Nitrous cold brew coffee is one of the latest trends to hit the world of coffee. It’s also the perfect idea to try if you find yourself only looking to your coffee cup as a quick caffeine fix. The nitrous cold brew coffee method outlined below will really make you fall in love with coffee as an art and as a science. Plus, it tastes great too!
Nitrous cold brew coffee, often shortened to simply nitro cold brew or nitro coffee, is a drink you may have seen in cans on your local store’s shelves. It has even appeared in chain coffee stores in recent years, with Starbucks introducing it in 2016. Estimates say the drink now finds itself in nearly half of all coffee shops in the nation.
Just who exactly discovered this method of brewing coffee we can’t be sure. However, some say it appeared at Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas and Stumptown in Portland, Oregon in 2013. Others claim New York to be its birthplace. Regardless of its origins, nitro cold brew is definitely a popular drink.
But what is nitro cold brew coffee, and why is it so popular?
What is nitro cold brew coffee?
Nitro cold brew coffee is one form of the many cold brew coffee techniques that exist today. While some people can’t imagine coffee as anything but hot, cold brew coffee offers a unique flavor experience. It’s usually a softer drink, with less bitterness and more natural sweetness. Plus, it’s perfect on a hot summer’s day!
But nitro cold brew takes things to a different level. Instead of just cold brewing your coffee, you add some pressurized nitrous gas into the mix. We all know that pressure is the key to making great espresso, but how does pressure set nitro cold brew apart from other café favorites?
Why nitro cold brew over regular cold brew?
Well, the first key difference is that it’s pressurized nitrogen gas that’s used in nitrous cold brew. This is in contrast to the simple pressure of water in an espresso machine. More specifically, it’s nitrous oxide gas, which is found in cream chargers used for whipping cream. This will be important when we talk about how you can brew nitrous cold brew coffee at home below.
This pressurization is also applied after the cold coffee has been brewed, rather than being used as part of the brewing process. The nitrous gas passes through the cold brew, and this leads to the formation of tiny bubbles. These bubbles then give the cold brew a lovely velvety texture.
As we noted earlier, people love cold brew because of the natural sweetness, with low acidity and bitterness. When you combine this flavor profile with the velvet texture created by the pressurized nitrous gas, you get a very unique looking – and tasting – cold brew that looks a lot like a Guinness.
The cascade of milky bubbles that flows down from the froth on the top of the drink is what makes nitrous cold brew a true sensation. It even serves well as an alternative to milky, sugary coffee drinks if you’re trying to stay away from them. The natural sweetness paired with the silky texture makes for an excellent alternative.
While the drink is delicious, it does take a bit of effort and some special equipment to make good nitrous cold brew coffee. It can cost upwards of $1500 for cafés to get in on it, and this drives the price up for you as the consumer. That’s why it’s more cost effective to just make your own!
But it’s worth mentioning that nitrous cold brew does still require a bit of investment if you plan on making your own at home. You’ll need to invest some money into buying a cream whipper and some chargers. But more importantly, you’ll need to invest some time into the process as well!
As with all great coffee, patience is key. This is all the more prevalent with cold brew coffee. Our method below describes how you can make nitrous cold brew coffee at home using traditional cold brew preparation methods.
If you try to speed things up or try to use chilled coffee that was originally brewed hot, you’re not going to have a great time or get a great nitrous cold brew at the end! So, be patient, follow the steps below and you’ll be sure to create a wonderful nitro brew at home.
How is nitro coffee brewed?
Nitro coffee is brewed in a few different steps. You’ll first want to start with a cold brew, and there is a lot of freedom in how you want to do this. Starting with your coffee, you’re going to want to go for a coarse grind over a fine grind when brewing any kind of cold brew.
If you go for too fine a grind, you’ll get an over extracted mess at the other end of the relatively long brewing time. Because you use cold water, the brew time is much longer than when you use hot water. We recommend a brew time of anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, depending on the temperature.
Just how long you decide to brew for will come down to personal preference. It will probably take a few tries to get this right, but that’s part of the fun! As long as you’re using fresh coffee, and start with cold water, you’ll have this process down fairly quickly.
In terms of the ratio of coffee to water, this also varies a lot. The most common way of preparing cold brew is to create a coffee extract. This is a strong coffee brew that requires dilution before you drink it, usually at a 1:1 ratio with water.
To make this extract, you can use anywhere from a 1:2 to a 1:4 ratio of coffee grounds to water. However, if you don’t want to make the extract and just want to make a cold brew that’s ready to drink as it is, this ratio can be something closer to 1:8.
This will take some experimentation, and it will also depend on the temperature at which you brew your mixture. You can brew cold brew at room temperature, or you can stick it in the fridge. For room temperature, 12 hours should be enough. In the fridge, it can take up to 24 hours.
How to make nitrous cold brew coffee
- Coarsely ground coffee
- Cold/room temperature water
- Large glass jug or jar
- Cream whipper
- Cream chargers
1. Prepare your cold brew
You can prepare your cold brew according to the tips above and your own personal preference. When it comes to nitrous cold brew coffee, the volume or strength of coffee isn’t too important, as it’s the science behind the pressurization that really makes the drink so special.
So, brew your desired quantity of cold brew using your chosen method. If you brew a concentrate, dilute this before moving onto the next step, with equal parts water or until it tastes the way you want it to. If you prepared a full-strength cold brew instead, you can just add this straight to your cream whipper.
2. Pressurize your cold brew
Add your cold brew to your cream whipper and seal it off. Charge your cold brew concentrate with one cream charger, then shake it for 30 seconds. Discharge the gas from the cream whipper, open it up, and pour your coffee into a glass with ice and enjoy!
Good Fika’s Final Thoughts
Be sure to track everything you do in the Good Fika app. This way you’ll be able to follow your own methods and make any necessary changes to get a consistently delicious nitrous cold brew every time.