The new kid on the block where it comes to coffee brewing has to be nitro cold brew and all the variations that go alongside this. If you’re a keen coffee nerd then you’ll likely know all about this drink already but if this is a new concept for you then buckle up, you’ll want to know all about this!
Nitro cold brew isn’t just limited to artisan coffee houses and large chain coffee shops like Starbucks. You can actually make this coffee at home very easily and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
All you need is some cold brew coffee, a nitrogen-charged dispenser, and that’s it! Here is everything you need to know about this brew method and why you should absolutely try it at the next chance you get!
What Is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?
If you’ve ever seen a stout beer like Guinness being served at a bar you’ll be familiar with the cascading foamy appearance the beer has as it’s poured from the faucet. This is due to the nitrogen gas that’s infused into the liquid during serving to give it a thick creamy texture.
Nitro cold brew coffee is simply regular cold brew coffee that’s served in this manner. The coffee is brewed and then stored in a keg, ready to be served through a tap that is charged with nitrous oxide. The effect you get is very similar to stout beer served on draught, a coffee with a cascading foamy head and thick texture.
What Makes It So Special?
The benefit of nitro cold brew is its unique taste and texture. Cold brewing gives coffee that’s low in acidity and sweet to drink. Combine this with nitrogen and you get a creamy, sweet coffee that has only 5 calories per serving and no added sugar. It has a thick and satisfying mouthfeel and is an extremely refreshing way to enjoy coffee.
Where Can You Get This Coffee?
Originally this drink was only found at artisan coffee houses but lately, it’s been taking the mainstream by storm. Large chain coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer this drink but only at stores that have the beer tap set up. If you go into a coffee shop and see they have one of these taps at the counter then you can be pretty sure they serve nitro cold brew coffee. The barista will serve it in smaller volumes than most coffee drinks because the cold brew concentrate is a lot stronger than your average cup of joe.
You can buy nitro cold brew ready to drink in cans. It’s pre-infused with nitrogen and can be enjoyed sipped straight from the can or poured into a glass. It’s recommended that you don’t add ice to the drink as this spoils the nitrogen effect. The best way to served canned nitro cold brew is to put a glass in the freezer to get it really cold and frosty prior to using. Pour the coffee into the cold glass and enjoy!
Making Nitro Cold Brew Coffee At Home
To make your own nitro cold brew at home you need cold brew coffee concentrate and a way to charge this with nitrogen. You can buy cold brew coffee from grocery stores, coffee shops, or online retailers like Amazon but nothing beats homemade. It’s surprisingly easy to do and doesn’t require much equipment at all. Here’s how to make your own cold brew at home.
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee
Cold-brew is simply coffee grounds steeped in cold water for at least 8 hours (but usually longer than this). You can use any kind of coffee beans you like best. If you can source these from a local roaster they will be high-quality with better flavor and aromas due to the freshness of the beans.
You need the coffee ground to a very coarse consistency. You can do this at home using a burr grinder or make sure you choose a cold brew or french press grind. Coffee shops and coffee roasters will usually offer to grind the beans for you.
When brewing any kind of coffee, be it hot coffee or cold, it’s always best to use filtered water. Filtration removes impurities and the better the water tastes the nicer your coffee will be.
Add coffee grounds to your cold water at a 1:7 ratio. It’s best to use a glass pitcher or large mason jar to steep the coffee as glass doesn’t impart any unpleasant tastes or odors into the coffee.
Give the mixture a stir and let it sit overnight either at room temperature or in the fridge. Most of the extraction happens after 8 hours but to get the fullest taste from your coffee, it’s best to leave it for 12 hours or more. I find around 18 hours to be the cut-off before the coffee starts to taste bitter.
Once the brewing stage has finished you need to pass the mixture through a coffee filter to remove the grounds. You can use a paper filter or cheesecloth or even use a french press to filter it.
This gives you cold brew concentrate. You can top it up with cold water to enjoy as it, heat it up and top it with hot water to enjoy a regular coffee, or pass it through a nitro tap and make nitro cold brew coffee.
Here are some great options for making your cold brew coffee into nitro cold brew.
How To Make It Into Nitro Cold Brew – The Best Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers Reviewed
1. Top Choice – Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Brand: Royal Brew Est. 1987
- Tap Plug
- Carry Bag
- Lifetime Warranty
- Different Color and Size Options
- Canisters not included
The lovely keg design of the Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker makes it an attractive statement piece to have in your home. It comes in a matte black finish or stainless steel and there are two size options (64 and 128 Oz) to suit anyone’s needs.
