly in your fridge, just larger than a coffee mug, while the brewing container is just 5 inches x 8.5 inches. In contrast to some of the other bulky models that are on the market, this cold brew maker is sleek, small, and won’t take up very much counter space at all.
Small apartment dwellers will love the size of this cold brewer.
Credit: Sam Stone/Mashable
We appreciate a good minimalist aesthetic moment.
Credit: Sam Stone/Mashable
Best of all, when not in use, the carafe fits perfectly inside the brewing container for easy storage. I was pleasantly surprised by the minimalist aesthetic of the carafe, as well. The soft curves of glass were a nice touch, and the cork stopper kind of made me feel like I was living in a CB2.
Everything about this cold brew maker is self contained and thoughtfully designed to bring about the least disruption possible to the flow of your countertop.
Cleanup is simple — at least as simple as can be expected
Cleaning a cold brew maker is almost always a pain — dealing with spent coffee grounds in any capacity is time consuming and kind of gross, really. While the OXO cold brew maker doesn’t require tons of elbow grease to clean, reassembling the elements of the brewing container after cleaning can be a bit tricky.
The carafe itself is dishwasher safe, but if you’re in a dishwasher-less home it can be difficult to thoroughly clean the glass container because of its small opening. It’s a perk to not have to deal with messy filters, and spending a little extra time cleaning up doesn’t put a damper on the great overall experience of using this cold brewer.
But is it cost effective?
At $34.95, the OXO compact cold brew coffee maker makes a great replacement for those $5 cold brews from the place around the corner. This cold brewer is on the cheaper end of the market — most models are about $10 more — but it performs well, and is a no-nonsense cold brew solution. The OXO compact cold brew coffee maker pays for itself in one or two brews, and the cold brew concentrate it produces is consistently strong, velvety smooth, and richly flavorful.