Nitro cold brew is a kind of cold brew coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas. This technique was originally used by homebrewers making beer during the craze of the early 2010s.
The coffee comes out with a layer of foam on the surface, and some say it resembles Guinness.
In 2016 Starbucks added a nitro cold brew to their menu in the Seattle Reserve Roastery. This quickly became a popular drink, second only to their classic Caffe Latte.
Why bother with the nitrogen?
Brewing coffee in a normal way can result in some flavor being lost through the process of oxidation. This is when the oxygen reacts with the flavor compounds of the coffee.
Adding nitrogen to the coffee removes oxygen and helps to preserve the intense coffee flavor. Nitro cold brew is sweeter and smoother to drink than regular cold brew.
Can you add milk?
Nitro cold brew is designed to be consumed as a black coffee. Even if your typical order is a vanilla latte, it is worth trying straight nitro cold brew first.
The texture is often described as creamy due to the gas bubbles and the flavors are altered.
What will you need to make nitro cold brew at home?
You will need some cold brew coffee. This is the core element of your drink, so you should try to make a high-quality coffee.
If you don’t have a coffee grinder at home, purchase your favorite bottle of cold brew from the store.
If you are making your own cold brew, you will need 1 cup of coffee beans, a grinder, a coffee filter, 2 large jars, and 5 cups of filtered water.
You should use filtered water as coffee is almost entirely water. For cold brew, beans sit in the water for a while and so filtered water is the best choice.
You will also need some pressurized nitrous oxide cartridges. The number you will need depends on how many coffees you wish to make. Each coffee will require one cartridge.
The next thing you need to get is a whipped cream dispenser. This is a metal canister to which you add 0.28 oz gas bulbs. These pressurize the contents of the canister and the gas is dissolved into the liquid inside.
They contain a dispenser valve on a levered pressure release system. This forces the pressurized liquid out of the nozzle.
This forces the gas bubbles contained in the liquid to expand and turns your coffee into the velvet-textured delight we all love.
Finally, you will need a glass to pour your coffee into. If you have time and want to make your experience more luxurious, place a glass in the freezer for half an hour.
There are no words for how much better a cold glass makes this drink.
How do you make nitro cold brew?
Get your equipment together in one place. Dilute your cold brew in a 1:1 ratio with water. Remove the dispenser head from the container of the whipped cream dispenser and pour in the coffee.
Reattach the dispenser head. Select one of the nitrous oxide cartridges and place it inside the white charger holder next to the nozzle.
Gently and slowly, begin screwing the charger holder back onto the dispenser. When you hear some gas escaping, stop screwing.
Shake the entire dispenser vigorously for about 30 seconds. This is to mix the liquid and gas together. Turn the dispenser upside down and point the nozzle into your glass.
Press the lever to allow the coffee to escape. Marvel at what’s happening and then enjoy your nitro cold brew.
How to clean a whipped cream dispenser
You should first take off the charger holder and the now empty gas cartridge. Unscrew the head of the dispense and remove the silicone insulation.
Pull out the head valves – if it does not come out easily then leave it.
Gently clean all sections of the dispenser head using wasm soapy water and a soft sponge.
Once clean, set all pieces to one side and allow them to dry. You can wash your canister by hand using a bottle brush and warm soapy water.
Most of them are dishwasher safe, although we recommend checking this before you run them through!
Once all of the pieces are dry, reassemble the dispenser and store until it’s time for your next coffee.
How to make cold brew
Your first step is to weigh out your coffee to water in a ratio. You can experiment with the ratios according to personal taste, but a good starting point is 1:5 by weight.
Using the coarse setting grind the coffee beans. They need to be coarse as they must steep for a long period of time. If the grind is too fine, over-extraction will occur and the resulting coffee will taste bitter.
Place the ground beans into the large jar and pour over the water. Stir well and leave to steep. If you have space, this should be done in your refrigerator.
How long you should steep your coffee varies depending on the coarseness of the grind. Start with 16 hours and go from there. Anywhere between 14 and 20 hours is normal.
If the steeping time is too long, your coffee will have a bitter taste. If it is too short, your coffee will be too weak.
Using the coffee filter, strain the cold brew into the second large jar. Seal, and store in the refrigerator.
Most people will make drinks with about half the volume being their cold brew, the other half milk or water. Serve over ice where possible.
What if there’s no space in the refrigerator?
You can steep the coffee at an ambient room temperature, however, when the steeping period is over the cold brew must be chilled.
If you are steeping your coffee at room temperature, we suggest filling a large bowl halfway with ice. Place your jar inside this to create an ice bath to keep the coffee cool.