Essential Tools

The Simple Cold-Brew Maker That Changed My Entire Morning Routine

And it takes less than five minutes to use.

by:
October 15, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

Just like how soccer is life for Dani Rojas in Ted Lasso, cold brew is life for me. It’s what I look forward to every morning when it’s warm outside and the sun is shining, but also when there’s a blizzard and I can’t see my porch through all the snow. It’s my go-to drink for any time, any place—at brunch, a mid-afternoon break, or just running errands on the weekend. My love for cold brew knows no bounds and no seasons.

Back when I left my house more regularly, I would grab an iced coffee on the way to work, even if it meant being late to a morning meeting (sorry, folks!). Stopping by the coffee shop was the little breather I needed, sandwiched between a crowded commute and a busy day—a routine that was just for myself.

Slowly and sadly, I realized that my routine was more about paying for overpriced coffee-flavored water than getting a good cup. I still enjoyed my morning break, but after too many cups of diluted “coffee,” I knew it was a habit I needed to change.

I eventually started making my own cold brew at home. It’s my preferred type of coffee: one that doesn’t get watered down because of how it’s brewed. Instead of using hot water, you steep grounds in cold water and over a long period of time in the fridge—usually overnight. The next morning, you’ve got a smooth, chilled drink that’s ready for milk, creamer, syrup, ice, or nothing at all—which is how I take my coffee.

In my search for a cold-brew maker, I needed something affordable, easy to use, and convenient. Things like espresso machines and pour overs didn’t quite fit the bill—the former too expensive (ya girl can dream though) and the latter too slow for my morning routine.

Photo by Takeya

Enter the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, a unicorn of a coffee maker that costs less than $25 (and goes on sale often), is easy to use, and makes smooth cold brew with the least amount of effort.

If the Takeya came with instructions, I wouldn't have read it because it’s super intuitive to use. You just fill the mesh filter with coarsely ground coffee, secure it to the lid, add water to the pitcher, and then screw on the lid. Give the pitcher a good shake to make sure the grounds are thoroughly steeped, and then pop it into the fridge overnight. It takes less than five minutes, and all of the brewing happens when you’re asleep (or revenge-scrolling through TikTok).

I make a fresh batch most nights for a smooth cold brew the next morning, and if I’m feeling ambitious on the weekends, I’ll get a head start and make two for the week ahead so I can snooze a bit longer. The one-quart version has served me well the last three years and the durable BPA-free plastic pitcher has yet to give out. If and when it does, I’ll probably get the larger two-quart version so I can make even more cold brew.

Photo by Takeya

Now, I’m not a math person, but I’d estimate that this nifty $25 cold-brew maker has saved me hundreds of dollars on buying coffee over the years. Skipping out on coffee hasn’t helped me save enough money to pay off my student loans or mortgage, but it has helped me realize I was spending money on something I could make at home—and better, too. More importantly, it’s given me a sense of routine that got lost during the pandemic, even if it’s just a little one.

Instead of stopping by a coffee shop, waiting in a long line behind frustrated customers, and mindlessly ordering a diluted drink, I pour myself a cup of cold brew and just stand on the deck, taking in the morning air and running through my to-do list for the day. It only takes a few minutes (since I’m a snoozer), but that’s all the break I need to get focused for the day. The lack of a commute helps, too.

But best of all, I can drink cold brew all year round even if I haven’t gone to the office or seen friends at brunch for almost two years.

What’s your favorite morning routine? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.

9 Comments

Elizabeth P. October 21, 2021
I have a similar cold-brew system by County Line. It's a simple 2-quart canning jar fitted with a stainless steel filter and a lid designed for pouring. It's not as fancy looking, but I do prefer glass and stainless over plastic. Other than that, I'm sure the coffee is comparable. Delicious!!! (And I don't even like iced coffee, I heat mine up every morning.)
 
Author Comment
Jada W. October 22, 2021
Haha, love that you heat your cold brew up!
 
FoodFreak October 21, 2021
I have never understood why people think they need to buy new equipment for cold brew. I steep coarsely ground coffee in an old wide mouth pitcher (covered with a pot lid) and when it’s ready, I filter it through a plastic Mellita cone and paper filter that I keep around for the times the electric coffee maker dies on me. I used to use the Mellita glass carafe but it broke and now I use the carafe from another dead coffeemaker. I am guessing that I am not the only one who has accumulated a lot of coffee paraphernalia over the years. It was nice to find a use for it.
 
Author Comment
Jada W. October 22, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your comment! I wish I had enough time and patience to filter the cold brew when it's ready. Glad you're finding good use with all of your coffee gadgets, definitely on board with reusing what you have!
 
witloof October 17, 2021
I brew mine in the French press I use all winter. I start it the morning before and then it's ready the next morning. No need to buy a separate device.
 
Author Comment
Jada W. October 18, 2021
Nice hack! Do you put yours in the fridge while it's brewing?
 
witloof October 18, 2021
Yes, then it's nice and cold. I use the same amount of coffee and let it steep 24 hours.
 
Matt October 16, 2021
I won't lie...I love mine.
 
Author Comment
Jada W. October 18, 2021
No lies detected!