The OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker isn’t terribly fancy, but it gets the job done.
SHORT VERSION: This OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker makes it easy to do your own cold brew coffee at home, and of course it can be used for tea as well. It’s not perfect…the carafe is apparently made of some pretty cheap glass. On the bright side, it has a couple of decent convenience features not found in other cold brew coffee makers.
This OXO cold brew coffee maker is a pretty basic contraption. As with all cold brew coffee units, there’s nothing to plug in because no heat is required in the coffee making process. It’s basically a plastic reservoir with OXO’s “rainmaker” lid that helps you spread water gently and evenly over coffee grounds. When the coffee concentrate is ready, it flows through a stainless steel mesh filter and/or a round paper disc filter into a glass carafe with an airtight stopper lid. There’s no confounding technology to deal with. Just follow a few easy steps to make your cold brew coffee, but first timers should know that cold brewing typically requires 12-24 hours of steeping, depending on your taste preferences. This method of coffeeing requires a little advance planning. The whole OXO setup stands about 15 inches tall.
REASONS TO BUY THE OXO COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER
If you’ve never tried making cold brew coffee at home, now is the time! It’s perfect for hot summer months, and since you’re actually making a cold coffee concentrate you don’t have to make a ton of it to get a lot of tasty drinks from a single brew. Cold brew coffee, when kept in an airtight container, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks without any loss of flavor; whenever you’re ready to have some just mix it with water, milk, or whatever else seems right (Kahlua, anyone?). According to OXO, a full 32 ounce carafe can make as many as 12-14 drinks, depending on how much coffee concentrate goes into each. Cold brew coffee is also less acidic than traditional coffee, making it easier on your stomach. Bonus: you could also use this thing to make tea.
The truth is, you don’t really need this OXO thingy to make cold brew coffee. If you have coarse ground coffee, a big plastic bowl, a means of filtering such as a fine mesh filter, and something airtight to store your coffee in, you can start a batch of cold brew coffee right this minute…but that could get messy. The reason people are buying this OXO cold brewer is that it makes the process easy. You’re not paying for technology, you’re paying for convenience.
Anyone who has ever used the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System might appreciate what OXO has built into this unit. Where Toddy users have to uncork a rubber plug in order to drain the brewer after steeping, the OXO has a handy on/off (more like open/close) switch that makes it easier to drain the concentrate into the glass carafe that is provided. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a bit cleaner and there’s no rubber plug to lose. Another difference between the OXO cold brew coffee maker and the Toddy is that the Toddy sits directly on top of the carafe which could be easy (and messy) to knock over. OXO’s unit has its own base, so it stands above the carafe.
The rainmaker attachment that goes on top of the OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker is also a nice addition that makes pouring easier and more even. It’s really just a plastic lid with holes around the edges, but it serves a purpose. When you’re finished with your brew, the whole setup can be collapsed into a space-saving package that you can stick in a cabinet somewhere.
REASONS TO NOT BUY
Like I said, you don’t really need the OXO cold brew coffee maker to make cold brew coffee. You’re paying about $50 or so for a device that will make the process easier and less messy, so you should be aware of what you’re going to find in the box: mostly just molded plastic parts with a 32 ounce glass carafe. If the idea of paying that much money for a cold brew coffee system that contains basically zero technology and only one moving part seems outlandish to you, then you may not be the right customer for this unit.
With hot coffee machines that actually heat up water and all that, there’s the ever present danger of overflows and coffee not being hot enough and everything else that most coffee makers do wrong. With the OXO (and the Toddy), no such issues exist. It’s cold brew coffee! But there is one thing that irks some owners of this cold brew coffee maker:
It’s always the carafe, isn’t it? With traditional coffee makers, the carafe leaks or the lid is hard to remove, etc. This carafe, however, is more like a beaker from your high school science class. It actually has a name: it’s an Erlenmeyer Flask. I think it was invented by some guy named Erlenmeyer. Anyway, the problem with this Erlenmeyer Flask is that it’s flimsy. Some owners have said that the flask broke when they were pushing the stopper in, so that’s not good. Come on OXO, we thought you were better than that. Yes, putting too much pressure on any piece of glass will cause it to break, but for $50 you’d think a more sturdy flask would be included. There should never be a danger that a customer might get cut when using a cold brew coffee maker as simple as this. So, a bit of advice: even though OXO’s customer service is reportedly very good and they will probably send you a new carafe for free, keep a mason jar on hand. Or one of those glass jars with a clamp-down lid (about $10-$12). You know, just in case.
Others have complained that the on/off switch sometimes gets stuck, and the “rainmaker” lid doesn’t make it rain everywhere inside the water reservoir. When grounds are left unshowered, a little stir is needed. Minor complaints but valid nonetheless.
The OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker may not be a feat of engineering, but it should certainly make your cold coffee adventures easier. Convenience is worth a lot, and that’s what the OXO is all about. Don’t expect the carafe to last too long unless you’re very gentle with it. If it does wind up breaking, try contacting OXO to ask for a new one. Their customer service reputation seems pretty good, so hopefully it’ll be free.
If you haven’t tried making cold brew coffee at home yet, there’s no time like the present. Use an OXO, a Toddy, or whatever. Summer will be over before you know it!
Btw, here’s a picture of the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System for those who are new to the cold coffee game. It’s not as pretty or as convenient as the OXO, but it does the same thing and is about $15 cheaper.