Coffee is a bit like chess. The rules, such as they are, are deceptively simple, but with time and experience, all kinds of skill, nuance and finesse come into play. With coffee, you can get acceptable results out of an all-purpose grind and your standard Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker. With coffee plus experience (or with coffee plus some expensive gadgetry), you can get espresso, lattes, and other things that, as we speak, are probably only a gleam in a hipster’s eye.
That brings us, in circuitous fashion, to Oxo’s new cold brew coffee maker. Theoretically, cold brew coffee should be one of the simplest things on the planet to make. After all, the only things you need are cold water, ground coffee (preferably a medium grind), a container, a strainer or filter, and a sufficient quantity of time. The result is a tasty cup of coffee that’s typically less acidic than its hot-water counterpart. As typically happens, different gadgets have been introduced to improve upon that which wasn’t broken (personally, I can’t bring myself to make coffee in what looks like a discarded surgical mask).
The fact that the Cold Brew Coffee Maker comes from Oxo is actually something of a big deal. The company has deep experience improving the design of all kinds of kitchen gadgets to make them more user friendly, and their products are found in more kitchens than you can shake a whisk at. In other words, this is a sign that cold brewing, rather than being some kind of niche specialty, is pretty firmly ensconced in the mainstream. For some people, this could occasion wailing and gnashing of teeth. But as they tend to do with their kitchen gadgets, Oxo’s gotten cold brewing mostly right.
What’s Good About The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker:
The only things you’ll need to make a good batch of cold brew coffee is a filter (paper or metal), a sufficient quantity of your favorite ground beans and some cold water. The concentrate that results has a full-bodied taste that leaves out the oils and acids. Another advantage of cold brew is that it’s a great method for salvaging older or substandard beans; while we wouldn’t make a habit of it, we also don’t like wasting coffee. Cleaning and storage are simple as well.
What We Didn’t Like:
Plastic. This may be a personal bugaboo, but I’ve always preferred glass to plastic. Plastics stain. They break down. They retain the flavors of everything from oils to dish detergent. I’ve worked with other Oxo products, and while the plastics they use are better quality than most, I’d still rather have seen less of them in favor of glass (though I’m also aware that would’ve added significantly to the price).
Cold Brewer Design: The Toss Up:
Here’s where we put the design. Oxo has a habit of making things that have a touch of late-modern panache about them, and the Cold Brew Coffee Maker is no exception. It boasts thoughtful ergonomics and a thoughtful, intuitive, handsome design. However, its footprint — which we would charitably describe as “chunky” — isn’t that much different than a small electric drip coffee maker, so it’s hardly compact. If you have a one-butt kitchen where space is at a premium, you may be frustrated by the size.
In Conclusion: Is The Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker Worth It?
This isn’t the right tool for the job if you need a cup of coffee posthaste. It isn’t a perfect design. But it is a very good one, and if you’re willing to put up with a few small flaws, the Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a worthy addition to your coffee-making routine. It takes a little adjustment, but with patience, you’ll get results you can be happy with.