Glass slow drip cold brew towers are one of the most intriguing sights in the coffee world. They are mesmerizing, beautiful, and a little bit intimidating at first glance.


But don’t let the mystery of slow drip scare you. Underneath all that glass is a deceptively simple process. This article’s goal is to shatter your hesitations about slow drip cold brew and teach you how to make it at home.

We talked with coffee professionals and enthusiasts around the world to help us understand slow drip cold brew. In total, over 150 members of the coffee community shared their insights. They gave us the pros and cons about slow drip cold brew, how it compares to other cold brew methods like immersion and Japanese iced, and equipment recommendations for beginners.

On top of that, we have recipes, coffee recommendations, and tips so you can get started making slow drip cold brew immediately.

In this article, you will find:

I. Benefits

II. Drawbacks

III. Equipment

IV. Recipes

V. Coffee



Benefits of Slow Drip Cold Brew


Slow Drip Cold Brew is very different from other cold brewing methods like Immersion and Japanese Iced Coffee. While not as popular as the other two methods, its unique style and taste make it a favorite of many enthusiasts and professionals.

Great for experimenting with a wider range of flavors

If you like to tinker with the finest details of coffee brewing, then you will love slow drip. You can then adjust the brewing process down to the drip, allowing you to extract the exact flavor you're looking for. Some of the coffee professionals and enthusiasts in the community believe slow drip gives a truer taste of the coffee bean.

Visually appealing

Slow drip cold brew makers are normally made of clear glass to allow easy observation of the slow drip process. This glass structure gives these brewers a strong visual appeal and always make great conversation starters.


Ideal for making light, bright, flavorful cold brew

The slow drip method doesn’t muddle the flavors of the coffee like Immersion cold brew, which steeps coffee grounds in all of the water overnight. The consistent slow drip brewing process better captures the nuances of flavor and makes this method ideal for making light, bright, flavorful cold brew.

“The clarity and delicate notes of this method are impossible to re-create with the full immersion method. This is best for single origin coffees, and it is highly customizable based on the flavor dynamics of the selected origin.” 

-Branch Street Coffee Roasters, Youngstown USA

“Really good (balanced, strong but not bitter) result. Impressive display for the coffee tastings I hold for friends and charity auctions.” 

-Paul Pinson, Avid Amateur Coffee Roaster, Brewer, Consumer

Cold Bruer Experimenting with Steep Time


Drawbacks of Slow Drip


Slow drip isn’t always the answer to your cold brew needs. Here are a few of the drawbacks of slow drip brewing.


There is More to Manage

It is not a true “set it and forget it” process. Instead of sticking coffee and water into a container, slow drip also requires that you set the proper drip rate, which can change over the course of brewing as water empties from the top vessel, requiring you to periodically readjust the drip rate if you are trying to keep it consistent throughout the brewing process.

Devices Can Be Pricey

Unless you want to build a homemade tower out of water bottles (which we show how to do in the recipes section below), you will to have to buy a dedicated slow drip cold brew maker, which can get a bit pricey.

Brewing Takes Most of the Day

Slow drip doesn’t take quite as long as immersion cold brew, but it still takes most of the day- anywhere from 6-12 hours. It also requires some planning if you want to keep the drip rate from slowing down too much towards the end.


Fragile equipment

Most slow drip cold brew coffee makers are made almost entirely of glass. This makes them rather fragile compared to plastic immersion buckets.



Choosing the Right Equipment
Glass Cold Brew Towers at Barista Parlor in Nashville, TN


Yama glass towers

Yama is the most popular brand of glass tower you see at coffee shops, but they are also popular for home use as well. 


Pros of Yama Tower


Visually stunning

“Beautiful process, great as a showpiece. Begs to be explained in conversations with customers (so much opportunity for customer engagement!). Distinctive and unique product.” 

-Mick Evans, One Line Coffee, Columbus, OH

Produces bright, clean cup of coffee

“Flavors are very clean that really emphasizes any floral or fruity notes. The slow drip method just brews a super clean cup of cold brew.” 

-Chad, Portland, OR


Cons of Yama Tower


Price

Yama towers run in the range of $250 to $500 for a unit that creates 48-64 ounces of concentrate.

