Cold brew coffee is all the rage nowadays, and coffee shops are taking the concept one step further with nitro cold brew. You may have seen nitro cold brew at your local Starbucks, but drinking a glass of it every day can add up in cost, and besides, it’s a lot more fun to make nitro cold brew at home!
image credit: Flickr, Fiona Henderson
What is nitro cold brew?
As the name suggests, nitro cold brew is cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. The nitrogen infusion gives it a bubbly, smooth, and foamy mouthfeel, as well as contributing a little bit of sweetness without having to add any sugar.
It’s actually a win-win situation because cold brew coffee is not that intense anyway, and when mixed with the smooth, foamy nitrogen infusion, you have a trifecta of sweetness, smoothness, and coffee that tastes too good to describe in words!
Interestingly, nitro brews were originally used in beers – foamy beers like Guinness use nitrogen for the foaming effect because nitrogen bubbles are smaller and stay trapped in the liquid for longer, compared to carbon dioxide bubbles, which are much bigger and will go flat much sooner.
The concept of nitro was then applied to cold brew coffee and a whole new beverage was born. You can theoretically apply this principle to any drink you want: it will work with iced tea and even fruit juices.
How to make nitro cold brew coffee
You can’t have nitro cold brew without cold brew, so the first step is to make yourself some good cold brew coffee!
Making cold brew coffee
To make cold brew coffee, get your hands on some freshly roasted coffee beans. Next up, grind the beans to a very coarse consistency. Since cold brew is a slow brewing process and in cold water, coarse grounds work the best. Too fine grounds will result in muddy and over-extracted coffee, and we don’t want that!
Next, measure out your coffee grounds. There’s a lot of ratios you can use, but my preferred ratio is 1 part coffee to 8 parts water, so if you’re using 1000 ml of water, use 125 grams of coffee.
If you want a stronger brew, use a 1:4 ratio and put 250 grams of coffee instead. Either way, you’ll be diluting the coffee before you drink it, so 1 liter will last a while, or should at least be enough for quite a few people!
You can use any kind of vessel to brew, but I like to use a french press since it contains the grounds very nicely and is easy to pour and clean up from.
Put the coffee grounds into the french press, and pour the cold water over the grounds. If the grounds float to the top, give it a very gentle stir one or two times just to evenly wet the grounds.
Place the top of the french press on, but do not plunge!
Put the french press into your refrigerator and let it brew for 12 to 24 hours.
After the time has passed, very gently plunge down. Be careful here, as you don’t want to agitate the grounds. That can end up releasing acidic compounds and messing up your beautiful coffee.
Pour the coffee out into a jug or mason jar, and store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Nitro cold brew with whipped cream dispenser
You don’t need any fancy, expensive kegs or systems to make nitro cold brew. You can actually make it using a whipped cream dispenser that you can buy for comparatively cheap. You’ll need to refill/purchase new cartridges every now and then, though.
- UPGRADED DESIGN - SERVE CUSTOM-CRAFTED TREATS WITH NO PRESERVATIVES with this 1-pint artisanal cream whipper. Home cooks and professional chefs can top ice cream sundaes, make rich chocolate and savory mousses, gourmet coconut whipped cream, soups, sauces, foams, frothed lattes, flavored seltzers, and nitro coffee. Easily make tasty, zero-carb keto whipped cream by omitting sugar or substituting with natural sugar substitute. You can even make fluffy scrambled eggs and homemade butter!
- SAFETY FIRST - DURABLE ALL-ALUMINUM CANISTER AND HEAD with silicone grip and reinforced threads is durable and lightweight for daily use (safer and more durable than those with plastic heads) and not cause hand fatigue. Black satin finish keeps your dispenser looking pristine for years to come. INCLUDED THREE DECORATING TIPS give your pies, cakes, waffles and hot/cold beverages a memorable, professional presentation. Your homemade desserts/savory dishes will look as beautiful as they taste.
- EASY-CARE DESIGN allows you to simply rinse out the container and use the included cleaning brush to clean the intricate decorating tips and dispenser head. Store all your accessories and SPARE N2O HOLDER AND SILICONE SEAL in the INCLUDED MESH STORAGE BAG.
- STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS, USE TIPS AND RECIPES will have you dispensing gourmet artisanal desserts, savory toppings, and butter with NO PRESERVATIVES in just minutes. For butter: shake dispenser 25-30 times, release N2O, open dispenser, and remove with spatula. Compatible with all brands of 8-gram N2O cream chargers (NOT INCLUDED AS IT IS PROHIBITED BY AMAZON). Note: Use CO2 cartridges ONLY when using the dispenser as a soda siphon for carbonating beverages or acidic sauces, but NOT with cream.
- RISK-FREE PURCHASE: Express Money-Back Guarantee and Warranty to ensure your ongoing satisfaction with your whip cream dispenser. If your EurKitchen Whipped Cream Dispenser does not perform to your expectations, return it for a no-questions-asked 100% refund of your purchase price or contact us at Rohego for an immediate and expedited replacement. Our customer’s satisfaction is our #1 priority!
In order to make nitro cold brew with a whipped cream dispenser, pour your diluted cold brew(ready to drink) into the whipper and seal it. Charge the canister with one shot of nitrous oxide(see below) and give it a good shake for 30 seconds.
Discharge the gas using the trigger, and once the gas is fully discharged, you can open the canister and pour your nitro cold brew into a glass.
Pour it over ice for best enjoyment.
- HEALTHY & DELICIOUS: Each whipped cream charger contain 8 gram of food grade Nitrous Oxide. It can produce 0.5 liters(around 2 cups)of whipped cream. You could enjoy the healthy and fresh whipped cream at home easily. No canned, no chemical. The taste of homemade whipped cream is much delicious than canned.
- NO GREASY RESIDUE: The whip cream cartridges are made of 100% recyclable stainless steel. Due to cleaned in a proprietary facilities, the casings have no metal fragments nor oily substance, and they do not introduce odors or oils taste to your whipped cream.
- EASY CULINARY TOOL: It is so convenience to install the N2O charger on the whip cream dispenser and make perfect whipped cream. There is no difficult for you to made Vanilla or Chocolate whipped cream; Creme de Menth Or Baily’s Whipped Cream; Hot or cold savory foams, cocktail form, airy sauces, mousses and so on. You could become a great chef instantly.
- WIDELY COMPATIBLE: FOMAGAS whip cream canisters are compatible with all 8-gram cream whippers maker on the market, such as Creamright, iSi North America, Whip it, Best Whip, MSCREAM, Leland, Animato, EurKitchen, Innovee-Home, etc.
- NO WORRY PURCHASE: Advanced production technology and perfect quality assurance system permit the high quality for each N2O whipped cream charger. Please let us know if you meet any problem on our product, we will reply you within 24 hours.
Best home nitro cold brew system
If you want to go for something between a kegerator and a fully DIY system like the whipped cream canister, there are some interesting nitro brew systems available for relatively budget prices that do a great job.
1. Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker Home Keg Kit System
The first model on the list is the Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Keg. This is a really handy countertop design that is modeled after beer dispensing systems.
A combination of the gas and a stout beer faucet creates a really nice and smooth foam on top of your coffee.
You will need to use two cartridges of nitrogen per batch(standard 2 gram cartridges, not included with this product), and in one go, you can use around 32 to 40 ounces of coffee.
You can also use nitrous oxide cartridges as well, but if you’re using those, you’ll only need a single cartridge for a 40 ounce batch.
Even though the keg itself is 64 ounces, we say you can brew around 40 ounces because you can only fill the keg around 50-75% for getting the best results.
Bear in mind that you need to wash this kit by hand! DO NOT place it in the dishwasher.
Before every use, add a mix of hot water and one tablespoon of baking soda and give the keg a good shake to get the water everywhere.
Let it soak for 10 minutes and tap the water off. Use the included brush to clean, and give it one more rinse. Allow everything to dry completely before using it.
To use this, add your diluted cold brew coffee into the keg. Attach the faucet, and then fix the first nitro cartridge in place. You’ll need to screw it in until you hear a hissing noise, meaning the gas is being discharged.
Shake the keg well(with the lid closed, of course), and add the second cartridge. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and then start dispensing coffee from the tap!
In all honesty, you’re not going to make nitro cold brew with this every single day as it is quite an effort to set up and use this device, but if you’re entertaining guests or are making cold brew as a special once in a while event, this is definitely a neat gadget to have!
