Nitro coffee is a ready-to-drink beverage that’s attracting the attention of many coffee drinkers these days. It’s quite popular in specialty coffee shops compared to traditional coffee brews such as cold brew and iced coffee. You’ll find it in coffee shops such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. And unlike other coffees, it is also sold in cans in grocery stores and gas stations.
What is nitro cold brew? Nitro cold-brew coffee is a brew infused with nitrogen gas through a process called nitrogenation and served cold in glasses. Beverages such as nitro coffee that are infused with nitrogen are referred to as nitrogenated drinks.
You may think that is a strange process if all you know about is carbonated drinks, but nitrogenation is also common in alcoholic beverages. In fact, it is used to make Guinness beer which is the inspiration behind Nitro cold brew.
Why Nitrogen is Infused Into Coffee
The creators of Nitro cold brew infuse it with nitrogen to give it a creamy texture and unique taste. The coffee is also unique in that it is stored in kegs and served from the tap. The process of nitrogenation also makes it possible to preserve this cold coffee brew in cans.
Nitro cold brew has a silky mouthfeel and is low in acid. It is one of the popular specialty coffees in the industry. Infusing this cold brew with nitrogen gas gives it a foamy head and taste that eliminates the need for sweeteners or creamer.
Nitro cold brew also contains more caffeine than your average cup of black coffee because it takes less water to brew nitro coffee, and the beans are left to steep in the water for a long time. And while you would expect that to make the coffee taste bitter, it doesn’t due to nitrogen infusion, which gives it a natural sweetness.
The fact that Nitro cold brew is not brewed hot also reduces the acidity in the coffee. You end up with a creamy glass of cold brew with a silky mouthfeel that’s easy on the stomach and taste buds.
Nitro vs. Iced coffee
You may think Nitro cold brew is similar to cold coffee beverages such as iced coffee, but it’s not. Although Nitro brew and iced coffee are both served cold and black, they are quite different in terms of their quality, how they are brewed and served.
Iced coffee is just your regular black coffee over ice. It is brewed hot at double strength and then poured over ice. You can sweeten it with sugar, condensed milk, honey, or flavored syrups.
The taste of iced coffee may vary depending on the beans used to brew the coffee. It contains a significant amount of caffeine and has a rich aroma. Although it is acidic, iced coffee is a flavorful and refreshing cold caffeinated beverage.
On the other hand, nitro cold brew is a coffee made by infusing nitrogen gas in cold brew coffee. The beverage is sold from a keg and served from the tap.
The process of preparing nitro cold brew starts with steeping coffee grounds in water for 12 – 24 hours. That’s quite different from the process of making iced coffee, which starts with heating up coffee beans in water.
You also need complicated equipment to make nitro cold brew. The fact that it is made by infusing nitrogen in coffee differentiates it entirely from iced coffee. The nitrogen bubbles created during infusion give it a creamy, frothy head you cannot find in iced coffee.
The addition of nitrogen in nitro cold brew creates a smooth, sweet, and creamy coffee. And while you can brew a glass of iced coffee at home, most people prefer to buy nitro brew from the coffee shops because it’s not easy to make from home. Nitro coffee also provides the body with more benefits than iced coffee.
The Origin of Nitro Coffee
You may wonder where Nitro cold brew coffee drinks came from? The process of making nitro brew coffee was first tested at Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Texas. Nate Armbrust discovered it while experimenting with adding froth to coffee.
Armbrust first tried to use carbon dioxide ( co2) in coffee to create froth, but the acids released during carbonation infused it with bitterness and destroyed its flavor.
Luckily, when Armbrust tried nitrogen gas as an alternative, it released a nice froth in the coffee and created an exciting flavor. From that point, it was just a matter of finding out how much nitrogen to infuse into the coffee to create a superior cold brew that coffee lovers would enjoy.
After several attempts, Ambrust finally found the perfect recipe for preparing nitro cold brew, and a healthy version of coffee similar to stouts was born. Stumptown’s coffee roaster became the first roaster to sell nitrogen-infused cold brew. They stored it in a keg and served it from a tap in a glass to showcase its foamy head.
Customers of nitro coffee are people who enjoy beer and would like the same experience when having coffee. Starbucks was one of the first coffee houses in the coffee industry to introduce nitro cold brew coffee in its shops. These days you’ll find several varieties of nitro coffee on its menus, such as Nitro Flat White and Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Cuvee Coffee, a company based in Austin, was the first company to can nitrogen cold brew in widget cans in 2015. You can now find Nitro brew cans in various grocery stores and gas stations in the United States. Just pop in, purchase a can of nitro cold brew, and you can sip it on the go like you do with soda.
Several breweries also make nitro coffee. A good example is Guinness brewery and Rise Brewing Co., a company that makes cold brews using various milk alternatives. The company also serves nitro coffee from its popular cafes like Rise’s Lower East Side Cafe in Manhattan. Some popular varieties of nitro coffee that incorporate alternative dairy products from Rise brewing co. are oat milk vanilla, oat milk mocha, and oat milk latte.
