Are you a nitro coffee enthusiast and looking to find ways to make it yourself? Perhaps you have seen nitro cold brew advertised at your favorite local coffee shop and wonder how it's made or how it differs from regular cold brew coffee.
In either case, we've got you covered!
If you love cold brew coffee, you know that there's nothing quite like its nitro cold brew variation. But what's the best way to make it? How do you dispense it in the comfort of your home? We'll answer these questions and review the best nitro cold brew systems we could find in the market today.
Let's get started!
What is Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro cold brew is a type of coffee that has been infused with nitrogen gas. Its popularity stems from the nitrogen infusion creating a smoother, creamier texture and a richer flavor. Since it's formed under light pressure, nitro cold brew is often served from a tap, similar to a draft beer stout creamer faucet. The thick, creamy head appeals to many coffee drinkers.
How is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Made?
Nitro cold brewing refers to infusing nitrogen gas into regular cold brew coffee or a cold brew concentrate for you fiends out there.
This process can be done using a nitro-infusion device like a whipped cream dispenser charged with nitrogen cartridges, by pressurizing a mini keg full of regular cold brew, or by simply adding a can of nitrogen-infused coffee to your existing cold brew. The nitrogen gives your coffee a creamy texture and rich flavor.
You must first create a delicious cold brew batch before you add in the nitrogen infusion. We go more into how to make cold brew coffee like the pros in another post.
How can I make Nitro Coffee at Home?
Imagine making nitro cold brew coffee at home like you might picture baking and decorating a cake. But, of course, when baking a delicious cake, you need first to master the cake recipe.
Similarly, making delightful nitro cold brew requires you to master making cold brew coffee at home. I recommend using regular cold brew over a cold brew concentrate for your own nitro cold brew recipe.
The nitro infusion part is like adding the icing if the icing was a gas that slowly dissipates from the liquid.
What are the Hurdles to Overcome for Perfect Nitro Cold Brew?
As we covered before, to nitrogen infuse cold-brewed coffee, you force nitrogen gas to combine with a liquid using pressure. The process is similar to carbonating a cola or root beer.
The difference is that nitrogen requires less pressure to infuse than carbon dioxide. That is to say, you can also infuse nitrous oxide for a different texture, but the best nitro cold brew coffee maker for home use will call for using nitrogen cartridges.
In either case, you are working with a short-lived beverage. The nitrogen will naturally separate from the cold brew when no longer under pressure. As nitrogen dissolves, the smooth, creamy texture becomes less apparent as well.
Keeping the Pressure
So the most significant hurdle so far is keeping the nitrogen infused into the cold brew coffee as long as possible until you are ready to dispense it. This is where you need a nitro coffee machine with an adjustable pressure release valve to allow just enough gas and coffee to pour out of the faucet.
So how do you keep the pressure?
At this point, we could talk about kegging systems and the best stout creamer faucet you can use for your bar, but we are looking for the best nitro cold brew for making nitro coffee at home.
Also, there are other hurdles to tackle that are equally vital to successfully containing and dispensing this beverage at home.
Keeping it Cold
To maintain the shelf-life of your cold brew coffee, you need to keep it cold. Unless you live in the far north where the outdoor temperature is around freezing, you'll need a way to regulate the temperature to keep your nitro cold brew from developing molds.
Unfortunately, many traditional methods for keeping contents under pressure cold require much more space than a standard refrigerator can offer.
So how do you keep your pressurized nitro cold brew coffee cold?
Now you are asking the right question.
And using ice is not ideal, since the ice can disrupt the bubbles which make the mouthfeel experience so unique.
It's not just about keeping the contents under pressure. You also need a form factor convenient enough to store in a residential fridge. Otherwise, you have to look into kegerators, which we will look at next.
Should I Buy Kegging Equipment as a Nitro Hobbyist?
The short answer is: Probably Not.
