You may have come across the term "nitro cold brew" and may be wondering what a nitro cold brew exactly is?
A Little Background
Nitro brew was introduced to the world when a beer-loving homebrewer decided to experiment with a new technique sometime in the early 2010s. Now one of the world's biggest trends, Nitro brew can be found in cans in grocery shops and served at many cafes. Once the word was out, it became famous with coffee aficionados in no time, and even Starbucks started selling the beverage in 2016, where it became the 2nd most popular drink.
So much hype around this drink makes you wonder what it's all about. Exactly what's a nitro cold brew, what's in a nitro cold brew, how is it different from a regular cold brew, and how is it made? Let's get into it.
What's a Nitro Cold Brew?
First, let's see what a cold brew coffee is and how it's made. A cold brew coffee is simply coffee where the coffee grounds are steeped in water at cold temperatures for an extended period of time. It is made by soaking coarsely ground beans in water at low temperatures for twelve to twenty-four hours. Water at room temperature can also be used; however, cold water is recommended.
After the grounds have been steeped, they are filtered out of the coffee using a sieve or a paper filter. The resulting coffee concentrate is then diluted with water or milk and served chilled over ice or blended with ice.
This style of making coffee originated in Japan, and slow drip cold brew is known as "Kyoto style coffee" in most of the world. This kind of coffee is less acidic than normal methods of brewing coffee since the coffee beans are never in contact with hot water.
And yet, a nitro brew has a frothy milky layer, very close to the foam in a beer. "Why is that?" you might wonder.
How A Nitro Cold Brew Is Made
Nitro cold brew is made by taking the cold brew coffee concentrate, and nitrogen is infused into the cold brew concentrate through a pressurized valve. The addition of nitrogen bubbles gives a different texture and mouthfeel to the coffee. It also adds a head of foam to the coffee and sort of makes it looks like a beer. To preserve the nitrogen in the coffee, nitro cold brew is often kept in a keg, just like beer! Because the liquid is infused with nitrogen gas, it gets its signature velvety texture which is very smooth on the tongue.
While the popularity suggests that the drink must be delicious, small businesses might find it quite challenging to make. Many faucets, tubes, hoses, gas tanks, and kegs are required to make nitro coffee. Not to mention, the sellers of the drink will have to bear a hefty bill for the equipment.
The Taste Of A Nitro Cold Brew
Coffee made from the nitro cold brew is thick, velvety, and sweet without sugar or dairy. This has made the drink very popular amongst the health-conscious too as it's indulgent and creamy while having only five calories per serving. It’s also keto and vegan-friendly.
The process of making something "nitro" is also relatively easy, with the right equipment and technique. One could make it at home just by following simple tutorials since all it needs is a nitrogen whip; it's quite cheap as well. So, the next time you visit a cafe, be on the lookout for a nitro brew and enjoy its "cascading" effect.