Whilst some of you may have heard of Nitro Cold Brew, a lot of you won't have. When we first set out to design and produce our Nitro Cold Brew system, we weren't even sure ourselves. Since then we have experimented and tinkered, sprayed the coffee bar with coffee, learnt a lot more about kegging than we ever thought we would and eventually, created a product that we are extremely happy with and sells better than we ever could have hoped. In this article, I hope to answer a few questions and shed a light on a product still in it's infancy.
What exactly is cold brew?
This is a great question, let's ignore the nitro for now and talk about what exactly cold brew coffee is. To boil it down to it's essence, Cold Brew is coffee brewed in cold water. Whilst there are a number of different ways of doing this, the end result is normally the same. Due to the rate of which the many different aspects of coffee brew in different temperatures, it results in a cold black liquid that is low in acidity and bitterness but can often capture a lot of the floral and more delicate flavours in any given coffee. It can be used to create a strong cold coffee without being bitter, or to create a lighter coffee which captures the essence of the coffee bean.
And the Nitro?
The "nitro" part of Nitro Cold Brew is short for Nitrogen. Not Nitrous Oxide as many people think and some people hope. To be more precise, it is short for Nitrogen Gas, not the flashy but dangerous beast that is Liquid Nitrogen. We infuse it into the Cold Brew in a keg at high pressure and force the resulting product through a screen in a stout faucet, the kind you'd pour Guinness from, to break down larger bubbles in the liquid and add texture to the resulting cold brew coffee.
How does it affect the coffee?
Let me answer this question by first telling you how it doesn't affect the coffee and as such, why we use it. It doesn't add any flavours to the liquid unlike carbon dioxide, a gas normally used in keg systems; and it does not carbonate it, also unlike Co2. It also has the added benefit that, due to it's lack of oxygen, it can be used to purge the air from the coffee keg, keeping the coffee tasting fresh for much longer.
The reason that we infuse it into the cold brew coffee is so when the coffee is forced through a screen with five small holes in, as you'd find in a stout tap, it breaks down the larger nitrogen bubbles into smaller ones, creating a cold brew coffee that is much like Guinness without the feeling of a meal in a pint glass.
Most importantly, how is it?
Well we absolutely love it. Before the drink has settled, it is extremely creamy, almost like drinking a cold coffee with a dash of cream. As the cascade settles, you are left with a coffee that looks identical to a pint of Guinness. Starting with a thick creamy head, you are then hit with intense and fragrant black coffee, balanced with very little acidity or bitterness. It is almost dangerously drinkable and packs just enough caffeine punch to easily stand in for your morning Flat White.
For anyone who'd like to know more, we will be posting a thorough how-to guide with recipes and equipment recommendations. In the mean time, we are more than happy to speak to coffee bar owners who'd love to give this incredible product a chance to boost sales and get their customers talking. Head on over to our About page to send us a message.