For cold brew lovers looking for a straightforward setup that occupies minimal space, the under-$20 range provides a variety of cylinder-shaped, pitcher-style numbers that require little effort to use and maintain. Our favorite? The tall and sleek Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot, available in three colors. Made in Japan from durable, heatproof glass, the Mizudashi is about a foot tall and fits in most fridge doors or bottom shelves without taking up a ton of square footage. And with a 4.5-star rating on Amazon after about 1,900 reviews, this maker has earned respect from coffee aficionados and amateurs alike in spite of its low price.
If you’ve spent any time at specialty coffeehouses, you know Hario. The Japanese glass company is responsible for some of the most dependable pourover coffee gear on the market, including the super popular Hario V60 Ceramic Dripper and Hario Buono Gooseneck Kettle. But as fancy as all that stuff may look, Hario coffee accessories are actually surprisingly affordable, and the Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot is no exception.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Mizudashi is that the directions are in Japanese. Don’t worry about that. Making cold brew coffee is an intuitive process, we promise. You steep ground coffee in room-temperature water for 12 to 24 hours to make a concentrate that can be cut with water (or milk, if you’re feeling saucy) and served over ice. It’s honestly that simple! The result is a sweeter, less acidic cuppa cold joe (more on that later).
Now, you could get scientific about the ratio of coffee to water. Just ask San Francisco’s Ritual Coffee Roasters, which recommends 115 grams of ground coffee to one liter (1,000 grams) of cold water. The truth is, everyone has their own guidelines. Coffee nerds will say the water-to-coffee ratio is important for consistency’s sake — and they’re not wrong — but you could as easily just fill the nylon mesh basket with coarsely ground coffee and pour cold water over it until the carafe is full. Luckily, the Mizudashi is designed to be foolproof: fill everything up nearly to the top and you’re good to go!
After a minimum 12-hours of steep time, cleanup is as easy as lifting the filter basket out of the carafe. What you’re left with in the carafe is cold brew concentrate that you can either dilute with water or serve over ice, depending on how strong you like your coffee. You’ll want to start with equal parts concentrate and water, then tweak from there. And generally speaking, we love the carafe-style maker because it can quickly become a serving vessel you can take from the fridge to the table.
When compared to our runner-up in the $ category, the Takeya Cold Brew Maker, which costs several dollars more, the Mizudashi gives you more than 50ml in additional capacity and a better-tasting brew to boot, with notes of chocolate that didn’t come out in the Takeya, although we used the same kind of coffee in all of our tests (shoutout to Trader Joe’s Colombia Supremo medium roast).
It’s worth noting that all the lower-priced cold brew makers we tested made weaker concentrate than those in our $$ and $$$ categories, to the point where some coffee drinkers might prefer their concentrate cut with less water. It’s safe to say that brews from the higher-priced categories invariably taste better, with more depth and complexity of flavors. That’s not to say the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot is a slacker — far from it. But if you’ve got a little more room in the budget and you’re particularly fussy about your brew, it’s definitely worth considering our $$ and $$$ picks.