Cold-brew coffee makers range in size, price and complexity. They also vary in how they filter coffee. Some use thin, metal filters that leave more oils in the drink. Some use thick, felt filters that remove oils and bitter compounds. Some use a combination of metal and thin paper filters that try to strike a balance.
But here’s the thing about cold-brew makers, no matter how trendy they are: You don’t need any of them to make a batch at home. You could use a French press or even MacGyver a system from an empty two-liter bottle, a Mason jar, large coffee filters and a swatch of felt (although the whole process just makes me want to run to the store for a Toddy system).
All you need for cold brew is a container to steep coarsely ground coffee (in a ratio of about six parts water and one part coffee), a large strainer bag (such as a nut-milk bag) and a jar in which to strain the coffee.
You can, of course, buy a device as well. Here’s a small sample of the cold-brew makers on the market:
Toddy Cold Brew System , $39.50. Popular with baristas, the Toddy uses a thick felt filter, which makes for a smooth, sweet cold-brew with barely a trace of bitterness.
Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker , $49.99. This devices has performed well in consumer tests. It uses a metal filter, which can leave sediment in your coffee, but it can also be supplemented with paper filters to produce a cleaner, oil-free cold brew.
Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewing System , $39.95. Similar to the Toddy system, Filtron relies on a felt filter.
Yama Glass 6-8 Cup Cold Drip Maker , $247. This beautiful Japanese device requires not just a lot of cash, but ample counter space. For the hardcore only.