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Skip Starbucks and make fresh nitro cold brew at home at a fraction of the cost! Infused with Nitrogen, this cold brew coffee is naturally sweet, creamy, and so refreshing. You will love watching the cascading effect!

Cold brew infused with nitrogen in a glass.

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • Smooth and creamy. Nitro cold brew’s unique appeal lies in its ultra-smooth texture and signature foamy top. Since we have started to infuse our cold brew with nitrogen, we cannot go back to the regular one!
  • Cheaper than store-bought. Even after considering the cost of a nitrogen dispenser and ground coffee, making nitro cold brew at home is relatively cheaper than buying it at your favorite coffee chain. Plus, you can have it whenever you want without leaving your home!
  • Refreshing. Nitro cold brew is the ultimate summer drink! It’s super fresh, naturally sweet, and low-calorie.

📘 What is Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew is made by infusing cold brew with nitrogen under pressure. The process results in the creation of thousands of small bubbles that completely alter the taste and mouthfeel of cold brew. The result is a delightfully smooth and creamy finish that resembles Guinness stout!

Although the origins of nitro cold brew remain unclear, it first emerged around 2010 and has sinced gained popularity worldwide. Today, it can be found in major coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Costa.

Advantages of Nitro Cold Brew

Are you wondering what differs between regular cold brew and nitro cold brew? Here are some of the benefits of infusing Nitrogen into cold brew:

Reduced bitterness: Nitro cold brew is about 30% less bitter than regular cold brew.
Smoother texture: It has a velvety, smooth, and round mouthfeel.
Naturally sweeter: It has a hint of sweetness, meaning you can enjoy it without adding any extra sweetener, unless you prefer your coffee on the sweeter side.
Creamier without extra fat: It has a slightly thick and creamy texture without the need to add cream or milk.

☕️ Ingredient Notes

Here is what you will need to make nitro cold brew:

  • Cold brew coffee – Use your favorite cold brew, either store-bought or homemade. Here, we used homemade cold brew concentrate and diluted it with water.
  • Nitrogen – You will need one N2 cartridge to infuse about 2 cups (500ml) of cold brew. You will also need a nitrogen dispenser. More on that below.
Ingredients like cold brew concentrate, water, and nitrogen cartridge.

🥃 Nitro Dispenser

If you’re planning to make nitro cold brew at home, you’ll need a nitrogen dispenser. This will allow you to infuse the nitrogen into the cold brew. These dispensers come in various forms:

• Keg

A nitro keg is a large stainless steel container that is equipped with a stout faucet and a cartridge holder, allowing you to inject nitrogen into the liquid stored inside. The main advantage of a keg is its large capacity, which can hold anywhere from 2 to 4 liters of liquid.

• Nitro Dispenser

More compact than a Keg, a dispenser typically contains from 500ml to 750ml. Despite its smaller size, the principle remains the same as a keg, allowing you to inject nitrogen into beverages using a similar mechanism.

The dispenser we are using here is the Nitropress by Hatfields. We have been using it for a while, and I can say that I am really impressed with its construction and quality, which feel like a professional tool. It’s thick and heavy and made entirely of inox and rubber for the brown cap parts.

After calculation, this dispenser paid for itself after about 40 uses compared to buying Nitro cold brew at Starbucks. If you are not looking for a professional dispenser, there are other cheaper options available, such as the Nitro Kafo or the Nitroknox. Please note that we haven’t personally tested those but the reviews seem good as well.

Quick note: We also purchased the glasses from Hatfields (shown in photos) but were not that impressed with the quality, especially considering their high price, so we would not recommend them.

• Nitropress DS

Nitropress DS is a relatively new machine that uses the Nitrogen in the air to infuse it into your coffee. The main benefit of this machine is that it reduces waste, as it doesn’t rely on Nitrogen cartridges. You just have to attach the dispenser to the machine and press the button for 6-10 seconds to infuse it with Nitrogen.

The downside of this machine is its price. It is not cheap, selling for $399. While it has a hefty upfront cost, it might save you money in the long run if you consume a lot of Nitro cold brew, as there will be no need to buy N2 cartridges for each use (which generally cost over $1 per cartridge). If you are an occasional drinker of cold brew, though, this machine won’t make sense.

Disclaimer: We asked Hatfields if we could test this machine for this article, and they were kind enough to send us a Nitropress DS. After extensive testing, we have to say we are impressed. The results we got using the machine are exactly the same as the ones we got when using nitro cartridges. Please note that all of our opinions are our own and we were not asked to write any article or review about this product. We are just nitro cold brew lovers!

Whipped Cream Dispenser vs Nitrogen Dispenser

What is the difference between a whipped cream dispenser and a Nitrogen one? This is a question that comes up often and that I have asked myself too. The difference lies in two main features:

  • There is no stout tap: A whipped cream dispenser doesn’t have a stout faucet with a restrictor plate. This specific plate contains small holes that, combined with the high pressure, help aerate the cold brew and create a foam.
  • It is not made to support N2: While you can fit an N2 cartridge in a whipped cream dispenser, it’s not made for that to begin with, which can result in safety issues.

The conclusion is that while you can use a whipped cream dispenser to make nitro cold brew, the result will not be optimal.