Fragile

The Yama is made entirely of glass.  You can buy individual replacement pieces, but it’s an expensive replacement if the whole thing comes crashing down

Cold Bruer


Cold Bruer is a slow drip cold brew device designed for the home. It takes the functionality of a Yama drip tower and condenses it into a device that is shorter than a blender.


Pros of Cold Bruer

Compact

Cold Bruer is just a foot tall and perfect for your counter. The container at the bottom fits easily in a fridge for storage after brewing.

Price

Cold Bruer is a steal compared to Yama towers. You can get them on Amazon for about $80.

Clean, bright flavor

Cold Bruer creates very similar tasting coffee to the Yama tower. Flavors are very clear and distinct, and the acidity from brighter coffees shines through well.


Cons of Cold Bruer

Fragile

Like the Yama tower, Cold Bruer is made almost entirely of glass and will definitely break if dropped.


Hard to dial in drip rate

The deeper you get into the brew cycle, the slower the drip rate becomes, which can lead to over-extraction if not planned for. It’s best to keep an eye of the Cold Bruer throughout the day to make sure the drip rate stays consistent.

Nispira Ice Cold Brew Dripper


Pros of Nispira


Visually stunning

The stainless steel frame and glass containers make it a beautiful piece for the kitchen.


Compact

Nispira is just 14.5 inches tall, barely taller than the Cold Bruer and about 3 feet shorter than a Yama tower.

Price

At just $90, the Nispiro is perfect if you like the aesthetic of the Yama tower but don’t want to spend the dough.

Cons of Nispira


Fewer customer reviews

There is not as much consumer feedback for Nispira as there is for the Cold Bruer and Yama Tower. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth considering. 


Of the 22 reviews it has on Amazon, however, Nispiro has a solid 4 stars.


Fragile

Like the other slow drippers so far, Nispira is made of glass and will definitely break if dropped.

Dripo cold brewer


The Dripo is another newcomer to the slow drip scene but has been receiving rave reviews. It trades customization and volume for simplicity, durability and price.


Pros

Simplicity

Dripo gets as close to “set it and forget it” as slow drippers come. There is no adjustable drip rate; it will simply drip at 45-drips-per-minute as soon as it is filled with water.

Durable

Dripo is made of BPA plastic and won’t break if dropped. Game changing innovation in the world of slow drip cold brew makers!


Portable

The catcher at the bottom of Dripo comes with a screw-on cap, turning the device into a tumbler for cold brew to-go.


Best price

Dripo is on Amazon for just $30. This is by far the cheapest, high quality slow drip brewer on the market.

Cons


Less customization

Since there’s no dial to change the drip rate, there is less opportunity to customize the brewing process.


Less volume

Dripo finishes brewing in just 2-3 hours, but that’s because it only makes about 10-12 ounces at a time. You’re essentially make one serving per batch.


A Good Grind is The Key To Better Coffee

Brewing great coffee demands a consistent grind, no matter which brewing method you use. Handground was created by a community of thousands of coffee enthusiasts to make it easy to achieve a consistent grind for any brew method.

Click here to learn more about Handground

Slow Drip Cold Brew Recipes
Bottled Slow Drip Cold Brew from One Line Coffee

We collected recipes from the coffee community so you can start experimenting with your next batch of cold brew.

There are a lot of variables at play with slow drip coffee, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for customization. We suggest starting with one of the recipes you find here and then adjusting based on your taste preferences.

Each cold brew drip brewer has its own recipe, but there are some common guidelines to remember for any cold brew drip method:

Adjust the drip rate throughout the process

“This method requires adjustment of the drip rate during brewing. You must check at least every 1-2 hours.” 

-Dave Forman, Director of Coffee, One Line Coffee


Bloom and saturate the grounds

“Use a kettle to pour water slowly to bloom the coffee for about a minute. This should be just enough water to saturate all the grounds without starting the dripping process and enough time so the coffee doesn't bloom out of the separatory funnel.” 

-Phil Cook, Springfield, MO

Yama Tower Recipes

Cold Brew Towers in the window of Cafe Demitasse

We received a lot of great advice and recipes for the Yama tower. We’re going to share a few of the most interesting recipes, but we also developed a “collective” recipe for the Yama tower.

