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Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review: Convenient, tasty cold brew -- if you have the cash

Those who can't live without a daily dose of strong, chilled coffee will find a friend in the Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

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Brian Bennett
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Brian Bennett

Senior writer

Brian Bennett is a senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET. He reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from cordless and robot vacuum cleaners to fire pits, grills and coffee makers. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he rides longboards downhill in his free time.

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4 min read

Cold-brewed coffee is one of my favorite forms of joe. If done right, the drink's sweet, syrupy texture and lack of bitterness is irresistible. Making batches of cold brew at home, though, is a tedious affair especially when it's time to strain your grounds. Here to help is the $50 Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker, which eliminates much of the hassle out of creating this special kind of java.

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7.6

Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The Good

Simple to use, the Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker offers an easy way to steep and strain grounds at room temperature. Coffee made with the Oxo Cold Brew is consistently strong, sweet and delicious. Included paper filters aid the metal strainer for an extra level of filtration.

The Bad

The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker costs double the price of basic coffee products capable of cold-brewing. The Cold Brew can't brew with hot water either, and like traditional cold brew methods needs a lengthy 12 to 24 hours of steeping time.

The Bottom Line

The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker will wow die-hard cold-brew fans willing to spend more cash for extra convenience, but it's too pricey for occasional drinkers.

Read: How to make the best cold-brew coffee | Coffee accessories you never knew you needed

You will pay a premium for Oxo's cold-brew contraption. It costs twice the price of other cold-brew gadgets such as the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker and Bodum French press machines. Still, if your priority is to whip up quality cold brew with as little aggravation as possible, then this Oxo device is splurge-worthy.

Oxo's cold-brew gadget makes sweet, strong java with less hassle

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Design

The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker is deceptively simple. It has just one switch and uses gravity, not electricity, as its main power source. Even so, it's clear plenty of thought went into the Cold Brew's construction.

This hourglass-shaped appliance functions in much the same way as a typical drip brewer. Like a conventional drip coffee maker, the Oxo Cold Brew has a brewing chamber up top where you place ground coffee beans for steeping. Below this sits a carafe to collect the liquid that has been strained by a stainless-steel filter at the bottom of the brewing container.

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The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker is similar to a drip brewer, except it uses time instead of heat.

Chris Monroe/CNET

That's where the similarities between the Oxo Cold Brew and drip machines end. The Cold Brew Coffee Maker uses water at room temperature or colder so it has no heater, electronic components, nor a power cord. Instead you manually pour cool water onto the brewing container's perforated lid, which Oxo calls the "rainmaker".

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The Rainmaker lid has holes to let water drip evenly over coffee grounds.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Provided you decant water in a circular fashion over the indented lid, the rainmaker evenly saturates coffee grounds by showering them with small water droplets. A Brew-Release Switch either holds water inside the brewing container or releases it to drain into the glass carafe below.

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Hit the switch to release and drain your brew into the Oxo's glass carafe.

Chris Monroe/CNET

I especially like the conical shape of this carafe, which strongly resembles an Erlenmeyer flask. Complete with graduated markings for volume (in milliliters and ounces) the glass could have easily come from inside a laboratory, not bundled with a kitchen appliance.

Performance

I had no trouble using the Oxo Cold Brew. The trickiest part was grinding the large quantity of beans (10 ounces, 284 grams) then transferring them into the Oxo's brewing container without creating a big mess. For best results these beans must be ground coarsely, so I had to run multiple batches through my relatively small domestic burr grinder and hope I didn't get clumsy.

Once the Cold Brew was fully loaded, I carefully added water (40 ounces, 1,200 ml), waited 10 minutes then gave the grounds mixture a thorough stir and returned its lid. Twenty-four hours later, I pulled the Brew-Release switch down to end brewing and drain my cold-brew liquid into the glass vessel below (a 20-minute process).

In the end, I was treated to 24 ounces (710 ml) of sublimely sweet, smooth, and rich coffee concentrate. Refractometer readings confirmed the complexity of my drink, which had a measured total dissolved solids (TDS) percentage of 5.4 percent. This is a high figure for any coffee drink, but when you factor in the massive amount coffee grounds consumed in relation to the brewing water (a 4 to 1 ratio of water to coffee), it translates to a low extraction percentage of 4.9 percent.

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The cold-brew coffee I made with Oxo's device was consistently delicious.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Don't be alarmed though, because unlike the 19- to 22-percent extraction (1.35 percent TDS) considered ideal for drip coffee brewing, cold brew is a different animal entirely. Brewing coffee cold is by nature a low extraction method and inherently lacks the acidity and bitter flavors often created through heat.

Conclusion

Whether the $50 Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a smart buy depends on how much you enjoy this unique coffee drink. From a purely economic perspective it pays to make cold brew at home rather than buying it from stores and coffee shops, which typically add on a significant upcharge.

With Oxo's device I could theoretically squeeze five 24 ounce cold brew batches from a 3 pound bag of Kirkland Costa Rica coffee ($15 at my local Costco). 120 ounces in all -- that's a much better deal than forking over $7.99 for a 32-ounce bottle in the supermarket.

Of course if cold brew isn't part of your regular routine, I don't recommend dropping $50 on a highly specialized kitchen gadget. You'd be better served by a $30 Bodum French press which can brew hot and cold coffee. Another affordable option is the $25 Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, though I'll reserve final judgement until I personally take it for a spin.

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7.6

Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Score Breakdown

Performance 8Design 8Features 7Maintenance 7
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