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. Let’s have a look at how 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!
Step 1: Make 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.
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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.
Step 2: Use a whipped cream dispenser to foam it up
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.
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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.
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Last update on 2020-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API