This average recipe does more than just make an “average” cup of coffee. We got the idea from a book called The Wisdom of Crowd, where the main idea is that groups collectively make better decisions than individuals (under the right circumstances). When we’ve tried this collective recipe with French Press and Immersion Cold Brew, the results were stunning.

The Collective Recipe is a great all-around recipe to get you started with Slow Drip Coffee.

1. Collective Recipe:


Coffee: 229 grams (8 ounces)

Grind: Setting 4.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 2658 grams (93 ounces)

Water-to-coffee ratio: 11.5:1

Steep time: 11 hours 48 minutes

Drip rate: 1 drip every 1.5 seconds

  1. Insert permanent ceramic filter at bottom of coffee cylinder.
  2. Place ground coffee in cylinder, and shake or tap to level the grounds. Place filter on top of grounds.
  3. Load ice/water vessel (up top) with ice and water mixture.
  4. Place on top of tower and ensure your glassware is all present, clean, and positioned correctly (aerator must be straight up and down, bottom carafe aligned to catch drip, etc.).
  5. Saturate the surface and perimeter of the coffee bed with approximately 200 ml of water, ensuring entire perimeter is wetted and you can see damp grounds the whole way as you rotate the cylinder.
  6. Set drip rate to 40 drops/min (1 every 1.5 seconds). Monitor and adjust (maintain) drip rate if necessary (every 90 minutes).

Note: This method was adopted from the One Line Coffee Recipe below

2. Cold Brew Concentrate Recipe


“This recipe creates a very thick concentrate. I drink this brew recipe slowly as if it's a scotch on the rocks in a snifter glass. Adding ice will gradually dilute the brew concentration and the beverage taste will change from thick & syrupy to light & sweet - all in the same cup! It's incredible.”  

-Phil Cook Springfield, Missouri

Coffee: 100 grams

Grind: Setting 8 on Handground (coarse)

Water: 1000 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 10:1

Steep time: 6 hours

Drip rate: 1 drip every 1.5 seconds

  1. Grind 100 grams of coffee on the #8 setting and add it to the separatory funnel containing the porcelain disk.
  2. Add 900 grams of cold or iced water into the top glass. Add 100 grams cold water into a pour kettle.
  3. Use the pour kettle water to slowly bloom the coffee for about a minute
  4. Place a paper filter on top of the now bloomed grounds (I typically use an Aeropress filter - more economical). Open the stop valve to allow for about 30 drips per minute.
  5. As the brew progresses I'll typically slow down the drip to about 20 drips per minute.

3. Go-To Recipe from Dave Forman, One Line Coffee

Coffee: 280 grams (10 ounces)

Grind size: Setting 4 on Handground (medium)

Water: 4000 grams (141 ounces)

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 14:1

Steep time: 16 hours

Drip rate: 1 drip every 1.5 seconds

  1. Insert permanent ceramic filter at bottom of coffee cylinder.
  2. Place 280 grams ground coffee in cylinder, and shake or tap to level the grounds. Place Brew-Rite disc filter on top of grounds.
  3. Load ice/water vessel (up top) with 3000 ml ice, add water to 2000 ml. Shake vessel and drain excess water, ensuring only 2000 ml of water with as much ice as possible (touching bottom of vessel, reaching surface but with minimal "iceberg" peaks).
  4. Place on top of tower and ensure your glassware is all present, clean, and positioned correctly (aerator must be straight up and down, bottom carafe aligned to catch drip, etc.).
  5. Saturate the surface and perimeter of the coffee bed with approximately 200 ml of water, ensuring entire perimeter is wetted and you can see damp grounds the whole way as you rotate the cylinder.
  6. Set drip rate to 40 drops/min (1 every 1.5 seconds). Monitor and adjust (maintain) drip rate if necessary (every 90 minutes).
  7. After 6-8 hours and/or when the first 2000 ml of water has dripped, reload similarly with another 2000 ml. Set drip rate to 40/min. Yields approximately 3600 ml of brew.

Cold Bruer Recipe

Cold Bruer setup by Pablo Noel

We didn’t have enough submissions to create a Collective Recipe for the Cold Bruer, but this recipe from “Dr. Bob” is pretty great.