Nitro cold brew is a premium product that sells at a premium price. Typical in a commercial setting, the cost of making cold brew is nearly two times more than that of an iced coffee. The higher the cost of operations, the higher the market price.
Sometimes your local coffee shop or café can get a full kegging setup on loan or lease and then pay for the delivery of a finished cold brew product already kegged.
Our research shows that the cost of a delivered keg of cold brew is about $140.
This amount excludes any additional delivery charges and the cost of nitrogen. To understand these costs, let's do a break-even analysis.
A 5-gallon keg would yield 640 oz of product, costing about $140. That means it will cost you $3.50 for a 16 oz serving. This price happens to be right around what it costs you to buy a nitro from Starbucks now.
Take into consideration the cost of making your own cold brew with coffee beans you buy in bulk, or your favorite coffee grounds from the coffee shops you frequent most often. For us, that cost is about $50 per month.
Still, you'll also need to invest in a 20 cubic foot nitro tank and refills. Each nitrogen tank costs $140, and each refill about $30.
You can keep a keg pressurized with nitro coffee at 40psi emptying it at the end of the month like clockwork or leave the nitro there for up to 3 months before spoiling.
This routine may not seem realistic for you, but for simplicity, let's assume that you and your family would consume 30 total grande-sized nitro cold brew beverages each month.
Let's also assume that each grande nitro cold brew costs $4 each (though price varies).
Given that you would be willing to drive to Starbucks every day and buy up to 30x nitros every month, it would take you about 21 months to break even on your purchase of a kegerator system.
Think about this for a moment.
Is the cost of starting up your own nitro cold brew dispensing station worth the initial outlay? If you expect to require this much go-juice, then yes. If you plan to sell it, then yes. However, if you casually consume nitro cold brew, you may want to consider a less costly solution, which make up the products tested in this roundup.
There are benefits to investing in a kegerator system over continually buying it. However, most consumers will greatly benefit from small keg systems and whipped cream dispensers for their nitro cold brew coffee fix.
Let's now take a look at some of the best nitro cold brew coffee makers you can currently snag on Amazon.
What is the Best Nitro Cold Brew System for Home use?
The best nitro cold brew machine for you depends on how much nitro cold brew you plan to drink, how much space you have to store the container, and the features you want.
You'll also have to brew cold coffee regularly to refill your nitro coffee machine.
So first, let's tackle the options you have for compact nitro cold brew systems and then get into what's available.
Types of Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers for Home Use
Whipped Cream Dispenser Style
One popular style is the whipped cream dispenser, often used in professional settings. These pressurized handheld devices are designed to infuse nitrogen into your cold brew concentrate, giving it a thick and creamy mouthfeel on the spot.
Another style of compact nitro cold brew maker is the miniature keg. These devices are designed to hold a small amount of concentrate. They often come with a tap to easily dispense your nitro cold brew with the help of nitrogen cartridges.
The 4 Things to Consider when Buying a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Machine
When shopping for a nitro cold brew coffee machine, there are four groups of features to consider before spending anything:
Size & Capacity
The machine's footprint is essential, mainly if you have limited fridge space. If you have a small fridge, choose a smaller system. Most machines either service or come with a 48oz to 64oz capacity. If you have a large family or entertain often, choose a device with a larger capacity.
Design & Ease of Use
If you desire to match a particular aesthetic, some are available that offer less of a "frat boy" look. Also, some designs pay more attention to usability because they are easier to use than others. So if you are newer to brewing nitro cold brew coffee, consider ease of use as one of your buying factors.
Price & Warranty
You get what you pay for when it comes to pressurized beverage dispensers. If you have a lower budget, expect a lower quality dispenser. Likewise, higher-quality manufacturers will generally offer support and a limited warranty with their machines. At the same time, lower-end models do not provide support beyond a short return period.
What's Included & What Else is Required
Consider the attachments and accessories you'll receive with your purchase versus the added costs of replacement parts, filters, and cartridges. Also, how universal are the parts? Does the product only work with parts sourced by the same manufacturer?
