While the popular coffee drink has been around since 2012 in coffee shops, most people still wonder what nitro cold brew means.
Sometimes shortened to nitro coffee, or nitro brew, nitro cold brew coffee is something that will definitely surprise you! It's seemingly mad-scientist appeal may have you wondering how it’s made, how it tastes, and why you should try it yourself.
WHAT IS A NITRO COLD BREW COFFEE?
Nitro brew coffee is cold brewed coffee infused with nitrogen (an odorless and colorless gas) . Does it sound strange already? Yes, of course!
Most might wonder why they should drink anything nitrogenated. Put down your iced coffee and read more to learn why. Let's start with the basics.
To make a nitro brew, you need these ingredients:
- Coffee Grounds
- A Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- A nitro-infusion device
While you may not realize it, gases are infused into cold beverages all the time. Carbon dioxide gives soda its bubbles, and its primary characteristic. That’s why we say that soda is carbonated.
Nitrogen infusions exist already in some popular draft beers. Most notably, Guinness has popularized its stouts by adding nitro to its recipes. You may have heard the term nitrogenated when people refer to how the beer is made, though the term hasn’t caught on as effectively as one might imagine.
These beers share a similar look and texture to coffee; you may also find coffee porters if you look hard enough.
Regardless of how beer has played a role in nitrogen-infused beverages, it didn't take long before someone pictured that creamy texture of a Guinness draught as equally suited for their cold-brew coffee.
And just like the popular beer, you won't find nitrogenated coffee everywhere, just yet. Up until recently, nitro coffee was not available unless you ordered it from specialty coffee shops. Now, however, you'll find it in cans at your supermarket. Just be ready to pay a hefty price for it.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT?
You’re probably wondering what's the big deal about nitro-infused cold brew? Does it have any special characteristics? After all, coffee lovers tend to have a favorite brand or type of coffee beans and prefer to make it the same way each time. Go to Starbucks, get an iced coffee, go to work. Rinse and repeat.
While we agree that it's difficult to veer off course when it comes to morning routines and coffee habits, sometimes we like to embark on a coffee exploration by trying something new. If you’ve never seen or tasted it before, you’re in for a treat.
Silky Foam Texture: That way, nitro drinks have a foamy character rather than a bubbly one. In a sense, your coffee beverage is going to look similar to a foam-packed glass of beer, though they won’t taste the same.
Most cold brews are smooth and have lower acidity, and nitrogen coffee is quite similar, though it does produce a silkier feeling in the mouth and for the taste buds. This happens because the nitrogen gas isn’t dissolved in liquids like carbon dioxide; therefore, the bubbles in nitrogen beverages are much tiny in comparison.
Smooth Creamy Flavor: While you can choose to add whatever options you like, most people who enjoy nitro cold brew like it black, either poured over ice or straight up. Creamy bubbles envelop this beverage enough that you don’t really need to add in sugar or dairy. Those who want it sweetened can still enrich the concoction with vanilla syrup or sweet cream.
It’s tough to describe the flavor if you’ve never had it. Of course, nitrogen doesn’t have a taste; primarily, it froths the coffee and adds more richness and creaminess. A sign of a quality batch tastes similar to your standard cold brew coffee, depending on the roast type, only smoother.
Many restaurants and bars have joined the nitro bandwagon, using it to make Pina Coladas or coffee floats. Nitrogen-infused coffee usually pairs well with a variety of flavors, unlike other coffee options. Search for coffee shops in your area to see if they carry it.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Primarily, nitro coffee is marketed and sold based on its unique visual appeal. The cascading ripples of foam falls as the head slowly dissipates in coffee infused with nitrogen. Since it’s poured from the tap, you'll notice the careening froth fill your glass.
The cascade effect happens because the beads of nitro are very small, so they are pushed around in your glass as the liquid flows. Once it is in the glass, it is likely to look like dark-colored stout with a large head.
IS NITRO COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU?
Many companies market nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee to gym-goers as a healthier alternative to a regular cup of coffee. Larger gyms even have it available for purchase at the juice bar, as well.
Of course, any time you infuse a drink with nitro, you get this creaminess and natural sweetness you can’t achieve without the gas. The foam hits your tongue in various places that give you the perception of something sweet.
As such, you don’t need to add sugar, cream, milk, or artificial sweeteners (removing calories and other chemicals). You don’t have to compromise taste to get a low-calorie morning beverage. So you could argue that it's better for your health than a latte, for example.
While not directly related to health, caffeine claims are a hot-button topic right now. People believe that caffeine in your diet promotes overall health.
A cup of nitro coffee has a higher caffeine content than a cup of regular iced coffee, primarily because it has less water. Hence, nitro coffee is an excellent way to boost your energy before a workout.
The nitro-infused cold brew coffee also has less acid than regular coffee, which means those who suffer heartburn, acid reflux, or a sensitive stomach, may find it easier to drink.
WHY DOES NITRO COFFEE HAVE LOWER ACIDITY?
The reason that nitro coffee has lower acidity than regular varieties is because nitro coffee is cold brewed. With nitro brew, the brewing style keeps the acid levels lower. Cold water ensures the heat-released acids stay within the coffee grounds.
If you haven’t tried nitro-cold-brewed coffee yet, you may want to give it a try. It may be harder to find, so you may have to search around for a company that carries it, or order cans of it online. We think you'll love to drink it over regular iced coffee.