The tap plug helps avoid the issue of the coffee dribbling out after serving and a carry bag keeps the keg scratch-free and good as new. It comes with cleaning brushes to help keep it clean and a faucet combo wrench to make attaching the tap simple and easy. It also comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
Simply fill the keg up to 50-75% (you need an air gap for the pressure) and charge it with nitrogen cartridges. Shake the keg and then leave it to settle for 30 minutes. Add a second canister and repeat, leaving in the fridge for 1 hour. The 128 oz option will need up to 4 canisters.
The downside with this option is the canisters are not included so make sure you order these as well otherwise the device is not usable.
2. Runner Up – GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- All in one system
- uKeg Tool Included
- Protective Bag
- Stainless Steel
- Canisters are hard to source
This option is a bit more pricey but it’s the only all-in-one system available to brew your coffee and serve it nitrogen-infused! The keg is designed so you add fresh filtered water and a coffee bag of fresh coffee grounds.
The device is left so the coffee brews in the fridge overnight and the coffee bags are removed the next day. Add some more water to dilute the concentrated coffee up to the fill-line in the keg.
Simply charge the cap by adding a canister, screwing it onto the keg, and switch the dial to ‘infuse’. Shake the whole device for a minute and then turn the dial to ‘pour’. Serve into an ice-cold glass and enjoy your nitro cold brew coffee!
This option comes with a protective bag for storage and transport and a uKeg tool that makes it really easy to set up. Stainless steel is hygienic, rust-proof, and easy to keep clean and this device is really well built and durable.
The canisters are larger than the standard ones used for nitro cold brew coffee machines so can be tricky to source. You need 16g ones, not the usual 8g and these are not included when you buy the device. Overall, it’s one of the pricier options but what you get for your money is worth it.
3. Best For Single Serving – Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Kit by Nitroknox
Brand: Market Knox
- Includes 10 Pack Chargers
- Cleaning Brushes Included
- Easy To Use
- Small Capacity
If all you need is a single cup of coffee or you’re keen to try nitro cold brew without investing a lot then this is the perfect option. This small capacity nitro cold brew dispenser is inexpensive and comes with all the chargers and cleaning equipment you need to get started.
It uses pure N2 chargers to give a lovely frothy texture to your cold brew and these are the standard 8g sized ones so easy to get ahold of. All you need to do is add the coffee, screw the cap in place, install your nitro pod and shake it well. Serve immediately and enjoy!
This is defiantly one of the easier ones to use and you can even swap out the canisters to make whipped cream or carbonated drinks if you like. It’s the perfect choice for a household with only one coffee lover or if you want to try making this coffee without investing too much.
4. Best For On The Go – Hatfields NitroPress Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Brand: Hatfields London
- High-Pressure Nitro Spout
- Dishwasher Safe
- Many Uses
This is a real premium option for a versatile device that can do a lot more than just nitro cold brew. The high-pressure nozzle ensures a thick and foamy coffee every time and it can take N2 canisters to give all that texture without any metallic taste.
Nitrous oxide cartridges can also be used and these are better for whipped cream as they can give coffee the metallic taste mentioned. You can also use carbon dioxide canisters to make carbonated drinks.
This is an easy-to-use device and delivers nitro cold brew extremely quickly. You can store it in the fridge to ensure cold, refreshing coffee every time and it’s even dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
It’s portable and a really versatile option and comes with a year’s warranty. The only downside is it’s quite expensive but the build quality is really good. It’s simple, sturdy, and delivers a very tasty cup of joe.
5. Best Budget Option (Cream Whipper) – EurKitchen Professional Aluminum Whipped Cream Dispenser
Brand: Eur Kitchen
- Nitrogen Cartridges Not Included
- Metallic taste
By far, the cheapest option for nitro cold brew coffee makers is the simple use of a whipped cream dispenser. These devices do work well to give coffee that cascading texture and are inexpensive and durable.
The downsides are that the coffee does end up with a slight metallic taste given that N2O is used rather than N2. This device is best used with a fatty liquid as the N2O dissolves better in fats.
It’s a good option if you like to add cream or milk to your coffee before you turn it into the nitro cold brew as this helps reduce that metallic flavor. It’s a budget option for a reason as it’s not perfect but it does work if you’re keen to try this brewing method without spending a lot.
You don’t need to be a barista to make nitro cold brew coffee at home. All it takes is some patience and a coffee maker that can deliver nitrogen-infused drinks. The real benefit of this kind of coffee is the creamy sweet flavor without any added ingredients so it’s perfect for any diet from keto to vegan and everything in between.
The plus side of homemade coffee is you can tweak it to suit your needs. You can make it extra strong, mild, decaf, light, medium, or dark just by choosing different coffee beans. If you have any tips and tricks for making delicious nitro cold brew at home, let us know in the comments below as we’d love to hear from you!