- Brew Quality (50%)9.0/10
- Design (15%)9.0/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.9/10
- Brew Quality (50%)7.2/10
- Design (15%)8.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
Coffee Bear is an average-performing immersion filter cold brew coffee maker. It uses a glass carafe with a handy lid that easily twists to pour. The immersion filter is made from plastic and nylon so it’s not ideal for doubling up as a hot beverage brewer. It’s very similar in design to the Coffee Gator, except that Coffee Bear has a silicone base stand which looks uneven and feels unsteady.
The OXO Compact has quite a sizable brew vessel and therefore needs to brew on a shelf in your refrigerator. However, it produces a relatively strong cold brew concentrate and decants into a very handy little carafe. The carafe can easily fit the door of any refrigerator.
Because the concentrate can be further diluted to even one part coffee to three parts water, the brew stretches further than the Coffee Bear. A cold brew concentrate is also more versatile for mixing or using in kitchen preparations.
- Bouquet (10%)9.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)9.0/10
- Sediment (20%)9.0/10
- Bouquet (10%)7.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)7.0/10
- Sediment (20%)8.0/10
A cold brew coffee bouquet is always a good measure of the brewer’s performance. In repeated testing, we found the bouquet of the OXO Compact concentrate was quite strong. It tended towards deeper chocolate, earthy, or nutty notes. Sweet notes were less noticeable.
At first, we were surprised by the overall results of the OXO compact. Therefore, we did a second brewing for 14 hours and not 18 hours as per our standard testing procedure. Even so, the OXO Compact failed to bring out sweeter notes. Its ‘rainshower’ drip-and-leave brew method seems to be the key determining factor.
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 OXO concentrate at a 1:2 ratio with filtered water. The final drink had a smooth texture to it, and was only slightly sour. Chocolate, earthy, and nutty flavors were dominant. The brew tended to lack sweet or fruity flavors that other brewers were better at producing. While quite satisfying, it lacked overall excitement and complexity.
We thought this concentrate to be a good choice for ice cubes, using in deserts, or mixing with things like protein shakes. If you love a strong brew, we highly recommend the OXO Compact. One thing to consider with the OXO is brewing with less grounds to water, or brewing for a shorter time.
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.
The OXO Compact uses a simple reusable mesh filter. It didn’t clog the brewer and the decanting was quite swift and effortless. The sediment was very fine, but with some noticeable granules. While not the most thorough of filters, it was effective and speedy.
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%)9.0/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.0/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)8.5/10
In the Box
- Box WDH: 8.5 x 5.2 x 5.2 inches
- Decanter with stopper
- Brew vessel with mesh filter
- Rainshower and lid
The contents were well packaged and secure with the decanter neatly placed inside the brew vessel. The ‘rainshower’ dripper was on top. All key components are neatly labeled on the side of the box, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Overall, however, we felt that there was too much disposable plastic in the packaging.
- 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 Lid:7 in (180 mm)
- Base Diameter:4.3 in (110 mm)
- Width:5.1 in (130 mm)
- Weight:8.5 oz (241 g)
- Material:polypropylene plastic
- Additional Features:BPA-free
The brew vessel appeared well-made and is easy to handle. Its translucent black coloring makes it attractive but also inconspicuous on the countertop. It may be a little tall for some refrigerators, especially those smaller than 90 L, without removing a shelf. However, you may be able to place it in the crisper box.
- Rainmaker: AS resin
- Lid: polypropylene plastic
The custom ‘rainmaker’ is designed to distribute water evenly over the coffee grounds. The rainmaker comes off very easily, and the lid is also solid, creating an airtight brewing environment.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:5.5 in (140 mm)
- Base Diameter:3.74 in (95 mm)
- Weight:7.0 oz (198 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass
The glass decanter has a neat aesthetic design with a simple logo and a measuring dot. It did, however, feel somewhat delicate, so we handled it with care.
- 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:2 in (52 mm)
- Additional Features:silicone seal
The silicone seal completely covers the cork stopper making it non-porous. However, the fit of the cork in the decanter is not so tight. The cork slips off easily so you should grip the decanter firmly with your hand.
- 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.
- Diameter:2.7 in (60 mm)
- Material:polypropylene plastic & stainless steel
- Additional Features:red silicone gasket, spring valve
The detachable base of the OXO Compact is basically the filtration unit. The base is tight, yet easy to unscrew, and sports convenient alignment markers. The mesh filter fits snugly into the base.
Our concern here is the care needed in looking after parts — especially the red gasket. The filter seems durable enough, but it’s hard to judge the durability of the metal spring valve. Most cold brew coffee makers have simpler components.
- 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.
The OXO Compact is a very well-built product. It’s stylish, high quality, and all parts are certified safe. There are more parts to deal with compared to other cold coffee brewers. Additionally, only time can tell the longevity of the red gasket and the spring decanting valve. The carafe, while attractive, is somewhat delicate and the stopper is not the best.
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%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- 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 with the OXO Compact was completely effortless. One reason for this is convenient markings. The base is also very secure and leak proof. Simply align the bar markings on its parts and you’re ready to go.
For grounds, you fill the brew vessel up to the bean icon — that equates to around 6 oz (170 g) Then, fill the decanter with 12 fl oz (355 ml) of water (marked by a dot). Next, you simply put the ‘rainmaker’ in place, slowly pour the water around, attach the lid, and allow your coffee to brew.
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.
Decanting the OXO Compact requires you to place the brew vessel over the small decanter. It fitted perfectly without toppling off. As soon as pressure was applied to the spring valve, the concentrate started decanting.
Decanting took less than 5 minutes, but you can extract a little more if you leave it for longer. The mesh filter worked well, or comparable to a nylon filter.
One issue was the sensitivity of the decanting valve. We had to be careful not to accidentally touch it while moving the brew vessel because liquid spilled out very easily.
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
The OXO Compact has more separable parts than most cold coffee makers. The carafe appeared somewhat delicate, but cleaning it was mostly a matter of rinsing or soaking in hot water. You can clean inside using two fingers, but it can also go in a dishwasher for a deep clean.
The silicone seal is easy enough from the cork stopper for cleaning. The brew vessel is wide, so it was easy to clean. However, you should be careful not to misplace the red gasket on the bottom.
For storage, the OXO Compact is really well thought out. The carafe sits in the brew vessel. Then, if you rest the lid and carafe stopper at an angle, the ‘rainmaker’ inverts for use as a lid for storage.
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.