- Brew Quality (50%)7.8/10
- Design (15%)9.6/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Brew Quality (50%)7.2/10
- Design (15%)8.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
The County Line Kitchen and Coffee Bear cold brew coffee makers can easily fit in your refrigerator door. They are, however, quite different in their design and the quality of the brew they produce.
The County Line Kitchen is by far the better brewer. It uses a brew ratio of 1:9 and the quality and strength of the brew are comparatively good. The brew (ratio 1:13) produced by the Coffee Bear tends to be a little below average. This difference is also due to the County Line Kitchen’s better-designed filter.
The Coffee Bear is a glass jug brewer with a plastic and nylon filter. It has a nicely designed twist-to-pour lid, but unlike the County Line Kitchen mason jar brewers, it cannot store on its side after brewing. The Country Line Kitchen is also all the more versatile because its stainless steel mesh filter can also be used for hot beverage brewing.
- Bouquet (10%)7.5/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.0/10
- Sediment (20%)7.0/10
- Bouquet (10%)7.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)7.0/10
- Sediment (20%)8.0/10
The County Line Kitchen mason jar brewer produced, at a best, a medium-strength bouquet. We detected a slight nuttiness as well as more subtle sweet notes. The results were not as good as we had hoped for, but promising nonetheless.
The Coffee Bear produced a somewhat medium-strength bouquet. It had a slight roasted note and a hint of woodiness. It had none of the complexity that you would get from a brewer that makes a real cold brew concentrate.
We diluted the concentrate with one part coffee to one part filtered water. It had a dominant roasted flavor, but with a slight sweet aftertaste. The drink lacked nutty and fruity flavors that our top brewers were more successful at producing. Although smooth to drink, it lacked body and was not as satisfying as a cold brew can be.
The Coffee Bear brew was reasonable. It was of medium strength and we felt it was best to drink undiluted. There was a slight sweetness to the aftertaste, but overall it was not so full-bodied. There was little discernible difference between this brew and that of the almost identical product, the Coffee Gator.
We brewed according to the County Line Kitchen manual’s instructions. This means we did not shake the vessel before putting it in the refrigerator. After allowing the brew to settle and then decanting, we were surprised to see a relatively significant amount of sediment.
The filter is a rough mesh rather than a laser-cut stainless steel filter as seen in other types of brewers. Although this brewer did better than average in producing a sweeter brew, we suggest additional decanting to remove excess sediment. Either that, or run the coffee through a paper filter.
After allowing the brew to settle and decanting a second time, there was a moderate amount of fine sediment left behind. This was in line with the quality and design of the brewer, but you may want to decant the brew a second time yourself for a smoother drink.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)10/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)8.5/10
In the Box
- Box WHD: 8.3 x 4.5 in x 6.3 inches
- Assembled unit
- Warranty card
- User brochure manual
The County Line Kitchen 1-quart cold brew coffee maker comes in a really neat box. There’s no superfluous packaging and zero disposable plastics. The brewer comes fully assembled and the brochure outlines six easy steps to brewing and three suggested serving recipes. The warranty card directs you to their website to register your product, after which they provide a sales support email. There’s no QR code, so you have to do it the old-fashioned way.
- Box WDH: 6.7 x 4.7 x 9.2 inches
- Assembled glass brewer
- Instruction leaflet in Brewer
- Product message card
Coffee Bear is a good-looking cold brew coffee maker. We liked its handy size and solid design. The design, as well as the box packaging, is almost identical to Coffee Gator. There are no other extras in the package except the brew guide and care manual all on one leaflet. The greeting card by ‘the founders’ seemed a little contrived.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:7.7 in (195 mm)
- Base Diameter:3.5 in (90 mm)
- Width:6.3 (160 mm)
- Weight:17.0 oz (482 g)
The brew decanter is just as robust as any mason jar. The inner lid has a silicone gasket for a perfect seal. A handy notch lets you easily pluck the gasket out for cleaning. When sealed, even if you shake the jar around, no liquid spills and the flip cap stays secure too.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:10 in (255 mm)
- Base Diameter:3.9 in (100 mm)
- Width:6.7 in (170 mm)
- Weight:30.0 oz (850 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass, silicone
The brew decanter is quite solid and appears well-made. The silicone base, although non-slip, was not the most perfectly level. On careful examination, the Coffee Bear carafe, without the silicone base, is slightly shorter than the Coffee Gator.
Stopper / Lid
- Diameter:6 in incl.handle (150 mm)
- Material:polypropylene plastic
- Additional Features:silicone gasket
The lid of the County Line consists of three parts. The handle is molded onto the crew-top lid. The handle is easy to grip with an inner thumb groove. To pour the liquid, you simply clip the flip-lid open which also detaches for easy cleaning. Inside the lid is also a gasket for airtight sealing. Although the handle is convenient, you can also opt for a simple screw top without a handle for a more compact option.
