What Is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?

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Nitro cold brew coffee is rapidly gaining popularity. It’s become a new way to serve up coffee and is loved by coffee fanatics and casual fans alike. When you watch nitro cold brew poured out, you might be wondering: What exactly is it, and why is it foamy? Read on to understand all you need to know about this fun and delicious type of coffee.

What Is Nitro Cold Brew?

Nitro cold brew is simply cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen. This is made possible by taking a keg of cold brew and infusing it with odorless, colorless gas. The result: a foamy coffee that is smooth and creamy.

People love nitro cold brew because:

  • It’s creamy, velvety, and foamy, just like a beer–without the alcohol.
  • It makes black coffee sweeter, almost like cream and sugar were added.
  • Seeing it poured is an experience due to its reverse cascade.


If you’re looking for a fun spin on your caffeine fix, order nitro cold brew the next time you see it on the menu!

How Was Nitro Cold Brew Invented?

Nate Armburst invented nitro coffee in Portland, Oregon in 2013. As he explored new ways to experiment with the taste and overall profile of cold brew, he came up with the process of adding nitrogen bubbles.

“Nitrogenating” is a process that brewers use all the time to make beer. To get the traditional fizz, brewers add nitrogen or carbon dioxide to their brews. Nitrogen gas is best for sweeter and smoother beers such as dark ales and stouts. Since coffee is enhanced by sweet additives like sugar, Nate Armburst’s nitrogen experiment worked.

How Nitro Cold Brew Is Made and Served

Nitro cold brew is made with traditional cold brew coffee. A pressurized valve that has a bunch of small holes releases nitrogen gas into the cold brew, which is typically contained in a keg. High pressure creates the creamy, foamy effect.

Machines have been made uniquely for serving nitro cold brew; you serve it straight from the tap, just like a beer. You don’t need to add ice since it is already cold. Being served coffee from the tap adds to the experience!

Nitro vs Traditional Cold Brew Coffee

What’s the difference between simple cold brew and nitro, and why should it matter to you? Here’s the deal: they are both cold coffees, but the main factor in their difference is texture. If you enjoy foam or don’t mind a beer look and taste to your coffee, nitro is your way to go. If you enjoy a simpler and more traditional coffee taste, stick with cold brew.

Cold brew also:

  • Has a lighter and cleaner profile
  • Is more flavorful and tastes like authentic coffee
  • Can be mixed with ice
  • Doesn’t contain quite as much caffeine

If you like cold coffee, the good news is you have a lot of options. Nitro is becoming more and more popular, and you’re likely to see a nitro tap not only at your local cafe but also in restaurants and even office break rooms. Try it the next time you see the tap!

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