How to Make Nitro Cold Brew Beverages: Coffee, Cocktails & More!
Nitro cold brew isn't just for coffee lovers -- it's a great way to add variety and creativity to your menu. From nitro cold coffee to cocktails and teas, we've got recipes that will help you create an incredible beverage lineup. Try them at your café, bar, or restaurant—or even from the comforts of your living room couch.
Nitro Drinks Becoming a New Trend
Nitro cold brew is surging in popularity among coffee fans. Made with the same beans as their hot counterparts, cold brewers allow more flavors to come through--sweetness, fruitiness, and chocolate notes typically found in the beans. Nitro-infused cold brew is also much less acidic than other coffee varieties.
The innovation of nitro-infused cold brew came about with a little curiosity and a lot of experimenting. Portland-based food researcher Nate Armbrust whipped up the foamy and smooth sensation while working at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Armbrust started to reflect on the pleasant, foamy surface of Guinness beer when poured from a tap. Motivated by this, Armbrust tried to emulate the effect and create a nitro-infused cold coffee. After more trials and recipe tweaks, he concocted the nitro brew we know today and introduced it to his partners at Stumptown.
From there, the rest is history. Nitro drinks continue to rise in popularity, transcending trends into beverage staple status. Their sipping, caffeinated pleasure is here to stay.
Are Nitrogen Infused Drinks Safe?
Nitrogen gas has been utilized in drinks for years. It's the same ingredient you'll find in many well-loved beers! Nitro cold brew is simply a type of coffee served chilled and infused with nitrous oxide. The gas is entirely safe to drink.
The air pockets made by nitrogen are tiny (we call them micro bubbles), making the general surface area of the drink silky. Nitrogen-mixed espresso tastes smooth and rich, eliminating the need for additional milk, sugar, or sweeteners.
In addition, nitro drinks look great in the glass. Assuming you've seen a nitro brew poured, nitro espresso looks practically the same. Both have a rich tone, frothy head, and cascading bubbles that flow and swirl along the sides of the glass. The visual allure of a nitro mix espresso is essential for the general insight of the drink. It's enjoyable to watch and incredible to taste.
When using large tanks and complex keg systems, making nitrous oxide cold brew could potentially present a few hazards. However, it is fair to say that the process is safe. The gas establishes a more anaerobic climate and diminishes bacteria growth from a sanitation perspective. The expulsion of oxygen also decreases the hazard for C. botulinum.
How Nitro Cold Brew Is Made
You can achieve the delectably sweet taste of nitrogen brews by utilizing a few different methods. Most high-volume establishments, like coffee shops, use a nitro-infusion tap system. To contrast, those making nitro cold brew at home may use a whip cream dispenser. Enjoying the creamy, smooth texture of nitro drinks may be easier than you imagined!
Understand The Basics
When making nitro cold brew, there are a few pieces of equipment you'll need to achieve those magnificent micro bubbles. Typically, if you're making nitro brew in bulk, you'll need a nitrogen gas tank, a keg, and a tap system. If you're opting for an at-home solution, you can use a whipped cream dispenser charged with nitrous oxide.
While you can make hot and cold nitrogen-infused beverages, using colder liquids makes for a streamlined and enjoyable process.
When making nitro cold brew, or any other nitro beverage, the infusion comes at the last stage of the process. Whatever device you use, make sure your liquid contains any extra ingredients or premix you’d like. Then, infuse your drink with nitrous oxide and enjoy the unique, creamy, delicious flavors.
Method 1: With a Tap System
To serve nitro brews from a tap system, you will need a kegerator (fridge for kegs), kegs to hold your beverage liquid, a regulator to control gas flow to the keg, and a nitrogen gas tank.
A commonly used keg type is Cornelius keg's ball lock because the top unlocks. This opening allows you to quickly pour in cold brew, cocktails, tea, or whatever else you can think up. When using a nitrogen gas tank for infusions, there are a few key steps to ensure perfect consistency.
Make sure the cold brew, and your keg, are chilled. Ensure your nitrogen enters your keg at 40psi (pound-force per square inch) and that you agitate the keg a bit before serving. To agitate a keg, grab it with both hands and rock it back and forth to the best of your ability. While this may seem counterintuitive to shake a keg, doing so will help kickstart the beautiful nitrogen effect. Be sure to keep the 40psi in place because the micro bubbles need extra pressure.
