DIY Cold Brew Tower – Shopping and Planning

I’m going through some plans to make a DIY cold brew tower. Maybe this will inspire you also. Let’s start off with why I’m even doing this in the first place.

I really like iced coffee

There’s just something special about walking into a restaurant on a hot Summer day and ordering an ice-cold coffee. And if it’s cold brew, it’s even smoother, even colder. Cold brew is on another level.

I don’t know if I have a coffee addiction but I do find myself drinking two or three cups a day. Sometimes I’ll even drink decaf coffee for the taste of it. Coffee is how I start my day off. It’s the same as brushing my teeth in the morning or leaving the house with my phone, wallet, and keys. Something is just off if I don’t have it.

The coffee I’ve been drinking so far

I’ve been experimenting with other ways of brewing coffee now. We have a coffee machine at work that makes single servings but the roaster never changes. It’s a name that I don’t even remember though I drink it nearly every day.

For Christmas, I got a French press and used it here and there. I wasn’t totally in love with it though because it ended up making some pretty gritty coffee. There’d always be fine bitter pieces at the bottom.

French press
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter, 34 Ounce, Chrome

Next, I moved onto a Chemex to make some pour over coffee. This way has treated me way better than the French press but it could still be better. It’s a little time-consuming and a little finicky sometimes–sometimes my paper filters tear and the grounds fall in and it’s a bad batch–but the juice is usually worth the squeeze. There’s almost no grit and the taste is smooth.

Chemex pour over coffee

Chemex Classic Series, Pour-over Glass Coffeemaker, 8-Cup – Exclusive Packaging – CM-8A

Planning a DIY cold brew tower

So all of these are still just brewed using heat. What I really want is a good ol’ cold brew. You can look it up yourself on why cold brew is or isn’t better but I just like cold drinks in general. There’s something that is just way more refreshing about it.

I have buy-in from my coworkers. They’d definitely want cold brew in the office. A little something different from the basic cup we’ve been stuck with. So how do we do this?

There are several ways but one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen is the Yama Cold Brew Tower. Absolutely massive, made of glass and wood, and it delicately drips water onto the grounds making a beautiful brew.

Yama Cold Brew tower
Yama Cold Brew tower at Salt & Forge

Alright, so let’s look one up. Amazon’s got them. How much is one? A tower making 6-8 cups is $255 (at the time of this posting)! There’s no way I could justify spending this much to make coffee in a way that I might not even necessarily know how to do. Then I looked up all the replacement parts to see if I could make this thing piece-by-piece but each thing ended up being “artisan” and “hand-made”.

Here’s a list of the items and their costs

In total, this is already $216. If I’m going spend this much on all these pieces, I might as well have just gotten the entire thing for $255 to begin with!

How can I spend less money?

So then my next idea was to just DIY as much of it as I could. To figure out what I’d need to do, it’s important to first just understand the anatomy of a cold brew tower.

Alright, so all the wood supports, I can probably make myself. Those don’t necessarily need to be made any certain way for the coffee to come out right. At the bottom is a carafe that holds the brewed coffee. Some idea here: I can probably find a glass container to hold stuff in no problem. There’s a “cool glass spiral” which I think provides no actual value other than that it looks cool so I can skip out on that.

The next three pieces are what kinda had me worried.

  • There’s a middle beaker that holds the ground coffee. Part of me thinks that this beaker is a certain diameter for a specific reason.
  • There’s also a ceramic filter placed at the bottom of this beaker to keep the grounds from falling through.
  • Then the next piece is a brass piece that controls the drip speed of the water. I actually went to Home Depot to see if I could find something that could do this but didn’t end up finding anything that fit the bill (or was food-safe).

Getting the ball rolling on this DIY cold brew tower

So I ended up ordering those pieces that worried me. I luckily found a brass fitting that was much cheaper at $18 (compared to Yama’s $55 one) from Clive Coffee. I ordered the middle beaker and ceramic filter off Amazon. Hopefully it works out!

Once all those pieces are in later this week, I’ll start sourcing all the other pieces of glass and wood that I’ll need.

Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for other things to read, check out our post on why I’ve got all these free time all of a sudden!

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