Some companies have also created specialty cold brew coffees. A good example is Colonna & Smalls, a coffee house in Bath, England, owned by Colonna-Dashwood.
Dashwood, a world-renowned Barista, came up with Colona capsules to preserve specialty coffees such as nitro coffee. His idea is to keep nitro coffee fresh in compostable capsules for as long as possible.
World-class baristas like Matt Perger of the St. Ali Coffee Company, Stephen Leighton of Hasbean coffee, and Albert Lean Dave Klatt of Cafe Mocha & Mini attest to nitrogen coffee’s benefits. You can find it in third-wave coffee shops all over the US as it trends in the coffee world.
Although Nitro cold brew originated in the US, it is now popular in other countries worldwide, such as Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the UK. Any well-known coffee chain sells nitro coffee in cans or on tap from Kegs. We can say that infusing cold brew coffee with nitrogen is now a popular trend of making coffee worldwide.
How Do You Take Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro brew is usually taken black or poured over ice. No creamer is added to it because the coffee is already naturally creamy due to the brewing method used to prepare it. Although no sweetener is required, you can add some flavored syrup to your nitro cold brew, such as vanilla syrup.
Nitro cold brew also blends well with other beverages. Therefore, you’ll find it served in cocktails and some floats. Some examples are nitro float with vanilla ice cream and Nitro Pina Colada.
Probably the best characteristic of Nitro brew is that it’s one of the healthiest coffee beverages on the market. That’s because it’s a coffee drink that tastes great without any sugar or cream. You can use it as part of a healthy diet or weight-loss regimen. That’s why you’ll even find Nitro cold brew cans in gyms.
Benefits of Nitro Coffee
Nitro coffee is popular in third-wave coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations, and cafes. It tastes great and has a unique feel that makes you wonder whether to refer to it as a beer or a coffee beverage.
However, apart from its fantastic taste, nitro coffee can also benefit your body in different ways.
Here are a few.
- It’s full of antioxidants and micro-nutrients
Nitro coffee is packed with antioxidants that are known to fight the effects of free radicals and clear toxins from our bodies. A good example is chlorogenic acid, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that prevents chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Nitro coffee also contains micronutrients such as pantothenic acid and riboflavin that can increase your lifespan. These nutrients also boost the growth of healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- Improves mental performance and memory
Coffee is a stimulant due to its caffeine content, and nitro coffee contains quite a high amount of caffeine due to the process used to make it. Taking it will increase your mental concentration, memory, and performance when working on challenging tasks.
Drinking nitro cold brew can stimulate blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body by dilating our capillaries. Therefore, anytime you feel lethargic or suffer brain fog, reach for a glass or can of nitro beer to regain your alertness.
- Boosts metabolism and is an excellent fitness-aid
The caffeine in nitro cold brew can boost the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine in your body. These two hormones can increase the body’s metabolism and give you feelings of strength and energy.
These hormones also trigger the breakdown of stored fat in our bodies. Therefore, you can take nitro cold brew before exercising to increase your metabolism and help you burn fat.
- Prevent acidity and other stomach issues
Although nitro coffee brews are usually made with medium to dark roast beans, it does not result in a bitter brew. Instead, nitro coffee is rich, creamy, and sweet due to its low acidic levels. Therefore, the infusion of nitrogen in nitro coffee softens and enhances its body and flavor.
Usually, coffee gets acidic when brewed at a high temperature. But because nitro brew is made using the cold brew process, it doesn’t get bitter. Anyone suffering from acidity can drink nitro coffee without experiencing heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux.
- It has a unique taste and requires no additives
Nitro coffee has a great texture and unforgettable taste that appeals to most taste buds and is superior to other types of coffee brews. It doesn’t require sweetener or cream. Therefore, it is a beverage you can drink as is, which is why it’s sold in cans.
Nitro cold brew is also a unique beverage in terms of how it is stored and served. Drinking it is a novel experience that you can enjoy once in a while. And since it is served in cocktails and floats, you have a wide variety of options to choose from whenever you order some nitro cold brew.
- High in caffeine for a quick mood boost
Nitro cold brew coffee grounds are brewed for 24 hours before infusing with nitrogen. That allows the beans to release as much caffeine as possible. It is a beverage high in caffeine that you can drink whenever you need a quick caffeine fix.
The caffeine in nitro coffee increases the amount of dopamine in the brain by binding to adenosine receptors which make us sleepy. Dopamine increases our feelings of motivation and reward and can alleviate any feelings of sadness or tiredness. Therefore, Nitro cold brew is a beverage high in caffeine that you can drink to boost your mood anytime.