Coffee: 60 grams

Grind: Setting 4 on Handground (medium)

Water: 700 grams

Water-to-Coffee ratio: 11.5:1

Drip rate: 1 drip per second

Steep time: 8 hours

  1. Pour coffee into funnel. Level the surface by shaking gently.
  2. Place two pre-washed paper discs on top. Place in base container and dribble water until the grounds are wet. Keep the discs level.   
  3. Place the drip valve in position and add fresh ice water to within a half inch of the top. Do not use distilled or ionized water as the coffee will taste flat.
  4. Adjust the drip to one per second or slightly slower. Keep the ice either by putting the brewer on the fridge or by adding modest amounts of ice.
  5. Allow to drip through and enjoy.

Dripo Recipe

We didn't have enough recipes from Dripo users to create a collective recipe, but here is a great one from Shloto in Brisbane: 

Coffee: 27.5 grams

Grind: Setting 4.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 360 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 13:1

Drip rate: 1 drip per second

  1. Pour fresh grounds into the catcher
  2. Add a muslin sheet or section of coffee filter on top of grounds to disperse water evenly,
  3. Add ice in the water compartment and top up with charcoal filtered water.
  4. Adjust tightness of top section to adjust drip rate.

Recipe from Sholto McNeilage, WhiskyBravoFoxtrot, Brisbane.




DIY Slow Drip Cold Brew Maker
DIY Slow Drip Cold Brew Tower from Uel Zing Cold Brew Company


Are you a DIYer through and through? Then check out this homemade slow drip cold brew maker by the team at Uel Zing Cold Brew in Bloomington, Indiana.

You can make this slow drip cold brew maker at home with a water bottle and Aeropress. Follow these steps:

  1. Cut off the bottom of the water bottle so that it makes a funnel. Leave as much of the bottle as possible because this will be our water reservoir for the drip tower.
  2. Use the thumbtack to create a very small hole in the middle of the lid. Fill up the water bottle and check the drip rate. Drops should fall anywhere between 1 every second and every 3 seconds
  3. Place a paper filter in the filter cap and screw the cap onto the body. Wet the filter, then add the ground coffee (use a grind that is a little more fine the pour over)
  4. Take a second paper Aeropress filter and  place it on top of the grounds inside the Aeropress. Wet the filter and the grounds below so that all the grounds are saturated.
  5. Place the water bottle upside down inside the brewing chamber and fill with water. Place the device onto a vessel.
  6. Total brew time is between 2-3 hours.




Coffee Recommendations
Photo by Pablo Noel

Slow drip method tends to bring out to the more delicate flavors of a coffee. Coffees that are lighter and brighter do very well as slow drip cold brew and are preferred overall by our community of coffee pros and enthusiasts.

Unlike the immersion method, where just 23% of people said they preferred a light roasted coffee, more than 60% of slow drip cold brew makers said they prefer light roasted coffee with bright acidity.


Orange-like Citrus

“African coffees and ones with orange-like citrus seem to work best. Rwanda has been a winner every time with this recipe.”
-Phil Cool, Springfield, MO

Natural African and Delicate Central American Coffees

“The more acidic and nuanced coffees are where this method really shines. Think natural African, or delicate washed Central American coffees.”
-Branch Street Coffee Roasters, Youngstown USA

Toasty Dark Roast

“I use quite a dark roast as I enjoy those more toasted flavours but have had great success with lighter and more fragrant blends too.”
-Sholto McNeilage, WhiskyBravoFoxtrot, Brisbane




Cold Brew Coffee Series


The coffee community is full of passionate professionals and enthusiasts who love to share their advice on brewing better coffee. More than 150 of them responded to our questions about cold brew coffee, so we had to split up the information into 4 separate articles.

If you missed the Introduction to our Cold Brew Series, you can start here:

The Beginner's Guide to Cold Brew Coffee: Recipes and Tips from Pros


If you want to explore the other methods of brewing cold brew, check out these articles on Immersion and Japanese Iced Coffee:


The Beginner's Guide to Immersion Cold Brew Coffee


The Complete Guide to Japanese Iced Coffee