A $15 Pitcher Helped Me Master Cold Brew

·3 min read
Photo:  Josh Wussow
Photo: Josh Wussow

Look, I’m not a coffee expert. But I know my way around a Starbucks, and my moka pot skills are on point. Yet for the longest time, one of my favorite caffeine-delivery mediums gave me the fits: The deceptive and simple cold brew.

As with many things “coffee,” there are dozens of ways to achieve the finished product. I’ve tried mason jars, French presses, and other unitasker pitchers. But once the grounds settled, it wasn’t something expensive or fancy that finally brought café-level cold brew into my kitchen—it was the Hario ‘Mizudashi,’ a $15 marvel from Japan.

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Photo:  Josh Wussow
Photo: Josh Wussow

The (nearly) foolproof way to make cold brew at home

The trickiest part of cold brew, generally, is making sure your beans have the right grind. Too fine, and they’ll slip through the filter and into your morning glass. And if you’re buying your coffee pre-ground, you’re rolling the dice on the outcome. Other methods I’ve tried have been incredibly finicky on this point, resulting in whole batches getting poured down the drain.

Thankfully, my little 600ml Hario rolls with the punches. While I do have one of those fancy conical burr grinders (which, by the by, I highly recommend), the Mizudashi produces clean cold brew even with store-brand grounds.

In short, you’d have to expend some effort to screw this thing up. Load the filter between half and two-thirds of the way full, pour in some fresh water, and stick it in the fridge overnight. That’s it.

Precariously perched.
Precariously perched.

What makes this cold brew pitcher different

My previous cold brew maker was a single-quart model from Takeya, with just under 60,000 reviews on Amazon. And somehow, despite its cumulative 4.7/5 rating, I managed to be unimpressed. While I’m sure much of the fault lies in user error, there were a few design features that didn’t sit well. The filter specifically was a pain to clean, since there was no way for the grounds to pass through the bottom. I know that’s the point of the damn thing, but it took an extra minute or so to make sure everything was cleared from the mesh.

Photo:  Josh Wussow
Photo: Josh Wussow

No such issue with the Hario. The bottom of its filter twists off, allowing you to flush water straight through the assembly. This feature scored major points with me, cutting cleanup time in half. I’m also a fan of its glass pitcher, as opposed to the clear plastic of the Takeya.

French presses? They’re good for hot coffee, but debris always seemed to find its way through the mesh filter and into my cup. Mason jars have the allure of simplicity, but the filter process can be fiddly. While both of these have their devotees, I prefer the all-in-one approach of the Hario.

Brewing in progress.
Brewing in progress.

Plus, just look at it, sitting there, ready to do its thing. With its graceful curves and red accents, it’s so darned cute. And it helps that it makes the best coffee, brew after brew, of any cold method I’ve tried.