Nitro vs. Nitro Brew vs. Nitro Cold Brew: What’s the Difference?

What is this Trend of Nitro?

Nitro cold brew has taken the coffee world by storm, captivating coffee enthusiasts with its smooth and velvety texture, rich flavor, and captivating presentation. This innovative cold coffee preparation method has gained immense popularity in recent years, transforming the way people enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverages.

This being said, why did this trend evolve? How did we go from just having hot coffee to now having so many different options? As this article from Thrillist highlights:

In spite of NCB’s extravagance and high upfront costs, its long term profitability has led to its prevalence. As a natural preservative, nitrogen is practical. It pushes out oxygen, keeping coffee so fresh it tastes the same as the day it was brewed for more than a year. For reference, a standard bag of roasted beans is said to have a six-week shelf life. [...] Cold brew in general is economical, a reason for its recent boom. Given the short lifespan of beans and grounds, small-batch roasters have always struggled with profit margins. Airtight bottled and canned cold brew keeps much longer, making large-scale business possible. In cafes, it takes a matter of seconds to pour, which keeps long lines of customers moving quickly.

Nitro has not only grown because of its great taste but because it allows coffee shops to save money and not waste as much product as well. In addition, the Thrillist article highlights the health benefits and draw to nitro cold brew: “Naturally sweet and rich, nitro feels like an indulgence. It’s creamy like an iced latte, but dairy-free and has roughly five calories for a standard 12-ounce beverage. It gets the greenlight for vegan and keto diets alike -- paleo too.” As highlighted, nitro coffee emulates the taste of a creamy drink without tainting the flavor of the coffee.

Nitro vs. Nitro Cold Brew vs. Nitro Brew

When researching this trend, you’ll likely run into the words “nitro,” “nitro cold brew,” and “nitro brew”; but what’s the difference between these phrases? In this article, we will dive into the differences and subtleties between each of these terms.

The simplest term of the three is "Nitro." Nitro is a shorthand term often used to refer to nitrogen-infused beverages in general, including nitro coffee, nitro tea, nitro beer, etc. It indicates that the beverage has been treated with nitrogen gas, giving it a distinct texture and mouthfeel. Nitro can be added to the production of many beverages to enhance flavor and texture, thus creating a smooth and higher profile tasting drink. As explained here: “in soft drinks, sparkling water, beer, wine, juice drinks, tea, flavored water, sports drinks and many other carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, nitrogen provides unique functionality to reduce foaming, protect flavors, retain desired colors, and maintain the integrity of your product.” Next time you have a nitro infused drink, see if it tastes better! 

The second term you will often see is “Nitro Brew.”  Nitro brew refers to a method of serving coffee that involves infusing nitrogen gas into brewed coffee. The process starts with a cold-brewed coffee concentrate, which is then stored in a keg or canister. Nitrogen gas is added under pressure, similar to how carbon dioxide is used in carbonated beverages. The result is a smooth, creamy texture with a frothy head, reminiscent of draft beer. The ratios of coffee to gas have to be very specific in order to obtain the ideal taste. Interestingly, nitro coffee does often contain more caffeine compared to other brewed coffee As explained in this article: “Nitro coffee is made using a higher ratio of coffee grounds to water than regular coffee, which can kick up its caffeine content. Some companies even claim that nitro coffee boasts upwards of 30% more caffeine per ounce (30 ml) than regular coffee, though levels may vary by manufacturer.”

Nitro Cold Brew: Nitro cold brew specifically refers to the combination of nitrogen infused cold-brewed coffee. Cold brew is a coffee brewing method where coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours, resulting in a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate. Nitro cold brew takes the cold-brewed coffee and adds the infusion of nitrogen gas, creating a velvety texture and enhancing the flavor profile. 

As we have seen, the world of coffee is ever changing with the addition of nitrogen. People often wonder if nitro brewed beverages are simply a fad that will die but many say that this is a trend that is here to stay. “Nitrogen-infused cold brew is a coffee trend that’s here to stay thanks to its good looks and wonderful texture. Canned nitro coffee drinks and small-scale nitro kegging systems have helped keep this beverage popular among both hobbyists and the merely curious.”



Let’s Try Nitro!

So, are you convinced yet to try this? At Commonwealth Joe, we handle everything to make sure it is the easiest process for you. This includes setting up the kegs and making sure you are always stocked with delicious coffee to have! In addition to the coffee, we also offer nitro kombucha and tea which lets everyone sip on something delicious.  Our coffee is award winning and is loved by many offices! A great aspect of nitro cold brew is the large batches you can make. Since it is stored in kegs, we are able to preserve it for a while without the taste changing or not staying the same. When you brew hot coffee, you can’t always enjoy it the next day, the flavor has changed and is going to taste different from a freshly brewed cup. On the other hand, nitro cold brew will maintain the sweet, velvety and frothy taste for a while. You only need to change out the kegs when you are done! In offices, this is a great perk because employees can have access to the coffee all day long and do not need to wait around for it to brew. Schedule a call to talk here.


By: Zoe LaPunzina
Blog Post Assisted by ChatGPT
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