The Bodum is one of our favorite cold brew coffee makers we’ve tested. We loved the freestyle brewing setup where you can manage your own brew ratio, or brew to a preferred technique. Filtering and decanting was swift, effective, and easy, and the lever which opens and closes the spout is a nice feature. The brew quality was excellent, except we were disappointed by the brew's lack of overall complexity. In terms of design, the brew vessel could offer more in the form of measuring guides, and you may need to provide your own separate decanter.
Things We Like
- Light and durable
- Open/close spout
- Perfectly airtight
- Comfortable handle
- Freestyle brewing
- Made in Portugal
Things We Don’t Like
- Decanting can be tricky
- No measuring guides
Bodum made a name for itself in coffeeware in 1944 first with its popular siphon coffee maker and then French press. Originally a Danish company, they are now based in Switzerland. They make a full range of coffeeware, but also kitchenware, tea paraphernalia, kettles, and an automatic coffee machine.
Where to Buy? Price at publication $32.49
*You help support HealthyKitchen101's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Taking the brew method into account, the Bodum produces a high-quality, strong cold brew coffee concentrate. It’s beautifully smooth to drink and full-bodied, however, it didn’t capture the complexity that our leading brewer was capable of. The filtration method, however, was one of the best.
The bouquet of the concentrate the Bodum brewed was quite strong. There was a well-defined roasted note with a hint of underlying caramel. Although confident, the bouquet was not defined by complexity.
The Bodum produced a strong and hearty full-roasted flavor. We used a 1:2 dilution of cold brew concentrate to water, yet further dilution is recommended for a standard coffee strength. The brew was full-bodied with no bitter flavor and the finish was perfectly smooth. The brew, however, lacked complexity except for a slight roasted caramel undertone. To get this favorable result we did two brew tests using different techniques detailed in the ‘Brewing’ section below.
The sediment test result of this coffee maker was excellent. There was hardly any detectable sediment, even fine granules. Coupled with this, the filtration method is one of the easiest among the freestyle brewing devices we’ve tested.
The Bodum cold brew coffee maker is an adaptation of a French press. It uses a similar fast and convenient plunge filter. Since it’s only meant for cold brewing, the entire body is made from plastic. This makes it light, convenient, and affordable. There’s a lid with a plunger attached for decanting and filtering, and a simple lid for brewing.
In the Box
- Decanter with airtight lid
- Plunge filter with lid
- Measuring spoon
- Multilingual instruction leaflet
Most of all, we loved how the Bodum was boxed. It has a simple two-sided cardboard jacket that neatly folds out with an opening for the spout. It’s minimal and there was an additional bubble plastic wrapping. The device came fully assembled. Since it’s made in Portugal, the small instruction leaflet is in multiple languages including Russian, Chinese, and Japanese.
The Bodum brew decanter is made entirely of plastic. It holds up to 37 fl oz (1.5 L) when full, so a plastic body certainly lightens the load. Notwithstanding, it’s also very durable and dishwasher safe. A key feature is the wide and comfortable handle with a silicone grip.
9.5 Stopper / Lid
There are actually two lids for the Bodum cold coffee maker, both having much the same diameter. The brew lid is the one without the plunger. It’s also airtight with a silicone seal and fits the brew vessel very neatly.
The lid with the plunge filter attached has a handy lever that opens and closes the spout for pouring and an airtight silicone seal. Depending on the quantity of coffee grounds, the height can increase up to 10 cm or more due to the raised plunger.
The filter of the Bodum functions of course much the same as a French press. This means that filtering is quick and easy. The filter is a double-ply stainless steel mesh constructed around a plastic frame. Our sediment test score showed that the filter is one of the best.
For the price, the Bodum has excellent build quality. The lids fit perfectly, the pour lever is a nice feature, and the silicone seals and handle grip are of good quality. Some may not like the plastic body, preferring glass, however, it’s very durable and the product is designed and manufactured in Portugal.
