In the summer in New York City, iced coffee is virtually indispensable. There is no other way I can get through the sweltering maze of the city and navigate the furnace—like subway system than with a cool iced coffee in hand—oh, and that euphoric little caffeine buzz that comes with it doesn’t hurt either.
But let’s face it, it is not cheap! Iced coffee on average can cost upwards of 60 percent more than a regular cup. And if your habit includes multiple cups a day (raises hand), it can quickly add up to a small fortune. Hence, my discovery of an amazing little gizmo that has completely changed my life: a cold brew coffee maker.
First, let me back up. There are two kinds of iced coffee. One is just regular coffee that is poured over ice. How you make this is easy: brew a pot of coffee in a traditional coffee machine, pour it over ice…VOILA! The other is cold brew. Cold brew coffee is never heated. Instead, coffee grinds are merely steeped in water over time. This creates a coffee with much less acidity and a sweeter taste profile—virtually no bitterness, just pure natural flavor. Less acidity also means it’s easier on the stomach. And as it has a longer brew time, cold brew has more caffeine (which I’m totally okay with).
I did a lot of research before I bought a cold brew maker. In the end I decided to go with the Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker. It is the top selling one on Amazon and has an army of loyal boosters—and for good reason, I discovered.
The beauty of cold brew if that you don’t need anything really fancy to make it—just time. So it turns out the best machines are the simplest ones. The Takeya comes with just a few parts: a carafe, an infuser and an airtight lid. Some cold brew makers can seem a bit awkward (case in point). The Takeya is nicely designed, the carafe is BPA-free plastic, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking—glass carafes that break are a big complaint on Amazon. The lid on the Takeya has an airtight seal, another big plus as it seals in flavor. Not all cold brew makers have this feature.
The best part is how ridiculously easy it is to make coffee geek-quality coffee. Scoop in 14-16 cups of your favorite coarsely ground coffee into the infuser, add 32 ounces of cold filtered water to the pitcher, then lower in the infuser. Seal the lid and shake, then store it overnight in the refrigerator or up to 36 hours. You can improve taste by occasionally twisting open the infuser and giving it a little swirl. These little swirls seem to do wonders for flavor. When brewing time is complete, remove the infuser and you are all set with a few days worth of coffee that is rich in flavor yet subtly sweet and smooth, and completely refreshing!
But really, we're saving the best feature for last. At $24.05, the price of the Takeya is completely reasonable. I’ve calculated that I pay myself back in iced coffee in, oh, about two and half days.
I do have to admit I miss chatting with my neighborhood coffee barista a bit, but I’ll see her in the fall when latte season rolls around.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
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