Coffee infused with nitrogen, also known as Nitro Coffee, is a cold brew coffee that has been charged with nitrogen gas. This infusion creates a smooth, creamy texture and enhances the natural flavors of the coffee. Nitro Coffee is often served on tap and enjoyed without any added milk or sugar due to its unique taste profile.
Have you ever heard of coffee infused with nitrogen? It may sound like a strange concept, but it’s actually becoming quite popular in the coffee world. Nitro coffee is a unique and delicious way to enjoy your favorite caffeine fix.
But what exactly is nitro coffee, and how does it differ from regular iced coffee or cold brew? In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of nitro coffee and why you should give it a try. So grab a cup of joe (or nitro!) and let’s dive in!
Nitro Coffee Origins
The origins of nitro coffee can be traced back to Ireland, where Guinness Stout was first served on tap with nitrogen gas instead of carbon dioxide in the 1950s. This method gave Guinness its signature creamy texture and smooth taste.
In the late 1990s, a company called Cuvee Coffee based in Austin, Texas experimented with infusing cold brew coffee with nitrogen gas after being inspired by their love for beer and wanting to create something similar for their customers who didn’t drink alcohol. They were one of the first companies to serve nitro cold brew on tap at farmers’ markets and music festivals.
It wasn’t until Stumptown Coffee Roasters introduced Nitro Cold Brew at their Portland cafes in 2013 that nitro coffee gained mainstream attention. Since then, many other specialty roasters have followed suit and now offer this unique beverage as part of their menu offerings both locally and globally.
The Science Behind Nitrogen Infusion
The science behind this process lies in the solubility of gases in liquids. Nitrogen, being an inert gas, does not react with the coffee and remains dissolved within it for a long time.
When nitrogen is infused into cold brew coffee under high pressure, it creates tiny bubbles that give nitro coffee its signature creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel. This effect occurs because the small bubbles created by nitrogen are much smaller than those created by carbon dioxide (CO2), which is used to carbonate soda drinks.
The size of these tiny bubbles also affects how they interact with our taste buds when we drink nitro coffee. Because they are so small, they create a sensation similar to drinking cream or milk without actually adding any dairy products.
In addition to creating a unique texture and flavor profile for your cup of joe, there’s another scientific reason why people love nitro-infused beverages: Nitrogen has less acidity than CO2 or oxygen (O2).
Brewing Process of Nitro Coffee
The difference lies in the infusion of nitrogen gas into the cold brew. To make nitro coffee, you’ll need a keg or a canister with a tap and some nitrogen cartridges.
First, start by making your favorite cold brew concentrate using coarse ground beans and water. Once you’ve brewed your concentrate, let it cool down before transferring it to your keg or canister.
Next, charge the container with nitrogen gas by inserting one or two cartridges depending on its size. Shake well for about 30 seconds to ensure that the nitrogen is evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving on tap through a stout faucet system which helps create small bubbles giving Nitro Coffee its signature creamy texture and cascading effect when poured into glassware. It’s important not to confuse carbon dioxide (CO2) with Nitrogen (N2).
While CO2 creates carbonation in drinks like soda pop; N2 does not dissolve easily in liquids but instead forms tiny bubbles creating an ultra-smooth mouthfeel without adding any sourness as CO2 would do if used instead.
Nitrogen Gas + Cold Brew Coffee = Nitro Brew Coffee
The process involves brewing the coffee using cold water and then adding nitrogen to it under high pressure. This infusion creates a creamy, smooth texture that is similar to beer or Guinness on tap.
The use of nitrogen in nitro brews has become increasingly popular due to its ability to enhance the natural flavors of the coffee while also creating a unique mouthfeel. Nitrogen bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide bubbles, which gives nitro brews their signature velvety texture.
While traditional iced coffees can be diluted with ice or milk, nitro coffees don’t require any additional ingredients because they already have a rich and creamy taste profile. Since they’re served chilled without ice cubes melting into them like regular iced coffees do over time; you get an undiluted flavor experience from start-to-finish.
