If you’re a fan of iced coffee, but you haven’t yet discovered a brew made with a cold drip coffee maker you don’t know what you’re missing! Making cold drip coffee takes time, lots of time, but the final brew is well worth the wait and offers a dynamic, strong tasting coffee that you won’t find coming out of any other brewer.
If you’re new to cold drip coffee makers and you think you might want to take the plunge and give this a brewing method a try, keep on reading. Below I go into more detail about cold drip coffee, and if you are looking for the best cold drip coffee maker, I have handpicked some top rated options that are currently available in the marketplace to get you started.
Okay Sounds Great, But What is Cold Drip Coffee?
If you’re reading this article, I guess that you probably already have a general idea about cold drip coffee. But for those of you that are entirely new to this coffee brewing method here’s a brief explanation of what all the fuss is about.
As I have mentioned cold drip coffee takes time, in fact in can take over 10 hours for some of the best-tasting brews. The process involves slowly dripping cold water through the coffee at roughly 1-drip per second (depending on the type of cold drip coffee maker used). This slow drip process is going to produce a strong, syrupy concentrated coffee that you can serve straight away, or it can be stored for up to two weeks in your refrigerator and then served over ice when required.
Extracting the coffee using the cold drip method also helps to eliminate a lot of the bitter oils and impurities found in the coffee beans, so if you have a delicate stomach, you may find that cold drip coffee is a better option for getting your needed caffeine hit.
Cold Drip Coffee Shouldn’t Be Confused With Iced Coffee
Iced coffee is basically pouring regular hot coffee over ice; it is not cold drip coffee. Cold drip coffee takes time and involves the coffee slowly dripping over your coffee grounds. As the cold water passes though the grounds, it collects all of the flavorful oils and helps highlight the natural chocolate, floral, and fruity notes inherently found in coffee.
You may have heard of cold brew coffee, this is different again and involves full immersion of you coffee grounds inside of cold water. This process also takes time to extract all of the goodness from the coffee, but the process and the end resulting brew are completely different. Read my other article on cold brew coffee for more information.
Cold drip is … well, cold drip!
Top Rated Cold Drip Coffee Makers (Best 2018)
Below I have listed four of my favorite cold drip coffee makers, some are ideal for the budget minded just venturing into the world of home cold brew coffee while others are not so practical for the home use and resemble something from the Breaking Bad television series, but they do make a delicious cold brew! Let’s take a closer look.
Iwaki Water Drip 4 Cup Cold Brew
The Iwaki is “slowly” becoming one of my favorite cold drip coffee makers and one that I only recently had delivered to the house. So I haven’t had too much time to experiment with it. However, in the short amount of time I have had the Iwaki, it’s been nothing but great! This is about as simple as it gets when making cold drip coffee at home and you don’t need a college degree to operate this cold drip brewer.
For anyone just getting into making cold drip coffee at home this is a great place to start, costing just under $30 (at the time of writing) the Iwaki Water Drip 4 Cup Cold Brewer takes the guesswork out of the whole process. Just place your freshly grounded coffee into the middle chamber, place that into the glass carafe, and fill the top chamber with cold iced water. The whole process usually takes around 8 hours, so I like to leave place it in my fridge and keep it dripping overnight.
One downside with the Iwaki Cold Drip Coffee Maker is that there’s no way to control the drip speed; the speed of the drip depends on how coarse or fine your coffee is. You’ll find that the more expensive cold drip coffee makers typically have variable drip speeds that can be adjusted. Want to know more about the Iwaki, make sure to read my full Iwaki review.
Bruer Cold Brew Drip Coffee Maker
Another great option is the Bruer cold brew drip coffee maker. This works in a very similar way to the above Iwaki however you have a way to adjust the drip rate using the Bruer coffee “brewer.” However with that said It’s not the most accurate, and you’ll find that you will have to keep going back to make slight adjustments to the drip rate by twisting the center rod, but at least you do have a way to regulate the drip speed which is a big plus!
However, once you’ve taken the time to truly master the Bruer cold brew drip coffee maker, it does churn out some great tasting cold brew coffee. The downside of the Bruer is the price at nearly 3-times to cost of the above Iwaki, it’s not cheap. For anyone just getting their feet wet and venturing into cold drip coffee, the high price tag may not be worth the initial investment and you’d be better off with the Iwaki which works in the same way albeit without the option the regulate the drip rate.
Hario Cold Drip Coffee Maker
If you want to dive into the deep end of cold drip coffee and don’t mind digging deep into your pockets and throwing down some cash. The Hario Coffee Water Dripper might just be the best cold drip coffee maker. But be warned this isn’t for the cold drip coffee brewing newbies, you’ll need to work your way up to this slowly – scroll back up and start with the Iwaki!
The best slow drip cold brew coffee maker does come at a price and with the Hario cold dripper don’t expect much change from $300 bucks! Like I said this isn’t really for those of you that are just venturing into the world of cold drip brew coffee and if that sounds like you then I highly recommend either the above Iwaki or the Bruer to get your feet wet first before diving in head first!
The Hario cold drip gives you a bit more control over your cold drip brew, and you can adjust things like the drip rate and the strength of your end cold drip coffee. Getting the drip rate perfect can take a bit of fiddling, Hario recommends a drip rate of one drop every 1.5 seconds. To get this drip rate you need to play with both your coffee grind as well as with the drip valve.
A common problem with the Hario Cold Drip Tower is that the water tends to back up and overflow. However, I have found that if you slightly moisten the coffee grounds (just a splash of water will do) before use, you won’t have any issues with water backing up and overflowing (you can thank me later).
Yama Cold Drip Coffee Maker
The Yama Cold drip coffee maker is very similar to the above Hario and to be honest. There are only a couple of changes in the design and appearance that differentiates the two brewers The Yama Cold Drip Coffee Maker has a more intricate design with its dripping coffee tubes, and it also utilizes a ceramic filter (which is better).
Just like the above Hario, you can control the drip rate via an adjustable valve as well as the coarseness of your coffee. For example, if your ground coffee is too fine you’ll find that the Yama Drip Tower will brew far too slowly and this will leave you with an over extracted bitter coffee concentrate. On the other hand, if your coffee is coarsely ground it will brew too fast, and you will get a sourer under extracted coffee concentrate. It is a trial an error on all cold drip coffee brewers, each one is unique, so have fun and play around with the settings and the coffee grind size until you find what works best for you.
If you’re looking to join the big leagues in cold drip coffee brewing the Yama Cold Drip Coffee Maker will turn you into a mad coffee scientist overnight, in fact, you might even be the envy of all your coffee drinking buddies. But once the buzz wears off you’ll soon realize that you can get just as good cold drip coffee from one of the cheaper brewers listed above at a fraction of the price.
Last Words On Slow Drip Coffee Brewers
Cold drip coffee brewing shouldn’t be confused with cold brew, both of these methods are different, one involves dripping water over coffee, and the other involves immersing coffee in water such as the Toddy method or the quick and easy cold brew French Press method!
Over the years I have tried all of the above slow drip cold brew coffee makers but so far while sat writing this my favorite is the Iwaki due to its low cost and ease of use. You don’t need to have a college degree to operate it, and you can brew a great tasting iced coffee concentrate with ease.
However, if you want to try something is bit different, and you already own an AeroPress, you can make a crude homemade cold drip coffee maker check out my article on how to do that here.
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