🥣 How to Make It

  1. Pour the cold brew into your dispenser. Pour about 2 cups of chilled cold brew into your nitro dispenser.
  2. Close the dispenser. Screw the lid of your dispenser, ensuring it is very tight.
  1. Load the N2 cartridge. Insert an N2 cartridge into the cartridge holder of your dispenser. Screw on the holder until you hear the gas entering the dispenser.
  2. Shake. Next, shake the dispenser for 20-30 seconds. This will allow the gas and the coffee to blend together.
  1. Pour. Finally, pour the nitro cold brew into a glass and watch the foam slowly form on top! At first, the coffee will appear very cloudy but will slowly clear up as the bubbles rise to the top.

📔 Tips

  • Adjust the amount of nitrogen. Depending on the capacity of your dispenser, you might need to add more N2 cartridges. One cartridge is enough for a small dispenser of about 2 cups capacity. However, if you are using a keg with a capacity of about 64 oz, you will need to use up to 3 cartridges.
  • Shake well. Ensure you shake your dispenser for at least 20 seconds after injecting the nitrogen. This is essential to create a foamy top and creamy texture.
  • Use medium roast coffee. Although it is a matter of personal preference, we suggest opting for a medium or dark roast coffee with a bold flavor, as nitrogen has a tendency to reduce bitterness.
  • Chill overnight. Nitro cold brew tastes best when served fresh. However, we do not recommend serving it with ice cubes as those would reduce the effect of the nitrogen. That’s why it’s best to chill the cold brew before serving. You can chill it before infusing it with nitrogen or after (in that case, chill the dispenser containing the cold brew).

🍑 Variations

While nitro cold brew tastes delicious on its own, you can also customize it to your liking by adding syrups and other flavorings. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Vanilla: Either add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup for a sweeter version (we like Monin vanilla syrup). You can also make it the Starbucks way by pouring vegan vanilla sweet cream into it for extra creaminess.
  • Caramel: Add 1-2 tablespoons of caramel syrup and a pinch of salt for a salted caramel cold brew!
  • Peach: Add peach syrup to taste and garnish with sliced peach slices for a fruity flavor.
  • Orange: Combine nitro cold brew with orange juice or orange syrup. Note that the foam doesn’t stay as long if using orange juice.
  • Cocoa: Blend cocoa powder and sugar with your cold brew before infusing it with nitrogen, or simply flavor it with dark chocolate syrup.

❄️ Storing

  • To store: Once poured into a glass, nitro cold brew is best enjoyed within 30 minutes. Nitro cold brew, if kept inside a dispenser, will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Nitro cold brew with foam in a tumbler.

💬 FAQ

Is nitrogen safe to drink?

Yes, nitrogen drinks are completely safe to consume. Nitrogen has been used for decades in drinks and beers.

Is nitro cold brew a carbonated beverage?

Nitro cold brew is not carbonated so do not expect it to have bubbles like a soda.

Is nitro cold brew stronger than espresso?

Nitro cold brew contains the same caffeine content as regular cold brew. Nitrogen doesn’t increase the caffeine content. However, cold brew tends to be stronger in caffeine than espresso since the ground coffee beans are generally steeped for 12 to 24 hours in cold water. Be aware that this obviously depends on the level of dilution.

We hope you will give homemade nitro cold brew a try! It’s much cheaper than store-bought and fun to make. Plus, you can customize it to your liking by experimenting with different types of coffee beans and flavorings!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Nitro cold brew in a glass.
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Recipe

How to Make Nitro Cold Brew

5 from 1 vote
Author: Thomas Pagot
Skip Starbucks and make fresh nitro cold brew at home at a fraction of the cost! Infused with Nitrogen, this cold brew coffee is naturally sweet, creamy, and so refreshing!
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 5 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 3 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups cold brew

Instructions
 

  • Pour the cold brew into your dispenser. Pour about 2 cups of chilled cold brew into your nitro dispenser.
  • Close the dispenser. Screw the lid of your dispenser, ensuring it is very tight.
  • Load the N2 cartridge. Insert an N2 cartridge into the cartridge holder of your dispenser. Screw on the holder until you hear the gas entering the dispenser.
  • Shake. Next, shake the dispenser for 20-30 seconds. This will allow the gas and the coffee to blend together.
  • Pour. Finally, pour the nitro cold brew into a glass and watch the foam slowly form on top! At first, the coffee will appear very cloudy but will slowly clear up as the bubbles rise to the top.
  • Once poured into a glass, nitro cold brew is best enjoyed within 30 minutes. Nitro cold brew, if kept inside a dispenser, will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Adjust the amount of nitrogen. Depending on the capacity of your dispenser, you might need to add more N2 cartridges. One cartridge is enough for a small dispenser of about 2 cups capacity. However, if you are using a keg with a capacity of about 64 oz, you will need to use up to 3 cartridges.
  • Shake well. Ensure you shake your dispenser for at least 20 seconds after injecting the nitrogen. This is essential to create a foamy top and creamy texture.
  • Use medium roast coffee. Although it is a matter of personal preference, we suggest opting for a medium or dark roast coffee with a bold flavor, as nitrogen has a tendency to reduce bitterness.
  • Chill overnight. Nitro cold brew tastes best when served fresh. However, we do not recommend serving it with ice cubes as those would reduce the effect of the nitrogen. That’s why it’s best to chill the cold brew before serving. You can chill it before infusing it with nitrogen or after (in that case, chill the dispenser containing the cold brew).

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 3 kcal
Course : Drinks
Cuisine : American
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
An amazing drink for summer days. Thank you for sharing.