Flavor and Texture Differences
The nitrogen infusion creates a creamy, velvety mouthfeel that is often compared to the texture of beer foam. This smoothness comes from the tiny bubbles created by the nitrogen gas, which also enhances the natural sweetness of the coffee.
In terms of taste, nitro coffee tends to have a slightly sweeter and less acidic profile than regular iced coffee or cold brew. This is due in part to its smoother texture but also because nitrogen gas doesn’t dissolve as easily in liquid as carbon dioxide does (which is used for carbonated drinks).
As such, nitro-infused coffees tend not to be as fizzy or sharp-tasting.
Taste and Texture of Nitro Brew
The nitrogen infusion creates a creamy, velvety mouthfeel that is often compared to the texture of Guinness beer. This smoothness comes from the tiny bubbles created by the nitrogen gas, which give nitro coffee its signature cascading effect when poured.
In terms of flavor, nitro coffee tends to have a sweeter taste than regular cold brew due to its lower acidity levels. The lack of bitterness in nitro brew allows for more subtle notes in the beans’ natural flavors to shine through.
Health Benefits and Concerns
The nitrogen infusion process can also reduce the acidity of the coffee, making it easier on sensitive stomachs. However, some concerns have been raised about the safety of consuming nitrogen-infused beverages.
One concern is that nitro coffee may contain higher levels of caffeine than traditional iced or cold brew coffees due to its concentrated nature. This could potentially lead to negative side effects such as jitters or insomnia in those who are sensitive to caffeine.
Another concern is related to the use of nitrogen gas itself. While generally considered safe when used properly, inhaling high concentrations of pure nitrogen can be dangerous and even deadly in extreme cases.
Is Nitrogen-Infused Coffee Better For You?
The nitrogen infusion process reduces the acidity of the coffee, making it easier on the stomach and teeth. Nitro brews are often served without added milk or sugar, which can reduce calorie intake.
However, it’s important to note that nitro brews still contain caffeine and should be consumed in moderation. While some studies suggest that moderate caffeine consumption may have health benefits such as improved cognitive function and reduced risk of certain diseases like Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer, excessive caffeine intake can lead to negative side effects such as anxiety, insomnia or heart palpitations.
Furthermore, while nitrogen-infused coffees may have less acid than regular brewed coffees they still contain natural acids found in all types of coffee beans which could cause discomfort for people with sensitive stomachs.
Is Nitrogen-Infused Coffee Safe to Drink?
The good news is that nitrogen gas itself is not harmful to humans in small amounts. In fact, nitrogen makes up about 78% of the air we breathe every day.
However, there are some concerns when it comes to the safety of nitro coffee. One issue is with the brewing process itself – if proper sanitation practices aren’t followed during production or handling, bacteria can grow and cause illness.
Another concern has to do with caffeine content. Nitro coffee may have higher levels of caffeine than regular brewed coffee due to its concentrated nature and longer steeping time.
Comparison With Traditional Coffee
Firstly, the brewing process is different – while traditional hot coffee is brewed using heat and pressure, nitro brews use cold water and nitrogen gas. This results in a smoother taste profile that’s less acidic than regular iced or hot coffees.
Another difference between the two types of coffee lies in their texture. Nitro brews have a creamy mouthfeel due to the tiny nitrogen bubbles that form during infusion.
Traditional coffees don’t have this same texture unless milk or creamer is added.
It’s worth noting that nitro brews tend to be more expensive than regular iced or hot coffees due to their unique brewing process and presentation on tap at cafes.
Cold Brew Vs. Nitro Coffee
While both are delicious, they have some key differences.
Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for an extended period of time (usually 12-24 hours). The result is a smooth, low-acidic concentrate that can be diluted with water or milk before serving.
Cold brew has a rich flavor profile and tends to be less bitter than traditional hot-brewed coffee.
Nitro Coffee takes the process one step further by infusing the cold-brewed concentrate with nitrogen gas. This infusion creates tiny bubbles that give the drink its signature creamy texture and velvety mouthfeel.
Nitrogen also enhances the natural sweetness of the coffee while reducing bitterness.
