With how long coffee has been around, having newer techniques or items on the market is just as exciting as ever—I mean a coffee shop with new items might as well be an adult playground for some people. Right?
People are putting CBD into lattes and let’s be serious for a second, every coffee shop needs to know how to make a macchiato in order to keep up with Starbucks.
Although it’s been a few years now, people still seem to be confused by what widely hit the market a few years ago as “Nitro Cold Brew”. People see it and think it’s beer, which you can’t blame them for. As a barista, there is not a day that goes by without me having to explain what it is to customers. I have an elevator pitch for nitro prepared at all times, which goes a little something like this:
Nitro cold brew is cold brew pressurized with nitrogen, which gives the cold brew a creamier texture to it. With that in mind, here is a longford version to give you all you need to know about Nitro Cold Brew.
How Nitro Cold Brew is Made
It starts with cold brew—ideally the best around because that will result in better nitro. A coffee shop that makes their own cold brew and nitro takes both products in to consideration when choosing which coffee blend to use.
The cold brew process alone takes 12-24 hours. Only after that time can the nitro process begin. That’s when a keg of cold brew is pressurized (otherwise called “infused”) with nitrogen through a tubing system. Nitrogen is colorless and odorless, so it’s just there to react with the cold brew. Wherever the cold brew is being made looks closer to a mad scientist lab than a coffee shop, but all for good reason!
The pressure from the nitrogen infuses with the cold brew to give it a rich, creamy head—providing it a very familiar look. Once it settles in the glass, nitro looks just like a Guinness beer. By the way, for those that are of age, who likes Guinness here?
The serving of nitro is fitting with how it looks because nitro is served out of a tap like a beer would be, lending to more confusion to customers who see those taps in more and more coffee shops.The tap is another important part of cold brew because it helps keep the nitro cold brew pressurized as it comes out.
Sometimes throughout the day, nitro needs to be re-pressurized in order to maintain the look of it. It’s essential to keep an eye on the nitro’s color throughout the day in order to gauge whether it’s time to pressurize it again—or simply give the keg a little shake in order to put it back where it needs to be. All of these steps lead to a completely unique coffee option that I have yet to see someone try and not like.
What Does Nitro Cold Brew Taste Like?
Nitro is as popular as it is because nitrogen often leads to a lot of wide eyes and open mouths—that is until I explain that the coffee does not, in fact, taste like some sort of science experiment. Also, a lot of people see nitro cold brew and assume it has dairy in it, which almost scares people off of it. Once all of the confusion is out of the way, it’s time to taste it!
Taking the Guinness vibe in to consideration, looks are definitely NOT deceiving. That same velvety, smooth flavor that you get from a freshly poured Guinness pint is what you’ll get from a nitro. On top of that nice texture, the nitrogen infusion provides a slight sweetness to the cold brew. This makes for a perfect (and healthier) option for people who like to add a lot of cream and sugar to their coffee, which we don’t recommend doing if you’re watching your calorie intake, because they get the flavor they want without overindulging on dairy or sugar. It could also be a gateway to get more people to enjoy black coffee all together.
Nitro cold brew is becoming more and more available, so it’s important to know what to expect when you stumble on it. Regular cold brew itself is already such a treat compared to regular iced coffee, so nitro is just next level iced-coffee bliss! You can even stock up on nitro at home with canned nitro, hitting a lot of shelves, or small home versions of kegs made for nitro cold brew are available too! Consider what goes in to making nitro when you find the best one in your neighborhood, because you know the barista or manager worked hard to make it the best. If you have yet to try nitro until now, simply because you did not know what it was, you have no excuses left not to try it!
What We Liked
- Easy to use
- It’s Materials are high quality with solid construction.
- Easy to clean
What We Didn’t Like
- A bit leaky