- Reduces the risk of contracting chronic ailments
Nitro cold brew can reduce your chances of suffering from mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It improves mental acuity and increases a person’s attention span even at late hours of the day.
The caffeine in cold brew also reduces the risk of developing diabetes due to its caffeine content and the fact that you don’t need a sweetener to drink it. That lowers your chances of developing other health problems such as cell damage associated with diabetes.
Drinking nitro cold brew without added sugar or cream also aids in weight loss, preventing obesity and other ailments associated with increased weight gain.
Side Effects of Nitro Coffee
These seven health and wellness benefits may make you feel like nitro cold brew can do no wrong. However, like all things, it does have a few drawbacks, mainly because nothing is perfect. These are;
- It can increase high blood pressure
Coffee can increase bad cholesterol in your system due to two compounds known as kahweol and cafestol. If not appropriately filtered, nitro cold brew can increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood due to the presence of cafestol and kahweol in unfiltered coffee.
Drinking excess nitro cold brew can also cause irregular heartbeats and trigger anxiety in some people, increasing the chances of getting high blood pressure. Therefore, if you are prone to heart palpitations, nitro cold brew may not be the best beverage for you.
- It’s addictive
Although nitro cold brew tastes fantastic and has a great caffeine kick, these aspects can also trigger addiction. The fact that you can pack lots of it in a fridge or carry many cans of it anywhere means it’s easy to drink too much of it.
The more you take caffeine, the higher your chances of getting addicted. Therefore, you should control your intake of nitro cold brew to avoid getting addicted. Signs you are taking excess amounts of nitro brew are headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and an irritated digestive tract.
Where Can You Buy Nitro Coffee?
If you’ve just discovered nitro coffee and would like to try it, head to a popular coffee shop or retailer and buy one. A can of nitro coffee goes for as little as $3 in regular shops and $5 in specialty coffee shops. That’s a small price to pay for the health benefits of nitro coffee. You can also get nitro coffee kegs delivered to you by a coffee service company specializing in home and office deliveries.
If you regularly participate in diets, nitro coffee is an example of a healthy beverage you can take at any time. It’s one of the popular coffee brands among health-conscious people, such as vegans. And if coffee is not your thing, buy nitro green tea. Starbucks nitro green tea latte is one of the popular nitro-infused coffee substitutes on its beverage menus.
How to Brew Nitro Coffee at Home
Although making nitro cold brew necessitates the use of special equipment, it is not an impossible brew to make from home. It’s an interesting coffee to serve friends whenever they visit. You can also brew it at the office during a business meeting.
You can prepare nitro coffee by making a cold brew first and then infusing it with nitrogen (N2) using a nitrogen cartridge or whipped cream dispenser. That seems like something only a barista can do, but you can do it too. Here are the instructions;
- Start by preparing the equipment needed to start the cold brew process. These are a coffee grinder, a French press, or an air-tight mason jar container.
- Grind the coffee to a medium-coarse texture using the coffee grinder and mix the ground coffee with cold water. You may also use room temperature water. Half a cup of coffee grounds in two cups of water is the correct ratio to use when making a cold brew.
- Leave the coffee and water mixture to steep in an air-tight jar for up to 24 hours to develop the flavors. Do not allow any air to get into the jar to prevent oxidation, which can change the flavor of your coffee.
- After the steeping time is over, use a mesh strainer lined with a paper coffee filter to strain out the coffee grounds. You can then pour it into a whipped cream dispenser, seal it, and charge it with a nitrous oxide cartridge to infuse it with nitrogen.
- Shake the jar for thirty seconds, and leave the coffee to settle for another thirty seconds until it feels cold to the touch. Your brew is now ready to drink.
- Pour your nitro cold brew coffee into a glass at an angle to ensure it maintains its frothy head and creaminess. Enjoy!
If you think following these instructions to make nitro coffee is difficult, watch a video on Youtube. You’ll find many videos on making nitro coffee at home that give you a hint or two concerning how to brew this healthy coffee. Pick one recipe and practice it repeatedly to become an expert nitro coffee home brewer.
You can also purchase a nitro coffee brew kit to ease the process of preparing nitro coffee from home. These kits typically include a stainless steel keg, nitrogen cartridges, a cartridge holder, a tap handle system, a pressure valve, and hoses.
With time, you may learn to prepare large batches of cold brew in advance using the recipe we have given you or others you learn along the way. But if brewing nitro cold brew is too time-consuming for you, purchase a few cans of nitro coffee in cans and store them in the refrigerator.
Have You Tried Nitro Cold Brew?
The term nitro cold brew, cold brew is everywhere. Have you heard of it? It is featured on websites such as Healthline and Thrillist as a trendy coffee brew for its health benefits and unique taste.
If you haven’t had a glass or can of nitro cold brew yet, try it and see what the fuss is all about. As the popularity of nitro coffee continues to grow, you will find it in gas stations, restaurants, bars, and grocery store shelves all over the US.