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Besides a huge Papasan chair and mismatched breakfast bowls, I also inherited my roommate’s favorite Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker right before she packed up her life in Michigan and moved to Japan to teach English. The first two items have been a constant feature in my home and kitchen for a while, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally began using the cold brew coffee maker every single day. While it’s definitely great at its job and even made Kitchn Lifestyle Director Lisa’s Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker list, I actually have found a better use for it: making steeped simple syrups.
Full confession: I first got the idea from a coffee shop in Seoul. While their menu was regular cafe fare, it was the addition of flavored simple syrups that was the huge draw. Lavender sprigs, orange slices, mint, rosemary, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, jujube, dried rose petals — they were all colorfully lined up on a counter, steeping for hours in Takeya Cold Brew Makers. I was intrigued enough to test it out for myself as soon as I got back home.
My first batch was easy: mint, sugar, and water. I followed the basic simple syrup recipe, but instead of adding the mint directly to the boiling concoction, I popped the leaves in the mesh infuser and stuck it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I pulled out the infuser, discarded the mint leaves, and enjoyed a cup of sweet, minty cold coffee. Since then, I have experimented with several spice-cabinet staples, including fennel seeds and cardamom, and the results are always surprising and delicious.
Unlike steeping herbs, whole spices, or fruits into boiling sugar water for a few minutes, Takeya’s fine mesh coffee filter lets you infuse the ingredients for a lot longer without making the syrup too concentrated or bitter. The end result? Flavor-packed simple syrup that truly elevates even the most badly made cup of coffee to a whole new level. I also use it to brew specific simple syrup flavors for cocktails (green chili, fennel, and black pepper are the best!) or to drizzle a vanilla bean-infused syrup over freshly baked vanilla pound cake.
And since the coffee maker is made of solid Tritan glass, it’s built to withstand extremely hot temperatures, which is great since I can pour my batch from the stovetop directly into the jar. Plus, the convenient spout and silicone slip handle makes pouring the thick, sticky syrup easy and mess-free.
I recently bought another Takeya cold brew maker to finally enjoy chilled homemade cold brew. But once cooler weather rolls in, I’ll be using it to steep a second batch of flavored simple syrup to add extra zhuzh to my coffee ritual. Maybe pumpkin spice-infused simple syrup?