While both drinks share similarities in their brewing methods, nitro-coffee’s unique texture sets it apart from traditional cold brews. Because nitrogen-infused beverages tend to have smaller bubbles than carbonated drinks like soda or beer do not cause bloating or discomfort after consumption as much as other carbonated beverages might do.
Popular Nitro Coffee Brands
Some of the most popular nitro coffee brands include Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, and Peet’s Coffee. These companies offer a variety of nitro brews with different flavor profiles to suit every taste preference.
Starbucks was one of the first major chains to introduce nitro cold brew on tap in 2016. Their Nitro Cold Brew is made from their signature cold brew blend infused with nitrogen for a smooth texture that cascades like Guinness beer when poured into a cup.
Dunkin’ Donuts also offers its version called “Cold Brew Latte” which is served over ice or as Nitrogen-infused Cold Brew for an extra creamy texture.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters are known for their high-quality specialty coffees and were early adopters of nitrogen infusion technology back in 2013. They offer several varieties including Original Nitrogen-Infused Cold-Brewed Canned Coffees (Original & Chocolate) that can be found at grocery stores nationwide.
La Colombe’s Pure Black cans are another great option if you’re looking to try out some pre-made options available online or at your local grocery store chain such as Whole Foods Market. Peet’s introduced its Baridi Black canned line-up last year which includes two flavors: original black roast plus almond milk latte.
At-Home Nitro Coffee Options
One popular method is using a nitro cold brew maker, which allows you to make and dispense your own nitro coffee at home. These machines use nitrogen cartridges to infuse the cold brew with nitrogen gas and create that signature creamy texture.
Another option for making at-home nitro coffee is using a whipped cream dispenser or soda siphon. While these tools were not designed specifically for making nitro coffee, they can be repurposed by adding cold brewed coffee and charging it with nitrogen cartridges.
For those who prefer simpler methods, there are also pre-made cans of Nitrogen-infused coffees available in grocery stores or online retailers that can be enjoyed straight out of the fridge without any additional equipment needed.
DIY Nitro Coffee: At-Home Methods
While it may seem like a complicated process, there are actually several ways to create delicious and creamy nitro brews in the comfort of your own kitchen.
One popular method for DIY nitro coffee involves using whipped cream dispensers or soda siphons. These devices allow you to infuse cold brew with nitrogen gas and produce that signature velvety texture without any fancy equipment.
Another option is to use a keg system specifically designed for home use. These kits typically include everything you need to get started, including the keg itself, nitrogen cartridges, and even instructions on how to properly pour your homemade nitro brew.
Of course, if you don’t want to invest in any special equipment just yet but still want that smooth texture of Nitrogen-infused Coffee at home – there’s always an option! You can try adding some milk froth or whipped cream on top of regular cold-brewed coffee as an alternative way of achieving similar results.
Making Nitrogen-Infused Coffee at home requires some experimentation and patience but can be incredibly rewarding once perfected.
Can You Make Nitro Coffee At Home?
The good news is that with the right equipment and ingredients, making your own nitro brew is entirely possible! While it may seem intimidating at first, creating your own nitrogen-infused cold brew can be a fun and rewarding experience.
To make nitro coffee at home, you’ll need some specialized equipment. One of the most important pieces of gear is a whipped cream dispenser or soda siphon that can handle pressurized gas cartridges.
You’ll also need high-quality cold-brewed coffee and food-grade nitrogen cartridges.
Once you have all the necessary tools on hand, making your own nitro brew becomes relatively straightforward. Simply pour your chilled cold-brewed coffee into the whipped cream dispenser or soda siphon along with one or two nitrogen cartridges (depending on how much liquid you’re working with).
Shake well for about 30 seconds to infuse the gas into the liquid properly.
After shaking vigorously for around half-a-minute let it rest in refrigerator for few minutes before serving so that foam settles down completely. While there are other methods out there for creating homemade Nitrogen-Infused Coffee without using any special equipment like French Press method but they don’t produce as creamy texture as produced by Whipped Cream Dispenser Method.
DIY Nitro Coffee Equipment
While it may seem daunting to create the perfect nitrogen-infused cup of joe in your kitchen, there are several DIY nitro coffee equipment options available that make the process much easier.