Lastly, you will need a stout faucet for your serving tap. This faucet restricts how the liquid comes out because of a particular plate inside. Having the restrictive effect will allow for proper nitro pours.
Tap systems can quickly grow complex, require frequent maintenance, and take up a significant amount of space. If you need to pour in bulk, but a keg-tap option isn't going to work for you, you can opt for a more compact and portable alternative.
Try using a tubeless cold brew dispenser like DRNX BRW that eliminates mess and offers an easy setup (plug-and-play in only two minutes)! DRNX BRW also boasts a sleek and compact footprint that will save valuable space on top or beneath your counter.
Method 2: With a Cream Whipper
Craving nitrous oxide coffee while you’re lounging at home? A tap system is probably not a readily available option to soothe your thirst. For a more home-friendly process, create your own nitro brew at home with a whipped cream dispenser.
All you need to do is add your cold brew into the whipped cream dispenser and seal. Charge with one nitrous oxide cartridge and shake vigorously for approximately 30 seconds. Let the canister sit for about 30 seconds. Once it feels cold to the touch, you can start to pour. Hold your glass at an angle and pull the canister's lever to dispense the nitro brew. And voila! Cascading, nitro magic at your fingertips, ready to be enjoyed from the comfort of your living room couch.
How to Make Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
What Is It?
In the simplest definition, nitro cold brew coffee is coffee infused with nitrogen. This infusion creates small bubbles in the coffee, giving it a creamy, foamy, less-acidic flavor and smoother texture than its standard coffee counterparts. Having started as a coffee trend in smaller shops, nitro cold brew has skyrocketed to popularity and is found in highly successful coffee chains throughout the caffeine world.
Nitro cold brew is brewed by adding ground coffee to room temperature or cold water rather than hot and allowing it to steep for up to 12 hours. Once brewed, you strain the coffee through a filter to remove the grounds and pour it into kegs where it's chilled, carbonated, and infused with nitrogen before serving. The result is an ultra-creamy, rich coffee that's bursting with flavor.
• Bitterness & acidity are reduced by 30%
• Appearance is cloudier than hot-brewed iced coffee, giving it incredible visual appeal (similar to Guinness)
• The taste is mellow and smooth but complex with a round mouthfeel from the nitrogen. It's rich without being heavy or overly sweet.
Since nitro cold brew is brewed at room temperature instead of hot, it can be stored in a keg for up to two weeks. Making enough coffee concentrate to keep it on tap requires some time, but the end result is totally worth it.
The ingredients to make the nitro cold brew are less daunting than one may expect. All you need is 9 ounces of coarsely ground coffee and 3.5 cups of cool tap water. You'll also need a few tools, such as an airtight container, a fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth or paper filter, a refrigerator, and equipment for the nitro infusion (keg-tap system, whipped cream dispenser, etc.).
Cold brew nitrogen coffee typically has more caffeine than regular servings of coffee, so it’s a perfect way to ramp up your standard cup of coffee. Follow these simple instructions to make a simple an delicious cold brew:
· Mix 9oz ground beans with 3.5 cups of cool water in an airtight container.
· Let the mixture sit for approximately 12-24 hours in the fridge.
· Strain the coffee grounds by pouring the steeped mixture through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper coffee filter. This process creates a 1:1 cold brew concentrate.
· To dilute the concentrated mixture, add additional water. A standard serving calls for equal parts concentrate and equal parts water.
How to Infuse Nitrogen Into Coffee
Once you've made your mix, turn it into nitrogenated cold brew coffee by setting up your keg and tap system.
· Connect your liquid lines, drop the tube down into your kegerator, and add a stout faucet to your pouring tower.
· Then, install a nitrogen regulator to monitor and adjust the pressure being released. 40psi is the best pressure for nitrogen infusion. Then, attach gas lines as you did with the liquid line.
· Add your liquid to a keg, close and lock the lid, then pressurize the keg.
· To pressurize the keg, add the gas line ball lock to the "in" post of the barrel.
· Open the gas and regulator valves, adjust the pressure to 40psi, and then release plain air by pulling up on the relief valve to release air.
· Then, agitate the keg and let it sit for a few hours to help the nitrogen infuse and build up the micro bubble texture.
How to Make Nitro Cold Brew With Whipped Cream Dispenser?
