Iced coffee season used to have a very clear demarcation: The day you swapped out your paper for plastic (cup) and your steamed milk for chilled. Usually this laid-back, low-fuss changeover coincides with the warming of the weather. But with the spread of high-octane and flavorful variants such as cold brew—coffee made through a process that involves steeping grounds in cold water—it’s easy to let the season last all year. Besides, as hot coffee has become more luxe, it’s about time iced coffee catch up. And if you craft your chilled coffee at home, with one of these seven handsome appliances, you no longer have to wonder if the barista just made your drink from yesterday’s hot stuff. We’d recommend switching to a reusable cup.
Yama Glass Drip Tower
The Yama Glass Drip Tower looks like a chemistry set because it uses precise techniques to deliver a scientifically superior glass of cold brew. Its brewing method results in a product that’s almost 70 percent less acidic than traditional espresso or hot-drip coffee, so it’s easier on your stomach. Made from hand-blown borosilicate glass and a spiral chamber, Yama’s pretty, 4-foot-tall rig is as dramatic as it is functional; it’s the preferred system of cafés around the world due to its consistency and level of control. To use, you first add coffee grounds to the middle beaker. Then add ice water to the top reservoir, which ensures the extraction temperature is kept optimally low. Last, set the machine’s mesmerizing drip frequency from 1 to 1.5 seconds, which determines how bold the brew will be. While the Rube Goldberg-like process does take at least four hours to fully complete, the bulbous decanter that fills with potent brew at the end of the line can be covered and stored in the fridge for fresh, full-bodied coffee up to two weeks later.
Tom Dixon Brew Cafetiere
A good French press can pull double-duty as a cold-brew coffee maker. The concept is the same: Add course coffee grounds and water to the glass pot, let them steep and then filter them out with the plunger. The only difference is that to make cold brew, you add room temperature or cold water instead of hot, and leave the grounds to steep for eight hours instead of four minutes. The key is using time instead of heat to leach out the coffee’s natural oils and complex fruity, floral and chocolate notes. Tom Dixon’s Brew Cafetiere is so sleek you won’t mind leaving it out on your counter for an afternoon. The art deco-inspired pot is double-walled and brushed with stainless steel on the inside and finished with high-shine copper on the outside. Consider it a centerpiece and a conversation piece.
Elemental Beverage Snapchiller
You don’t always have time to geek out over a glass of coffee. Physics and thermodynamics at 5 a.m.? Who needs it. That’s where Elemental Beverage Co.’s Snapchiller comes in. You prepare your favorite hot coffee as normal and then pour it into this countertop machine, which will chill it down nearly instantly at a rate of 12 ounces per minute. Because the sleek machine doesn’t employ ice or chemicals for this process (it harnesses the power of refrigerant in a stainless steel evaporator coil), your drink doesn’t end up diluted, oxidized or full of additives. You get a pure, flavor-forward cup that can be optimized to whatever precise temperature you’d prefer, from 50 degrees to below freezing. The gadget can also be used on other beverages such as tea and cocktails and is currently available for pre-order.
Tried-and-true Nespresso machines are now optimized for iced coffee. Its VertuoPlus line of colorful countertop coffee makers adjust to make room for larger, ice-filled cups and the brand’s concentrated Over Ice capsules are specifically designed to taste best cold, over ice. The capsules come in a fruity and light variety—better for gentle iced beverages like a Long Black made with sparkling water—and a more robust blend that stands up to milky beverages like an icy Flat White. And they still produce the brand’s signature crema without having to deal with the mess and fuss of loose espresso grounds.
De’Longhi Dinamica TrueBrew Over Ice
Sure, you could just pour hot coffee over ice and call it a day. But that’d be like boiling your whiskey before adding it to your rocks. Gradual dilution amplifies subtleties in your drink, as opposed to all-at-once melting, which just washes out all of your beverage’s integrity. De’Longhi’s Dinamica automatic coffee and espresso machine with TrueBrew spurts coffee out over a cup of ice, but doesn’t water it down. Instead, this bean-to-cup machine brews at a super low temperature. It’s still able to extract the coffee’s taste by pre-infusing or saturating the grinds with water before brewing. A built-in steel burr grinder allows you to control the strength depending on how coarse you grind the beans; you can select one of 13 levels. And the machine comes with an adorable ice cube tray that’s shaped like a coffee bean.
Chemex Ottomatic 2.0
Pour-over is a popular method for preparing smooth coffee devoid of sediments and bitter elements, but the process is time- and attention-consuming. You top a glass with a funnel, filter and grounds, and then slowly and methodically drizzle hot water into the set-up until you end up with enough coffee to consider a cup. One of the most beloved brands of decanters is the Chemex, and its Ottomatic line combines the beauty of manual pour-over devices with the automation of I-need-to-be-somewhere-in-the-next-three-hours coffee machines. The Ottomatic 2.0 starts at the push of a button and allows you to deactivate the hot plate to make iced coffee. You are still in charge of assembling the filter and the coffee grounds. But the machine manages pre-infusion and contact time of water to coffee. Its spray head mimics the steady stream of water characteristic of the pour-over method. And your low-temp end product lives in Chemex’s same trademark carafe wrapped in a wooded collar and rawhide.
Bi.du.haev Cold Brew Coffee Dripper
Brewing coffee cold, without allowing it to come into contact with heated water, has been done in Japan for centuries. This method—allowing room temperature or cold water to drip through coffee grounds over the course of hours—extracts and amplifies notes and aromas that can’t be experienced when the grounds are scorched with boiling hot water. In fact, cold-brew has an entirely different chemical profile than traditionally brewed coffee, even though it starts from the same beans. Taiwanese company bi.du.haev builds a minimalist Cold Brew Coffee Dripper that looks as sophisticated as its process is. And unlike other devices, this cylindrical, all-glass dripper is air tight. This prevents unwanted elements from creeping into the system, such as wind and bugs, which destroy the purity of the beverage that has been perfected over hundreds of years.