One popular option is purchasing a nitro cold brew maker. These machines use pressure to infuse nitrogen into cold brew concentrate, creating that signature creamy texture and cascading effect when poured.
Another option is using whipped cream dispensers or soda siphons to charge pre-made cold brew with nitrogen gas.
For those on a budget or looking for an even simpler method, handheld Nitrogen chargers can also be used as an alternative way of charging up homemade batches of Nitro Coffee without investing in expensive equipment.
Nitro Coffee Recipes
Did you know that you can also make nitro coffee at home? With the right equipment and ingredients, it’s easy to create your own nitro brews in the comfort of your kitchen.
One popular recipe for homemade nitro coffee involves using a whipped cream dispenser filled with nitrogen gas. Simply fill the dispenser with cold brew concentrate, charge it with nitrogen gas, shake well, and dispense into a glass over ice.
The result is a creamy and smooth cup of joe that rivals any café-bought version.
Another option for making nitro coffee at home is by using Nitrogen-infused cans or bottles available in stores or online retailers. These pre-made cans are convenient as they do not require any additional equipment other than opening them up before pouring into glasses filled with ice cubes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different flavors such as vanilla bean or caramel syrup to add some sweetness to your drink without adding sugar! You can also mix things up by adding milk alternatives like almond milk or oat milk instead of regular dairy products.
Environmental Impact of Nitrogen-Infused Coffee
The process of infusing coffee with nitrogen requires a significant amount of energy and resources, which can have negative consequences for the environment. Many nitro coffees are served on tap from kegs or cans that may not be recyclable.
However, some companies are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact by using sustainable practices in their production processes and packaging materials. For example, some brands use compostable cups made from plant-based materials instead of traditional plastic cups.
As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact associated with their food and beverage choices, it’s likely that we’ll see an increase in demand for eco-friendly options when it comes to nitro coffee as well.
The Future of Nitro Coffee
With its smooth texture and unique flavor profile, nitro coffee is a refreshing alternative to traditional iced coffee or cold brew. As the demand for nitro coffee continues to grow, we can expect to see more cafes offering this specialty drink on their menus.
There are already several companies that specialize in producing nitrogen-infused beverages for commercial use. These companies offer everything from pre-made kegs of nitro brews to specialized equipment designed specifically for making nitro drinks.
As technology advances and becomes more accessible, we may even start seeing at-home machines that allow consumers to make their own nitrogen-infused beverages with ease. This could open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to experimenting with different flavors and brewing methods.
The future looks bright for Nitrogen-Infused Coffee as an industry trendsetter due its unique taste profile which appeals both casual drinkers as well as connoisseurs alike who seek out new experiences in their daily caffeine fix routine!
Is nitrogen infused coffee good for you?
Yes, nitrogen infused coffee is good for you as it is a healthy drink made from coffee, a primary ingredient, and infused with N2 gas, which is a safe inert gas.
Is it OK to drink nitrogen infused drinks?
Yes, it is OK to drink nitrogen infused drinks, as nitrogen gas is completely safe to consume and is even a better option than carbon dioxide.
What does nitrogen infused drinks do for you?
Nitrogen infused drinks provide a sweeter taste without added sugar or sweeteners and eliminate acidity in beverages like beer and coffee.
How is Starbucks coffee infused with nitrogen?
Starbucks coffee is infused with nitrogen by combining their signature Cold Brew, slow-steeped for 20 hours, with nitrogen to create microbubbles and a frothy texture as it pours from the tap.
How does the taste of nitrogen-infused coffee differ from regular coffee?</strong>
Nitrogen-infused coffee tastes smoother and less acidic than regular coffee.
What is the process of infusing coffee with nitrogen?
The process of infusing coffee with nitrogen involves saturating cold-brewed coffee with nitrogen gas to create a creamy, smooth beverage with a velvety texture and a rich taste.
Are there any potential side effects of consuming nitrogen-infused coffee regularly?
Yes, potential side effects of consuming nitrogen-infused coffee regularly include increased heart rate, stomach discomfort, and disrupted sleep patterns.