However, since the tank is pressurized, you can hypothetically make a batch and slowly drink it over the course of a few days.
- NITRO BREW: Enjoy the great taste of Nitro Brew coffee, without paying at a coffeeshop each time! Enjoy unlimited home brews: by adding Nitrogen, your cold brew coffee will taste better and stay fresh MUCH longer!
- GREAT TASTE: Modeled after stout beer dispensing systems, featuring a special gas blend and stout beer faucet that work together to create a super-smooth, rich body with a foamy top similar to your favorite draught beer. Enjoy a frothy iced coffee without the need of creamer, dairy, or sweeteners!
- THE ORIGINAL & #1 MODEL: the ONLY model that includes a tap plug PLUS a carry bag! Beware of copycats, we're the original model, check our videos and great reviews! Attractive, durable, food grade stainless steel 64 oz keg; coffee spear with unique pressure relief valve; upgraded stout creamer faucet; Nitrogen (N) cartridge holder casing; Faucet/Tower Combo Wrench; Tap Plug to Stop Drips; Custom Carry Bag; Cleaning Brushes; Plastic hose
- COMPATIBILITY: Use either two N (Nitrogen) Cartridges, or one N20 (Nitrous Oxide) Cartridge, for best results use 2 x NITRO by Best Whip Nitrogen cartridges (Search B07MZKBK6H on Amazon) or any Nitrogen cartridge (not included). Also works with N2O Nitrous Oxide! The Royal Brew is compatible with most 2g nitrogen capsules. Important: To allow gas to form, only fill the keg up to 50%-75% maximum with coffee!
- LIFETIME WARRANTY: American owned with 100% USA support! Message us 24/7 via Amazon for full support and service! Check the product videos on this page or search Royal Brew on youtube for troubleshooting videos
2. uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker is our favorite nitro cold brew maker, and it’s only #2 on the list because it is a tiny bit more expensive.
This is a really well-designed pressurized keg that can keep your cold brew fresh for weeks on end, though I’m pretty sure you’ll end up finishing it much sooner 🙂
You can brew the coffee in this too using the included filter bags, but many of you may find it easier to just brew your cold brew the way you usually do it and fill it in the uKeg only for adding the nitro shot.
You can store up to 12 cups of coffee in the keg at once, and to charge it up, you’ll need 16 gram N2O(nitrous oxide, DO NOT USE NITROGEN ONLY CHARGERS).
While the keg can be stored in the refrigerator, the double-walled vacuum insulation can keep your coffee nice and cold all day long, which actually makes this keg ideal for taking on a picnic or an outing.
If you’re worried about cost over the lifetime of this product, it’s actually not that bad:
Consider that one 8 ounce cup of nitro cold brew is $4-5 at most establishments.
One NO2 charger is ~$3, and can charge 50 ounces of coffee, around 4 12 ounce servings. Add to that around $3 for enough ground coffee for 50 ounces of water, and for $6, you can make 4 servings. Compare that to $16-20 for 4 servings at a shop!
- MAKE NITRO AT HOME – the uKeg Nitro brews and infuses to make delicious nitro cold brew Coffee, at the convenience of home.
- SAVE MONEY – make nitro cold brew for a fraction of the retail cost.
- NITRO GAS CHARGERS NOT INCLUDED – uses 16g nitro chargers sold separately.
- STAYS COLD – double-wall vacuum insulation keeps brew cold All day. Stainless steel vessel is durable and portable.
- STAYS FRESH – the regulator cap automatically maintains pressure to keep nitro fresh for weeks. Perfect for making, storing or pouring cold brew.
Nitro vs Nitrous Oxide
To conclude, I think it’s worth talking about the difference between nitro and nitrous oxide. By using pure nitro, you’re actually limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the coffee, preventing oxidation and resulting in a better tasting coffee.
In face, you can limit oxidation by using fresh beans, grinding just before brewing, and infusing nitro right before serving. This will result in one of the cleanest cups of coffee.
Using nitrous oxide produces an aesthetically pleasing coffee but by introducing oxygen you’re speeding up the oxidation process.
The golden rule for coffee as we’ve said time and time again is to drink what you enjoy, so try both and see what you like better 🙂
Last update on 2020-04-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API