- Brew Quality (50%)7.8/10
- Design (15%)9.6/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Brew Quality (50%)8.4/10
- Design (15%)7.4/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.3/10
If you’re looking for a mason jar cold brew coffee maker, County Line Kitchen and Willow & Everett are the two choices. County Line Kitchen, however, is by far the better design as it is more true to the robust and durable image of the mason jar.
The unique spigot design on the barrel-shaped Willow & Everett is unfortunately prone to break if handled roughly. The lid also has a slightly rough fit. County Line Kitchen, however, has a plastic lid with an excellent gasket and two practical designs that are available with and without a handle. You can also purchase a normal aluminum lid.
Both brewers use a 1:9 brew ratio, but Willow & Everett produces a much stronger brew while County Line Kitchen tends to brew more for sweeter profiles. The largest County Line Kitchen brewer, the 2-quart, is more of a match for the half gallon (2.4 quart) Willow & Everett.
- Bouquet (10%)7.5/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.0/10
- Sediment (20%)7.0/10
- Bouquet (10%)8.5/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.5/10
- 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 Willow & Everett’s coffee presented a strong aroma with a degree of complexity. The bouquet was defined by a deep roasted note and a distinct herby edge. There was also a light underlying chocolatey or caramel note.
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.
We first tasted the brew without diluting and it was quite strong. It had a bold character and trended more towards a deep-roasted to bitter flavor with a sweetish aftertaste. When diluted, it was a lot smoother to drink. We were quite impressed with the strength and quality of the brew.
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.
Given the design of the Willow and Everett, we did two sediment tests. First, we decanted the contents into a separate vessel via the tap. We noted what sediment remained behind in the main vessel. We again allowed the decanted liquid to settle before decanting back into the original vessel so we could evaluate how much sediment ended up in the decanted brew.
A moderate amount of sediment, mostly a fine sludge, was left behind in the brew jug. The amount was comparable to what we got with the similar County Line filter as well as the laser-cut stainless steel filters of some of our top ranking brewers. Very little sediment ended up in the decanted brew.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)10/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)7.0/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)7.0/10
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: 9 x 7.3 x 10.2 inches
- Assembled brewer only
The first brewer we received was broken when it arrived. The package had styrofoam packing at the bottom and top, but the glass around the tap was completely broken — thus indicating a clear weak point. At the very least, we think this product needs better packaging. However, we promptly received a replacement via Amazon at no extra cost to us.
- 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:7.9 in (200 mm)
- Base Diameter:5.1 in (130 mm)
- Width:7.1 in (180 mm)
- Weight:NaN lbs (NaN kg)
- Material:Glass and stainless steel
The glass of the decanter is quite thick. However, as detailed in the unboxing section, we remain concerned by its fragility around the spout. Initially, the tap’s valve was rather tight, but once you run some water through, it loosens up. There’s a screw on the top if you need to adjust it at any point.
We recommend caution when turning the valve. Since the lever started out tight, we worried that applying too much pressure might break the glass.
Also of note is the wire handle, which is practical, easy to grip, and gives the unit a down-home, country feel.
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)
- Additional Features:None
The Willow & Everett brewer is similar to a mason jar. The lid appears to be aluminum and is somewhat cheaply made with low-quality threads. More to the point, it doesn’t even have a silicone seal. Also, we noticed rust-like markings that refused to come off even after cleaning. The lid fitted tightly enough, though.
- 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:6.9 in (175 mm)
- Diameter:4.1 in (105 mm)
- Material:Stainless steel
- Additional Features:Additional tap filter
The filter is quite different from others we have tested. It is made of a flexible gauze-like type of mesh. During cleaning and on closer inspection, we noticed that the cut of the mesh is rough and uneven, and the seam is haphazard. You could easily prick your finger if you’re not careful.
The filter’s flexibility, however, allows it to easily bend and fit behind the tap at the base. And in terms of brew quality and sediment containment, we were very happy with the filter’s performance.
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 not too satisfied with the build quality of the Willow & Everett cold coffee maker. The lid is poor in both design and material quality. Additionally, the filter is roughly constructed and could cause slight injury. The tap doesn’t pour very well and is difficult to operate at first. Since the packaging was inadequate, and the first item arrived damaged, we can’t vouch for the long term durability of the glass around the tap outlet. Given that at least 20% of the liquid doesn’t drain through the tap, additional hand pouring and decanting just adds extra inconvenience.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)10/10
- Decanting (35%)8.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
- Brewing (45%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)7.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)9.0/10
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.
Initially, we poured around one liter of water into the glass brew jug and then lowered the filter, filled with grounds, into position. We drew on our experience with numerous other brewers and left an inch of unfilled space at the top of the filter. This worked out to be a perfect 7 oz (200 g) of coffee grounds.
The rest of the water we poured over the grounds cup by cup to measure how much water the brewer could take. After each pour we waited a couple of minutes for the water to soak through the grounds and level out.
The final water volume was 63.5 fl.oz, or 1,850 ml — a brew ratio of approximately 1:9. The final weight was 105 oz (2,976 g). The full capacity of the jug without the filter and grounds was 68 fl.oz, or 2 liters.
We then sealed the lid and placed it in the refrigerator to brew for 18 hours. Since the soft and bendable mesh filter was a first for us, and considering the favorable brew ratio of 1:9, we were excited about the impending results. It’s worth noting that the County Line cold coffee brewer, a similar type of mason jar design, has the same brew ratio.
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 decanted the brew by opening the tap and draining the liquid into another container. Once again, it proved difficult to turn the tap with one hand. After some liquid had flowed through, it loosened up again. We also noticed that it flowed out in a splattery manner until we fully opened the tap.
Given the tap’s position, it's obvious that a good 20% of the liquid remains below the tap line. This means that ultimately you will need to pour the brew out the top of the vessel. This just adds additional inconvenience. As nice as this brewer appears, and as good as its brew tastes, the design is not well executed.
Lastly, the filter is quite large so when you take it out you should allow it to drain into a dish. We left it for 30 min and collected an additional 50 ml of liquid coffee.
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.
The Willow & Everett brewer is quite easy to clean. Both the filter and the glass brew jug are big enough for any hand to reach inside. We also recommend cleaning the spout by running clean water through it. We worry that coffee oils might clog the mechanism over time but haven’t run it through enough cycles yet to say.
While cleaning, we noticed the inside of the mesh filter is a little rough at the seam, so you have to be selective about the kind of sponge you use. Also, take care to avoid pricking your finger while you work with it.
Because there are minimal parts, everything fits together easily as one unit for storage. Take care not to lose the small filter that plugs the rear of the tap assembly.