Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker review: Bialetti's pitcher makes powerful cold brew in your fridge
The $30 (£29 in the UK, roughly AU$34) Bialetti Cold Brew Coffee Maker looks like any number of kitchen brewers on the market. It stands out from the pack by whipping up strong and tasty java while remaining compact enough to shoehorn into the fridge.
Bialetti steeps ground coffee in water to create big batches of cold-brew. Because it's pitcher-shaped, you can pour from it directly. Other products operate in the same fashion, one such gadget is the $25 Takeya brewer. Both products sit in the fridge as they brew and can stay there for up to two weeks. This approach is certainly more convenient than traditional cold brew coffee makers like the Oxo Cold Brew, Toddy and Filtron. These big contraptions brew at room temperature then require the extra step of straining coffee from grounds into a separate container.
Even though they're cumbersome, those large brewers all make concentrated coffee that is also delicious. Takeya's product eats up less space and is thin by comparison but has a small, narrow filter that holds less grounds. As a result the coffee beverage it makes is weaker than I prefer. Additionally the Takeya pitcher is tall, so it won't fit on short refrigerator shelves.
Compared with the Takeya, Bialetti's pitcher is wide and squat. Even so, it will still fit in most fridge doors and shelves with low overhead. Its metal filter has a wider mouth too that's less of a hassle to fill with grounds. The filter holds more coffee (9.2 ounces, 261 grams) to the Takeya's 8 ounces, 227 grams) as well. Most importantly, the filter floats and even spins freely inside the water-filled pitcher.
This combined with a mesh top that's accessible and porous encourage even extraction of coffee essence. Sadly the Takeya Cold Brew has a filter that's attached to its lid so water only enters the filter from its sides and bottom. One drawback with the Bialetti: you must hold its filter by hand for 60 seconds to drain it completely.
Sitting overnight in the fridge (about 18 hours), I used the Bialetti to make 20 ounces (0.6L) of concentrated cold brew. My refractometer readings of this solution come in at a TDS percentage (total dissolved solids) of 6 percent. That's greater than the Oxo Cold Brew (5.4 TDS), Toddy (4.7 TDS) and Filtron (4.6 TDS). The Takeya's brew was the weakest, with a TDS of 2.1 percent. Though powerful, the Bialetti's brew was tasty especially when mixed with ice, milk or water.
All of these factors plus the Bialetti's reasonable price make this pitcher a superb buy for cold-brew coffee drinkers, especially if you like your java elixir good and strong. Of course, if a lack of counter space isn't a problem, I suggest the $50 Oxo Cold Brew, which turns grounds into a sweet coffee drink minus any headaches.