Cold brew is one of the trendiest drinks that you can order or even make at home for yourself. If you haven’t been keeping up with the coffee scene, you might have missed out on a few things!
Although it has not quite risen to the popularity levels of a traditional iced coffee, cold brew coffee has quickly become a fan favorite for many of you all.
BUT cold brew has another form, nitro cold brew. It’s a new and tasty way to enjoy cold brew.
Let’s get into the differences in this battle of nitro cold brew versus cold brew and see if there is a clear winner between the two!
How Cold Brew Is Made
Before we get into comparing the two, we should go over how cold brew is made. Nitro cold brew is only prepared slightly differently than regular cold brew.
Cold brew coffee is coarsely ground coffee that has been steeped in room temperature or cold water. The low temperatures that cold brew coffee is made from, also means that it takes a longer time to brew.
Usually we use heat to speed up the brewing process. Cold brew coffee can take around 12-24 hours to properly brew, depending on how you want your cold brew to taste.
How Nitro Cold Brew Is Made
Nitro cold brew coffee is made from regular cold brew. All you have to do or have your barista do, is add some nitrogen into the cold brew! There are a couple of ways to create this fun drink.
Nitrogen Tap System
The first way to make nitro cold brew is by using a nitrogen tap system. This is what is used to draft tap beer and it is the most common way large coffee shops will serve nitro cold brew.
The tap system does most of the work for the barista. As long as it is kept full of nitrogen gas and cold brew, the tap system delivers a deliciously frothy nitro cold brew.
The second way to brew nitro cold brew is with a mini-keg. It functions the same as a tap system, but it is miniature. Most tap systems require professional installation and can be pricey, but mini-kegs can deliver the same signature taste and texture without the cost. These are most commonly used for nitro cold brew fanatics who prefer to make it at home.
Whipped Cream Dispenser
The third way to brew nitro cold brew is with a whipped cream dispenser. Crazy, right? Whipped cream dispensers use nitrogen gas cartridges to create light of fluffy whipped cream.
If you replace the heavy whipping cream for some top notch cold brew, the whipped cream dispenser will charge your coffee with nitrogen gas! This is the best method to use if you are just trying it out because it is the least expensive and requires absolutely no training.
Why Use Nitrogen Instead of Carbon?
Baristas use nitrogen gas instead of carbonation because nitrogen bubbles are significantly smaller. Nitrogen gas’s small size makes it feel frothy instead of fizzy, like you would normally get from a soda.
The texture of nitro cold brew coffee is much less intense than the texture of a carbonated beverage. Nitrogen gas is used in tap beer as well, so it is common to hear comparisons between the two.
The Differences Between Nitro Cold Brew and Regular Cold Brew
While both drinks are extremely similar, they do have some big differences. Nitro cold brew needs to be served carefully, while cold brew does not need as much attention while it is being served.
This is because nitro cold brew’s signature foam head will be ruined with the addition of ice or with excessive stirring.
Consequently, this means that nitro cold brew actually contains more caffeine than regular cold brew even though the coffee was brewed the exact same way.
You are getting more caffeine per cup than you would with a regular cold brew, because there’s no ice taking up space in your cup.
While nitro cold brew coffee seems like it would taste much better than regular cold brew coffee, most people agree that cold brew coffee is better when it comes to coffee flavor.
This is because the cold brew’s roast and coffee bean origin are better complemented with its flatter texture. The coffee’s natural flavors are more pronounced.
However, nitro cold brew does have an added sweetness from the nitrogen being added to it. Since it’s already a bit more sweet, it’s less likely that you’ll have to add in extra sugar.
But it all comes down to how you like your coffee to taste.
When it comes to texture, nitro cold brew is the clear winner. Regular cold brew coffee is distinctly mouthwatering, but the nitrogen gas puts it over the top. Once a regular cold brew is charged with nitrogen gas, the texture becomes velvety and creamy.
Nitro cold brew has a gorgeous thick foam that is made entirely of coffee. No milk or cream is needed to get such a silky texture. While it is not as fizzy as carbonated sodas, it does have a little zing to it.
This thick and creamy texture that has been added to a smooth and well-blended flavor is why so many people are turning to nitro cold brew coffee as their go-to coffee order.
Is Nitrogen Infused Coffee Bad For You?
Nitrogen gas is safe for you to consume with your coffee. It is the perfect substitute for carbon dioxide, because nitrogen bubbles are smaller and less volatile. Nitrogen gas has been used as a carbonation substitute for hundreds of years.
Nitro cold brew coffee may even be better for you than regular coffee since the nitrogen and texture makes it pleasant to drink without added cream and sugar. Sugary drinks can lead to bad health but us coffee lovers need our caffeine.
This is another reason nitro cold brew coffee has become so popular. Because it is delicious on its own, you can drink more of it without worry. Cold brew coffee in general is much better for your gut health than hot brewed coffee.
Hot brewed coffee is very acidic which can harm the healthy bacteria in your stomach and intestines. Cold brew coffee is much less acidic than hot-brewed coffee, giving you additional peace of mind.
So Who Wins: Nitro or Regular Cold Brew?
Whether you prefer the original cold brew coffee or the new nitro cold brew coffee, you have made a great choice. Cold brew coffee perfectly blends the acidity with the flavor of the coffee beans. Neither the bitterness nor the sweetness are overshadowed by this fantastic drink.
Nitro cold brew is the perfect choice for someone who wants an added mouthfeel and texture along with great flavor. Its creamy consistency and beautiful foam head actually taste better than it looks.
But if you are the type of person to really enjoy the flavor of the coffee beans, regular cold brew coffee perfectly accents their origins and flavors. Either way, you are getting a delicious iced coffee, perfect to start off your summer!