There's a running Internet joke that you know someone's from New England when they drink iced coffee year-the alerround. If my own personal experience—and the many Ben-Affleck-with-Dunkin-Donuts memes in existence—are to be believed, it's true. I've been known to trek out into February snow while it's still dark outside to get my cold caffeine fix from Starbucks, but at $4 a pop, 365 days a year, it's not exactly the most budget-friendly habit. (Yes, that's over $1400 a year, just on coffee.) So when I stumbled on a $35 "iced coffee maker" that promised to give me café-worthy cold brew at home, I figured I'd give it a shot, at least for the sake of my wallet.
Enter: The Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker ($35). The machine brews a single cup of coffee, which it pours over ice for a final product that is somehow never watered down. What makes it different from your standard hot coffee maker is the fact that it's equipped with something called "rapid chill technology," which helps to cool the coffee before it hits the ice so that it won't melt on contact. You simply scoop whatever coffee grounds you've got into the top compartment, fill the vessel with water, and place your ice-filled tumbler under the spot. It takes four minutes to brew, and the result is a concentrated cup of iced coffee that really is as good as the stuff I've been spending half of my paycheck on each year.
As someone who has tried every iteration of DIY cold brew and bottled iced coffee on the market, I can say with full confidence that this is by far the best at-home option I've ever encountered. Instead of having to wait for my coffee to cool in the fridge overnight (or lug massive jugs of the pre-made stuff home from the grocery store), the machine makes getting my morning drink as easy as pressing a button. You also don't have to mess around with cold brew-making methods, which often require a coarser grind and overnight brewing time. This is a precise, single-serving method that's perfect for me and my needs.
I also love that you can use whatever grounds you want to make this coffee (no pods required!), making it as customizable as you want. I've been using Illy Ground Espresso Intenso Coffee ($20) and mixing it with a scoop of Vital Proteins Vanilla Collagen Creamer ($24). Plus, the ritual of brewing my own iced coffee has become an enjoyable addition to my morning routine... and is far more pleasant (and wallet-friendly) than schlepping over to the coffee shop on the corner.
Plus, the savings are really adding up. Based on my current coffee-drinking pace (a cup a day), how often I have to buy more coffee (every three weeks), plus the price per scoop of the creamer (about $1.21), I've calculated that each cup of coffee I make at home costs $1.96—a far cry from what I paid when I go out. If I keep this up, I'll be paying only $59 per month for coffee —and over a year, only $705. That's a savings of $695, which is pretty damn amazing if you ask me. Just call it the little coffee maker that could.
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