- Diameter:4.3 in (110 mm)
- Material:BPA-free plastic
- Additional Features:2 white silicone gaskets
The screw-on plastic rim and lid are a very practical design. There are two silicone gaskets, but in comparison, it doesn’t screw on as easily as the Coffee Gator’s. The handle is likewise somewhat small and uncomfortable to grip.
- Length:5.5 in (140 mm)
- Diameter:3.2 in (82 mm)
- Material:stainless steel
- Additional Features:silicone seal
Compared to other stainless steel filters we’ve examined, the County Line Kitchen’s looks and feels heavier. It matches the sturdy solidity of the mason jar and adds to its old-fashioned country feel. Although a fair bit of sediment is produced, our tests revealed that the brew produced is relatively good quality.
- Length:7.5 in (190 mm)
- Diameter:2.5 in (65 mm)
- Material:Black plastic, nylon mesh
- Additional Features:Detachable base
The detachable base of the filter is not unique since we’ve encountered this design before. One drawback is it takes time to drain out all the liquid. Furthermore, a permeable base could possibly help in developing a better brew quality. We were eager to see what our test results would bring.
It’s difficult not to like the design of the County Line Kitchen cold brew coffee maker. If you like the solid practicality of a mason jar, it fits the bill. The part count is minimal and all components fit well. We also appreciate the option of buying a lid with or without a handle.
Overall we were satisfied with the build quality. The silicone base, however, seemed less than the best. Compared to the almost identical Coffee Gator, the thread quality of the lid seemed not as good nor the filter assembly as smooth. Zoopolitics aside, we felt that the build quality of the Coffee Bear was not quite up to that of the contending Coffee Gator. Not a lion’s roar of a difference, but Coffee Bear also has fewer value-added extras.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)10/10
- Decanting (35%)8.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
- Brewing (45%)8.5/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
Brewing follows six easy steps. Simply load the filter with coffee grounds — one cup per quart (reaching about one inch from the top) — and place the filter in the jar. Then, you slowly add water until the grounds are completely covered and the water level nears the top of the filter.
Allow to stand for a few minutes while the water makes its way through the grounds. Top up with water as needed, screw on the lid, and place in the fridge to brew. We found this process completely effortless with no need for weighing or measuring.
Brewing was a simple process of attaching the filter to the ring neck and then pouring in the grounds. The recommended amount of grounds is 95 g (3.3 oz) which is just below the mesh line.
You can pour in the grounds, but the last few inches may require a spoon. We used the silicon funnel and stainless steel measuring spoon from the similar Coffee Gator brewer. It was a lot easier but the Coffee Bear does not come with these useful little extras.
We also found that for a small refrigerator, we had to remove the silicone base for the Coffee Bear to fit in the door. Furthermore, the base is cumbersome to reattach especially if the carafe is full.
We found the screwable cap may require a little force to remove depending on how tightly you put it on. The filter, though, is easy to grip and remove without any grounds dropping into the vessel. Like similar long-funnel filters, you can always place it in a cup to catch the last few drops. It’s best to rinse the lid of any grounds before replacing and putting the finished brew in your fridge. Because of the amount of sediment produced, we recommend recanting for a second time once the brew has been allowed to settle.
We experienced no issues with decanting. After slowly removing the neck ring, we checked the filter and it was still securely attached. It’s best to detach the filter immediately and leave the remaining liquid to drain into another container. We rinsed the neck ring, resealed the carafe, and refrigerated again. Our next step was to do our brew score testing for bouquet, drinkability, and sediment.
Cleaning and Storage
For deep cleaning, you need to remove the flip cap and the lid’s inner gasket. The silicone ring seal for the filter simply slides off. The filter rinses out easily and you can use a gentle bottle brush if you wish. We found the small 1-quart jar a little narrow for hand cleaning, so we used a bottle brush there too.
All parts are dishwasher friendly, but it’s probably better to just rinse off the silicone filter seal and lid gasket. You’ll periodically need to soak the filter in a mixture of water and baking soda, vinegar, or citric acid to unclog coffee oils and remove odors.
After brewing, you will need a small space to store the filter. You should place it upside down so the silicone seal stays safe. When you are not using the jar, everything conveniently stores as a single unit.
Cleaning is about as straightforward as decanting. We detached the base of the filter, shook out the grounds, and rinsed thoroughly. Afterward, we gently cleaned inside with a bottle brush and outside with a non-abrasive sponge. The black plastic containing the mesh filter makes it hard to see where the coffee oils are. The carafe can be cleaned by hand, but larger hands may not fit inside.
The instructions say all parts are dishwasher friendly. We, however, disagree, feeling only the glass carafe should be put in a dishwasher.