8.7Ease of Use
The Bodum doesn’t come with any ‘easy-to-use’ instructions. This means you have to decide your own brew ratio. We chose a 1:5 ratio of grounds to water, and everything else was straightforward. Decanting, however, can be a bit involved.
The Bodum doesn’t come with any brewing instructions other than: spoon in the coffee, pour the water, seal the lid, and refrigerate. The instruction manual and the website do not recommend any brew ratio. This kind of freestyle brewing is much appreciated, but it would be nice if the brew vessel had measurement markings to perhaps indicate approximate ratios.
In our first brew test, we simply took one standard bag of coffee ground of 8 oz and tipped the lot into the brew decanter. Next, we carefully measured and poured in 40 fl oz or 1.2 liters of water - about an inch and a half from the top, and stirred the contents. This was of course a perfect ratio of 1:5 of grounds to water — a ratio often recommended for making a strong cold brew concentrate. This ratio is comparable to other non-immersion filter brewers we have tested such as the OXO and the Toddy.
In the first taste testing, we were not entirely satisfied with the results due to a slightly sour edge to the brew and a lack of complete smoothness. We, therefore, brewed again, but this time took our cue from the Toddy brewing method.
We kept the same ratio but did layered brewing. We put a third of the grounds in the bottom and poured in 400 ml (13.5 fl oz) or two glasses of filtered water. To even the flow of the water, we poured around the edges using a wooden spoon. This mixture was left to settle and bloom for seven minutes undisturbed.
Then, we poured another third of the grounds on top and another two glasses of water. We gently pressed the grounds into the water and did the same with the remaining quantities. We did not disturb the contents by stirring, but sealed the brewer and placed it in the refrigerator for 18 hours. The brew quality result was much improved.
Decanting entailed a couple of operations. The first step is to activate the plunger, but you must make sure the lid is locked in place. After plunging, you just press down the lever on the lid, the spout will open, and you can pour. If you use the layered brewing method, it requires a bit of force to push the plunger down.
It operates much the same as any French press, however, since you’re making a cold brew concentrate, the design does leave some choices to be made. The manufacturer’s intention seems to be that you would leave the plunger depressed and store again in the refrigerator. This means that the concentrate will brew further.
We decided, after plunging, to completely decant the contents in line with our testing parameters. After cleaning the brew vessel, we returned the concentrate, although the container was rather bulky for the yield volume. Therefore, you may prefer to decant it into a more suitable container. This is the only hassle with an otherwise excellent free brewing method.
The ease and speed of decanting exceed that of the similar freestyle OXO cold brew coffee maker, except that a separate decanter vessel is not provided. A 1:5 ratio yielded 25 fl oz or 750 ml of cold brew concentrate, which can easily be diluted at 1:2 or even 1:3 as you prefer.
8.5Cleaning and Storage
Bodum was perfectly easy to clean. The only things to be careful of are the two silicone seals. Because the grounds get quite compacted at the bottom, you will need a wooden spoon to level them out. We recommend hand-cleaning since it’s quick and easy.
The only inconvenience is a separate plunger lid and brewing lid. When storing, it's probably best to remove the silicone seal of the brewing lid and store it in the brew vessel for safe keeping. The brew lid needs to be stored separately.
Compared to Other Cold Brew Coffee Makers
The Bodum French press is similar to the Toddy Cold Brew System, except that the Toddy tends to produce a richer and more complex brew. The Bodum decants much faster than the Toddy, but the Toddy felt filter results in a smoother finished brew. Another comparable free-style brewer is the OXO Compact.
Other brewers are basically immersion filter brewers with a fixed brew ratio and which do not produce a full-strength cold brew concentrate. For more details on these kinds of brewers you can see our article listing the best cold brew coffee makers.
About your guide
Roger Shitaki is a writer, author, and editor. His niches are household appliances, health & wellness, and travel. He’s a freelance contributor to a Tokyo lifestyle website and a leading ophthalmology magazine in Asia.