Could This Compact Cold Brew Maker Actually Replace a Barista? Here’s Our Honest Take
- Value: 20/20
- Functionality: 20/20
- Ease of Use: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 17/20
- Taste: 20/20
- TOTAL: 97/100
Sure, the cold stuff has its merits, namely that it can be pleasantly gulped down while walking to my train and it’s potent enough to feel like I’ve injected caffeine straight into my bloodstream. But is it worth shelling out $6 every day for a small plastic cup? It’s tasty, yes, but do I look like Daddy Warbucks? And making it at home is just…well, I’m lazy.
So when I got a sample of the OXO Compact Cold-Brew Coffee Maker, a miniature version of the brand’s popular full-size model, I wasn’t, like, screaming my excitement from the rooftops or anything. In my negative-square-foot apartment, you basically have to be lifechanging to prove your worth.
But then COVID-19 temporarily closed my local coffee place (SMDH). And I was desperate for any semblance of normalcy. So I thought, what the heck? and took the cold-brewer for a spin.
I must shamefully say that I was wrong, because I just didn’t know how much I needed one of these lil’ guys in my life.
For starters, this cold-brew maker is tiny. It doesn’t upset the delicate balance of refrigerator organization, and when I’m not using it, it tucks away in my cabinet. It comes with a cute glass carafe and a plastic brewer that houses the grounds as they steep.
Another plus is that the do-you-have-to read-the-instructions factor is extremely low. There are markings on each of the parts for measurements. All you have to do is dump coarse coffee grounds up to the coffee bean symbol on the plastic top, add two carafes’ worth of water through the perforated lid (which, I’m told, evenly distributes the water over the grounds), brew the coffee for 12 to 24 hours on your counter or in your fridge, then stick the brewer on top of the carafe. The filtered coffee concentrate drains straight in.
It brews up to 24 ounces of cold brew concentrate at a time, which sounds like two sips, but this stuff is STRONG and not meant to be consumed straight. Dilute a little bit with water or milk (or mylk) when you want a refreshing mid-morning treat, and the rest of the brew will keep in the fridge for about a week. In my experience, it makes enough for about seven drinks.
Oh, and the cleanup? So easy. Each of the pieces comes apart for a quick rinse, and the carafe can nest inside the brewer for storage.
Great, you say, but how does it taste? Well, I’m planning on selling it out from my stoop like a lemonade stand for tired adults. Just kidding, but it’s pretty damn tasty: smooth, mellow and rich, thanks to the cold brewing method. (Iced coffee is brewed hot then cooled down, and it’s slightly more acidic.) I like to drink mine with whole milk and a splash of water to keep my head from spinning off. My barista hasn’t seen me in weeks.
Considering the whole shebang costs $30, you could make a week’s worth of cold brew and still spend less than if you visit the café every day. And if you use it all the time like I do, it’s basically paying you…or something like that.