I save hundreds of dollars on coffee every year by using this cheap $20 cold brew maker at home

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Like many people who prefer cold brew or iced coffee, I quickly found myself at a personal (and financial) crossroads.

The Starbucks app made it easy to re-order from the shop on my way to work, but I was spending an irresponsible amount on something I could make relatively easily at home. And, beyond money, it didn't seem justifiable using that many plastic cups and straws on a personal luxury. You can bring in a reusable travel mug, but it's not uncommon to see a plastic cup used for easy measuring and then thrown out after the finished drink is transferred to its now decidedly less "green" substitute.

A better option for saving money and plastic is getting a reusable at-home cold brew maker. For the savings, though, you're going to have to put up with some forethought and patience not otherwise required for a $7 cup from the local shop. What makes cold brew so delicious is the long (~12 hour+) process of letting the coarse-ground coffee steep in water. Rather than using heat to extract the coffee's oils and sugars and caffeine, cold brew relies on time. In reward, cold brew is less acidic and bitter than cold coffee over ice. It would be more convenient if it took only the push of a Keurig button, but then it wouldn't be cold brew.

In other words, you can't cut corners. But if you're willing to prep even a night in advance (or make enough to last you through the week), then you should pick up a home brewer. And if you want good quality cold brew and plenty of it for less than $40, I recommend checking out the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, which is a small sensation in its own corner of the universe.

The Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker is Amazon's #1 bestseller in the category, and it has almost 1,5000 5-star reviews. As an owner of one, I'm not surprised: it does what it's supposed to, and it does it for less than $40.

The Takeya goes for $22 - $35 (price dependent upon size), and is durable, dishwasher-safe, and makes up to 8 servings of coffee concentrate at once. It also fits comfortably in most refrigerator doors. Some purists prefer glass, but the Takeya's BPA-free material won't bother the average user. Glass brewers are more eco-friendly and skirt some concerns about being able to repurpose the container for drinks like tea without a lingering coffee taste, but plastic appeals to those looking for a cheap cold brew maker that they can handle without much care.

For me, it was a pretty simple decision in terms of cost, easy steps, positive reviews, and quantity of coffee. I try to spend as little of my free time on routine as possible, so a one-time, 30-second chore for days worth of cold brew was very appealing. Recently, the company released an even bigger two-quart size thanks to requests from customers.

The process is extremely simple. You dump 14-16 tablespoons of your favorite coarsely ground coffee into the infuser, attach it to the lid, and fill the pitcher with 32 ounces of cold water. Then, you lower the infuser into the water by twisting the Takeya cap on. Shake it well, and store it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 36 hours for extra-strong coffee concentrate which can be diluted if you choose. The Takeya top has an airtight seal, so I've never had an issue with leaking, even when the pitcher was laid on its side. Once the brewing process is finished, just remove the infuser and replace the lid.

If your schedule is hectic and you miss a couple mornings, the brewed coffee will stay fresh in your Takeya for up to two weeks.

The only thing to note is that the Takeya uses half the grounds to produce the same amount of cold brew as some of the other cult-favorite coffee makers out there, meaning you're more likely to get a weaker brew. If you don't plan to dilute your cold brew concentrate with milk or water, though, this may not ultimately matter to you. If you're sensitive to caffeine, it could also be an advantage.

Insider Picks voted the Takeya the best Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker under $20 in our guide to the best cold brew makers you can buy, and it's still a great option at $20. On my most caffeine-dependent weeks, I save $20+ just by using this. Over the course of a year, that's hundreds of dollars. I definitely still occasionally forget to make cold brew ahead of time and wind up at the local Starbucks, but the trips have ceased to bother me now that they've become so minimal.

The Takeya may not be the perfect option for everyone, but it's a great one for anyone looking for delicious, affordable cold brew at home for as few steps, storage space, and hassle as possible. It also doesn't hurt that it's under $40.

Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, 1-Quart, $19.97

Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, 2-Quart, $34.76

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