What Is Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro coffee is a type of cold brew coffee saturated with nitrogen. Nitro brewing is like making cold brew but with some peculiarities.
What Equipment Do You Need to Prepare Nitro Coffee?
You can pour nitro cold brew coffee into glasses the same way as you'd pour a beer. The equipment you need for making nitro cold brew already exists—it's the same equipment used for serving beer.
To prepare nitro coffee you need a nitro station that consists of the following:
- Nitrogen bottle
- Filtered water
- Cooling device
The History of Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Nitro coffee became trendy in the US in the summer of 2016, and in 2018 it entered the ranks of the top summer coffee drinks. To this day it keeps becoming more popular.
The pioneers and active promoters of nitro cold brew are two companies: Cuvee Coffee and Stumptown Coffee. Subsequently, numerous versions of nitro cold brew have emerged from various coffee companies around the world.
Even Starbucks has given an impressive, world-wide boost to the wonderful cooling drink by offering its guests a cold brew nitro draft. The company developed a huge range of flavors and nitro drinks: draft nitro cold brew reserve, sweet nitro cold brew with cream, nitro cold brew with cream and salt, a nitro latte, a nitro freddo, a nitro mocha with or without milk, and a nitro cold brew with cascara cold foam.
What's Special About Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro coffee is brewed similarly to regular cold brew, but with the addition of nitrogen to the filtered concentrate. The concentrate is saturated with nitrogen using a special installation that cools the drink.
Nitrogen is an inert gas, absolutely safe for humans. Nitrogen saturates the coffee with fine bubbles and creates a velvety texture and a sweet, creamy taste.
The saturation of coffee with nitrogen occurs under pressure using a cooling station and a valve system. The equipment is borrowed from the beer industry with some modifications. When assembled, such a system is called a nitro station.
To increase the solubility of nitrogen, the coffee must be chilled. During the first minutes after pouring, nitro cold brew looks like Guinness beer, with a head of foam and an avalanche of bubbles.
Nitro coffee is stored in kegs under low pressure and poured immediately before serving.
What Does Nitro Coffee Taste Like?
Nitro coffee was released in the United States for the first time in 2011. It's now become popular around the world due to its unique features:
- Creamy taste. Nitrogen is tasteless and odorless, but interacts with coffee, giving it a creamy taste.
- Creamy texture. Nitrogen bubbles make the drink airy and silky.
- Softness. Nitrogen softens the taste of coffee. It might seem like you are drinking coffee with milk even when you haven't added any.
- Invigorating effect. Thanks to the addition of nitrogen, nitro cold brew is absorbed faster by the body and gives you a quick energy boost.
The taste of nitro coffee can be easily identified. It is smooth, mild with low acidity, and has a slight chocolatey bitterness and sweetness in the aftertaste. This makes nitro coffee one of the world's most beloved specialty coffee drinks.
Most nitro cold brew lovers drink it plain or pour it over ice, relying on the natural creaminess of the drink and not on the addition of milk or creamer. For those who love sweet coffee, many coffee shops offer nitro coffee with sweet cream or vanilla syrup.
Caffeine Content in Nitro Coffee
Nitro coffee uses a higher ratio of coffee grounds to water than regular coffee, which can increase the caffeine content.
Some companies even claim that nitro coffee can contain up to 30% more caffeine per ounce than regular coffee, though caffeine content can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
For example, a 16 fl oz nitro coffee at Starbucks contains about 280 mg of caffeine, while the daily value for caffeine is 250-300 mg.
Nitro coffee is one of the strongest and most invigorating varieties of coffee. A high dose of caffeine makes for a unique experience, but make sure not to drink too much if it'd be bad for your health or your sleep habits.
Comparison of Nitro Cold Brew And Regular Cold Brew
Can You Brew Nitro Cold Brew at Home?
Yes, but some nuances should be taken into account. Many people refrain from making classic nitro coffee at home because they believe it is a complicated process. And in general, they are right.
To start, it's expensive. You will have to buy a lot of equipment to make proper nitro cold brew.
Assembling the equipment will take a lot of time and focus, and the equipment will take up a lot of space in your home. Besides, it is unlikely that you will be able to flush and maintain such a system as required by the manufacturer, so you'll need to pay for help from a technician.
Fortunately, however, systems such as the NitroBrew have appeared in the markets lately. The NitroBrew system makes it easy to brew one cup of cold, nitrogen-rich coffee anytime, without any hassle.
But NitroBrew systems are still expensive. Therefore, you can find a more affordable method of brewing cold nitro coffee by using a regular whipped cream dispenser. Nitrogen cartridges are sold for these dispensers.
For more information on preparing nitro coffee in a whipped cream dispenser, see the next section of the Coffee Hub.