In addition to a tap-keg system, you can utilize a whipped cream dispenser to create nitrogenated cold brew coffee (this is especially useful for creating your favorite nitro-infused drinks at home). Simply pour your cold brew into the dispenser, give it a shake, make sure the dispenser turns cold, and pour into your glass at an angle.
How to Make Nitro Cold Brew Sweeter
Nitro cold brew significantly decreases coffee's acidity, but some people may still want an additional dash of sweetener or flavoring. The best way to sweeten nitro cold brew is by adding in a splash of simple syrup. Because simple syrup is a liquid, the two mix seamlessly together. Try using vanilla or caramel syrups for an enhanced caffeine experience and an extra layer of flavor.
If you want to make a vanilla-flavored simple syrup at home, try this simple recipe:
• 0.5 cups water
• 0.5 cups sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Combine sugar and water in a pan over medium heat.
• Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
• Once dissolved, turn off the heat, and let the syrup cool for a few minutes.
• Add in the vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly combined.
• Once the syrup completely cools, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge.
How to Make Nitro Beer
What Is Nitro Brew Beer?
Nitro infused beer is made by dispensing beer, typically using a mixture of 70% nitrogen and 30% carbon dioxide. It pours through a faucet tap with a restrictor plate, and the nitrogen gas knocks out the carbon dioxide in the mixture to create a smooth, foamy head.
Nitro beers are rising in popularity as it provides a unique texture and decreases bitterness often found in hoppy beers (like IPAs). There are also arguments out there discussing a few health benefits of drinking nitro beer! While more research is needed, it's fun to know that drinking nitro brews could be a healthier option than their standard counterparts.
According to this emerging research, nitro beers tend to lower the possibility of a hangover. Since nitro brew tends to reduce carbon dioxide, it is theorized that it makes alcohol easier for the body to process. Also, the likelihood of getting a headache after drinking beer is lower because nitrogen bubbles are smaller than carbon dioxide bubbles.
What You Need
When using a tap system to pour nitro-infused beer, you'll need a nitrogen keg, a nitrogen regulator, beer gas, a stout faucet, and—of course—beer!
When using a tap system, follow these steps:
• Connect your beer keg to your nitrogen regulator and beer gas.
• Set the psi to 35-40.
• Attach a stout faucet to your pour tower.
See above for a few pointers on connecting beer lines and beer gas to your keg. You can also nitrogenate beer at home using a whipped cream dispenser:
• Add your beer into the dispenser and seal.
• Charge with one nitrous oxide cartridge and shake vigorously for approximately 30 seconds.
• Let the canister sit for approximately 30 seconds.
• Once it starts to feel cold to the touch, you can start to pour.
• Hold your glass at an angle and pull the canister's lever to dispense your nitro beer.
How to Pour a Nitro Beer
When you're ready to pour your nitro beer, pull the tap handle all the way down and fill your glass about two-thirds of the way full. Doing so allows the beer and micro bubbles to settle. Then, push back on the handle, and fill the remainder of your glass and watch the cascading froth rise to the top. Be sure to pour your beer at an angle on the first pour to have better control over the amount of head (aka foam on top), then you can pour the remainder with your glass upright, as pushing the lever backward doesn't create as much agitation when the liquid layers on top.
What Does Nitro Do to Beer?
Nitro beer is all about the texture, but it also adds a unique addition of subdued flavor. The nitrogen gas forms smaller bubbles than standard carbon dioxide, which gives the beer its smoother texture.
How to Make Nitro Cocktails
What Is It?
Nitro-infused cocktails are exactly what they sound like: alcoholic (or non-alcoholic!) libations infused with nitrogen. The addition of nitrogen adds in a velvety texture without using messy egg whites or expensive foaming agents.
In the 1990s, the bartending world experienced the Cocktail Renaissance, where old classics and emphasis on unique, well-crafted tipples came to the forefront. This modern trend of cocktail making is here to stay, meaning bars across the globe are doing all they can to keep on top of trends and put their innovation at the forefront. Nitro cocktails can undoubtedly achieve this feat.
One wildly popular cocktail booming back to life is the espresso martini. The espresso martini recipe does not require a lot of ingredients. All you need is espresso (cold brew concentrate is a great substitute), simple syrup, coffee liqueur, and vodka.
