AN ULTIMATE GUIDE TO NITRO COFFEE
I'm sure you must have heard of nitro coffee, the next step in the evolution of cold brew. This relatively new trend is sweet and has a rich texture. Nitro coffee is everywhere- from cans that line in shelves of grocery stores to menu boards in local cafes. You can even make it at home. In this guide, we will walk you through what nitro coffee (Otherwise known as nitro cold brew coffee) is, how to make it at home, and some really useful tips.
WHAT IS NITRO COFFEE ANYWAY?
Nitro coffee is simply cold brew coffee infused with colorless and odorless nitrogen. (now you know where the name came from, winks). It comes out with a thick layer of cream-like coffee at the top. In other words, Nitrogen gas which is also used for varieties of beers creates small bubbles in the coffee and gives it that creamy texture you see. The nitrogen forms a dense head that is similar to what you see in a cup of beer.
Nitro coffee is mostly served in a transparent glass to showcase this impressive micro-foam effect. Nitrogen not only changes the texture of the drink but also helps to remove some of the bitterness and acidity, which makes it palatable to some coffee drinkers.
People love nitro coffee because it has nearly 30% more caffeine than regular drip coffee. Just like all cold brews, nitro coffee has low acidic contents. So, if you are struggling with acid reflux, or you simply don't like acidic coffee, then nitrogen coffee is the answer you have been looking for.
WHAT DOES NITRO COFFEE TASTE LIKE?
Just like the typical cold brew, the nitro brew is extremely smooth and low in acidity but it leaves with a unique silky mouthful. Some say it has the mouth feel of a Guinness beer, without the alcohol of course. This will make it a well-suited sipping experience for you rather than just gulping down for a speedy caffeine kick.
Also, the nitro foam hits your tongue in particular places that give you the perception of sweetness without needing extra sweeteners. Besides, most fans of nitro brew drink it black, they rely on the natural creaminess of the coffee rather than the addition of sugar or dairy. But if you have a sweet tooth, you can enrich the coffee with vanilla syrup or sweet cream.
WHERE DID NITRO COLD BREW START?
The first-ever nitro cold brew coffee was made in 2013, it was a guarded secret that Mike Mckim the owner of Cuvee Coffee in Texas wanted to keep from anyone else. He knew it was a great idea from the onset. The difficulty he had was trying to convince people to try something new. After this, it has boomed as a millennial favorite since its reintroduction in 2016.
HOW TO MAKE NITRO COLD BREW AT HOME
- Nitro coffee is no different than cold brew. Making nitro cold brew at home is far less complex than it sounds. These are some sure steps to give you the right kind of flavor. The brewing process starts with buying whole coffee beans, and grinding them to a medium grind. Your choice of coffee roast and coarseness of the grind is very important.
- Buy fresh specialty coffee that will deliver better results than old or cheap coffee. Once you have this, you are ready to start the brew.
- You are also going to need a cream whipper or mini keg if you want to make nitro coffee at home.
- Get a plastic or a large glass that is big enough, something that can enter your fridge. Measure your coffee and grind. Put the coffee grounds into the container first. The standard ratio is 1:5 ratio for each batch. This is one measuring cup of coffee grounds to 5 cups (1.18 l) of water. (Filter the water you are using, never use tap water)
- After putting one cup of the coffee grounds into the container, then add the 4 cups of filtered water, make sure all the grounds are covered. The coarse coffee grounds and water need to be mixed with a spoon, then cover the container with a lid. Use a jar that won't allow air to affect the steep process.
- Put the mixture into the fridge and allow it to steep for 12 to 24 hours. After 12 hours, stir up the contents by shaking the container, it will help the coffee grounds mix well with the water.
- After the coffee has steeped for 12 to 24hours, it is ready to be filtered. You’ll need a second container and a fine kitchen filter. If you don't have a filter, you can use a mesh cloth over a standard strainer. Make sure the filter you are using is clean. After the first filtering, you may need to do it again if there are still bits of coffee grounds in the concentrate, so make sure all grounds are taken out of the concentrate.
TIME TO INFUSE IT WITH NITROGEN
- After you’ve filtered the coffee, it is ready to be transformed into nitro coffee. Nitro coffee is best served cold. Simply pour the cold-brewed coffee into a whipped cream container or a mini keg. Dilute ½ cup of cold brew with ½ cup of water, pour your coffee into a whipper and seal it tightly.
- Charge with one shot of nitrous oxide and shake the dispenser a bit for about 20-30 seconds.
- Discharge the gas using the trigger, then you can pour your cold brew over ice.
- Add any sweetener or additional cream the way you want (watch the sugar intake though).
- Serve immediately then keep the remaining cold brew in the fridge all week for when you want to make more nitro cold brew.
MINI KEG OR WHIPPED CREAM DISPENSER FOR NITRO COLD BREW?
Most people see mini-kegs as a better and more reliable solution because they can hold more gas and coffee. One advantage of the mini keg is that oxygen is eventually purged out the first time you use a gas cartridge and it seals in all the nitrogen cold brew flavor. These machines are costly when compared to the whipped cream method. If you plan on making more nitro coffee brew, you are better off getting a mini keg.
WHIPPED CREAM DISPENSER
This a cheaper and simpler method but requires one or two degassing purges to make sure that there is nothing inside the canister when you serve the brew.
SOME TIPS FOR MAKING NITRO BREW COFFEE
Shake properly: The micro keg has gas inside after every cartridge is spent, so you should always shake the keg before every use. This will allow the coffee and the gas to mix properly. When you open the tap, you will hear gas escaping before the frothy liquid starts to flow out to the tap. Shaking properly ensures that there’s more evenly distributed froth to each glass that you pour.
Purge out air when you want to add more cold brew: When you need to add a new cold brew to the keg, screw on the lid, nice and snug. A fresh nitrogen canister can charge a vessel but it won't remove excess oxygen. So, put a cap under the tap and slowly put it, allowing the gas to escape. When you see that no gas is escaping anymore, it means that the keg is purged. This means you can now shake the keg to mix both the coffee and the nitrogen. This will make your nitro cold brew coffee have a cascade effect after it is poured.
Oxygen just looks like beer foam when it is still inside your mini keg. The cascade effect only happens when oxygen isn't mixed into the coffee, allowing it to flow to the bottom of the cap like a waterfall instead of rising. With all the tips we have given, you can make nitro variations at home. But bear in mind that you don't need to add anything else to your nitro cold brew so it doesn't disturb the flavors.
You can also add some alcohol or cream: To some nitro brew lovers, there is something magical about adding a bit of alcohol to coffee. Why not spice it up with some rum or add conventional liquors. You don’t need expert equipment to make your nitro cold brew. These bonus tips we have given should help you get better results when you start making your nitro brew.
You can invite close friends or family for a refreshing afternoon or late evening drink without needing to break the bank or visit a coffee shop each time.