What is the Best Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker?
If you're a cold brew enthusiast, then you know that having the best nitro cold brew coffee maker can make all the difference in terms of what you can experience with it. There are a lot of different options on the market, but we've done the research and found our favorite one for home use.
HB Brewing Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
If you want to make your nitro cold brew at home, consider the HB Brewing Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker. This mini keg dispensing system is perfect for home brewing cold brew nitro.
It comes with an upgraded faucet, pressure-relief valve, and a leak-proof design. Plus, the device is made in the USA from quality engineering materials.
Its tight o-ring seals help preserve freshness, so your coffee will always taste great. The high-quality engineering ensures that this nitro cold brew dispenser will last for years.
The upgraded stainless steel stout faucet and pressure-relief valve make it easier to dispense your nitro cold brew coffee. This mini-keg design is excellent for small spaces, and it looks at home on any kitchen countertop.
While the capacity is less than we'd like in comparison to other coffee makers we tested in this roundup, it does produce some of the best nitro cold brew without spitting.
Although this is potentially an ideal nitro dispenser, it is not exactly a cold brew maker. However, if you brew your batch first and then add it to the keg, infusing a dispense nitro cold brew will work well. Still, you may need to pull out the instruction manual from time to time. However, in particular, this one presents no additional difficulty compared to other mini-kegs of this type.
My Morning Brew Nitro Cold Brew System
While I wouldn't necessarily call it a "Premium" product, the My Morning Brew Nitro Cold Brew System can make nitro cold brew coffee at home without driving to the nearest Starbucks. But if you like to go, this nitro dispenser is portable so that you can take it with you on road trips.
It also comes with a pressure relief valve to be sure your coffee is always fresh and delicious. Plus, this Nitro Cold Brew System is priced lower than other comparable options. So if you are price-conscious, the My Morning Brew could be the right choice for your situation.
We really enjoy how consistent the pours are and how the capacity is able to produce more nitro cold brew than most of the others we tested.
The My Morning Nitro is designed explicitly for N2O cartridges over N2. You'll have to use twice as many N2 chargers to infuse this device properly, and one thing is clear to us, and that is N2 cartridges are just better overall than N2O for this sort of thing.
GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Maker
The pressure valve included with the GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Maker helps preserve coffee's freshness and flavor. In addition, the double filtration system of the uKeg significantly reduces the amount of sediment in your nitro cold brew coffee.
One of the features we love is how the double-wall vacuum insulation of the uKeg keeps our nitro coffee cold for hours, which is great for parties. After we're finished, the fact that there are few removable parts of the uKeg makes it easy to use and clean. It's also relatively compact, making the uKeg ideal for early morning road trips.
If you are wondering how to make nitro cold brew work with your daily grind, this uKeg nitro brew Machine is one of the best nitro coffee makers we have seen.
One of our biggest complaints is that the nitro cartridges do not come with the system but must be purchased separately. Since N2O chargers are much more common and less expensive, we tried using some generics we found on the internet. Still, it turns out you have to use GrowlerWerks branded N2 cartridges due to the size of the infusion chamber. It's only a bit disappointing, though, because they appear to be the perfect size for a single growler of nitro. Also, N2 cartridges make for a better nitro infusion over N2O.
NitroPress Nitro Cold Brew Dispenser Kit
The NitroPress is a great way to get your cold brew coffee fix on the go. It is a portable machine that comes as a kit, making it great for beginners.
The device is also great for baristas, as it can use nitrogen, nitrous oxide, or carbon dioxide beverage infusions. The small size is perfect for traveling, and the machine comes with 10 N2 chargers, making it easy to get started.
This nitro system works pretty well at replicating barista-quality nitro, but its capacity can be an issue. You can convert your existing cold brew into nitro, but not for holding pressure over a long duration.
Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Home Keg Kit
With the Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker Home Keg Kit System, you can enjoy fresh, frothy, and creamy nitro cold brews anytime. The compact and lightweight system is easy to take with you on the go, and the included tap plug and carry bag make it easy to transport and store.
In addition, the lifetime warranty ensures that your investment is protected, and the excellent support from the company ensures that you'll always be able to enjoy your cold brew.
One of our biggest complaints about the Royal Brew is that it takes a few tries to get right, and it's a bit of an art form. The product is a bit taller than we expected, so we had to rearrange the shelves in the fridge so it would fit.
NutriChef at Home Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The NutriChef NCNTROCB10 Nitrogen Coffee Machine Dispenser System is an excellent addition to any kitchen. It comes with a pressure valve and a convenient storage keg that make it easy to keep your coffee cold and fresh.
The upgraded faucet makes it easy to dispense your coffee. The stainless steel construction ensures that your coffee tastes great. The compact design makes it easy to store in your fridge. The pressure-relieving valve kit makes it easy to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature.
You'll either have to go back and forth to the fridge to access this keg or put it in a bucket of ice because it is not insulated to keep your nitro cold. You shouldn't expect your nitro to spoil for a few days. Still, warm nitro just doesn't offer the same experience. We noticed that the faucet in our tester held some coffee, causing it to leak from it between pours. We used the drip cover to prevent drips from pooling in the fridge between uses.
Bubblingplus Surprise Bottle Portable Nitro Infuser System
The Bubblingplus Surprise Bottle is great for making nitro cold brew coffee or carbonated beverages. It is easy to use and comes with a slow-flow tube that keeps leftover drinks pressurized for 3 days.
The bottle is also compatible with 3 cartridge types and is ready to go in 1 minute. Additionally, the Bubblingplus Surprise Bottle works with wine and beer, making it a versatile tool for any party or event.
Biggest Drawback: Coffee only stays suitable for 3 days. Cartridges not included. This machine is on the expensive end of the spectrum for its small capacity. Still, its durability and portability make it worth the cost.
Why does my nitro brew coffee maker drip?
If your coffee maker is dripping, it could be for a few different reasons. The most common cause is that the coffee filter is full or needs to be replaced. Another possibility is that the coffee grounds are too fine and are clogging the filter. Finally, it could be that the water reservoir is empty or low. These issues are easily fixable and should not cause any long-term problems.
Is Nitro cold brew bad for your health?
There is no definitive answer to this question as the jury is still out on the matter. Some people believe that Nitro cold brew is healthier than other types of coffee because it has less acidity. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Other people believe that Nitro cold brew is not good for your health because it contains high levels of caffeine. Again, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to consume Nitro cold brew.
Can I add creamer to the nitro brew coffee maker?
Yes, you can add creamer to your nitro brew coffee maker. However, we recommend using a non-dairy creamer as it will not curdle when mixed with the Nitro cold brew. Additionally, avoid using sweetened creamers as they may adversely affect the taste of your coffee.
What is so special about nitro cold brew?
Nitro cold brew is unique because it is a smooth, creamy, and refreshing alternative to regular coffee. Additionally, Nitro cold brew contains less acidity than regular coffee, making it easier on your stomach. Finally, nitro will give you an energy boost as nitro cold brew has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee.
As you can see, while nitro cold brew coffee is all the rage, it can be hard to find an excellent nitro coffee dispensing system. Not all nitro cold brew makers are created equal. Some are difficult to use or don't produce competitive results for coffee shops. We've done the research for you and found the best nitro cold brew coffee options for home use, so all you have to do is enjoy your delicious cold brew.
After testing and reviewing some of the available nitro cold brew coffee makers, we've determined that the best for home use is the uKeg Nitro by GrowlerWerks. It's easy to use, produces great-tasting nitro cold-brew coffee, and looks like it belongs in any cold brew lover's kitchen.