A single serve of an espresso martini typically follows this recipe:
• 2oz vodka
• 0.5oz coffee liqueur
• 1oz espresso (or cold brew concentrate)
• 0.5 simple syrup
• Combine ingredients, add ice and shake. Garnish with three coffee beans.
• To add nitro, pour it into a whip cream dispenser, shake for 30 seconds, and then pour it into your glass at an angle.
If you want to make a larger batch, simply multiply each measurement by how many servings you need, along with a dash of water for dilution.
For a streamlined way to make nitro espresso martinis, utilize a BROOD premix! It's super simple and super delicious:
• 1.4 L Premix
• 1 L Water
• 2.4 L Non-Alcoholic Vodka (STRYYK)
• Pour the liquid into BROOD's container and seal.
• Turn the lever to nitro, and voila!
Sub in any of your favorite cocktail ingredients and follow the same procedure for expanded options.
More Nitro Cocktails Recipes
As bartenders across the globe aim for innovation, creativity, and balanced flavor, their guests also expand their knowledge and palate. Thanks to the Cocktail Renaissance, there is now an exciting emphasis on a unique texture and aesthetic appeal when it comes to cocktail-making (and alcohol-free mocktails, too!). Nitro cold brew cocktails and any other nitro variation jump to the forefront because they contain the innovation, eye-appeal, flavor, and silky texture that’s in such high demand.
If you're looking to ramp up your cocktail menu, check out some of BROOD's recipes for nitro cocktails. They’re simple and straightforward to make while delivering a complex, one-of-a-kind result.
How to Make Nitro Cold Brew Tea
What Is Nitro Tea?
Nitro tea is exactly what it sounds like: tea that has been infused with nitrogen! As you know by now, nitrogen creates an entirely unique drinking experience and texture—and that applies to your favorite tea, too. Nitrogenating tea of any kind is a fascinating way to elevate your menu offerings or add a special flair to your morning brew.
There are many varieties of teas to choose from when making nitrogen-infused teas. Jasmine, Earl Grey, Sencha Green Tea, Oolong, and the list goes on. But a popular trend, and a well-loved favorite, is matcha.
Matcha lattes are well-loved for their uniquely refreshing taste, a smooth boost of caffeine, and health-boosting properties. Infusing matcha with nitrogen also enhances the tea's texture and rounds off any harsh flavors.
All you need to make a nitro matcha latte is matcha powder, hot water, milk, maple syrup, and a nitro-infusion system of your choice.
For making nitro matcha lattes in bulk, try this recipe:
• 1.5 L Matcha Shot
• 3 L Milk
• 0.4 L Maple Syrup
• Add pure matcha powder to hot water and stir well, allowing for optimal dissolving (follow instructions on your matcha green tea package). Allow this mixture to cool.
• When cool enough to handle, filter through a fine sieve in addition to a kitchen paper towel to ensure there are no fines.
• Add maple syrup and milk of your choice.
• Stir well before serving.
When using a tap system, follow these steps and add the mixture to your keg. Ensure the gas lines are correctly connected and set the pressure to 35-40psi. Add a stout faucet and pour!
If you're making nitro matcha at home, pour some of the mix into a whipped cream charger. Shake it for 30 seconds, pour it into your glass at an angle, and enjoy!
Can You Put Tea in a Keg?
Yes! You can certainly put it in a keg if you're making nitro tea in bulk. In fact, pretty much any liquid can go into a keg. A keg system is a perfect option for cold teas and kombuchas. Reduce waste and increase efficiency by prebatching your brew, adding it into a keg, simply pulling a tap handle, and start serving.
Now That You Know How to Make Nitro Cold Brew...
Your possibilities are endless! Elevating beverage items has never been easier, thanks to innovative nitrogen infusions. You can make nitrous cold brews, beer, tea, cocktails…the recipe creativity has no limits. Create unique, show stopping nitro drinks to impress your guests, drive sales, and focus on what matters most--providing top-notch service.
If you want to eliminate the fuss of complex, high-maintenance keg systems and need to produce higher volumes than a whipped cream dispenser allows, opt for an alternative. Nitro cold brew machines are compact, easy-to-use, and highly versatile.
Whether you have a full-blown service establishment or want to add a special touch to your beverage knowledge, nitrogenating your drink ideas is more accessible (and fun!) than ever.