The Next Wave: Nitro Coffee
Think of it as the craft beer of coffees – and with a much bigger caffeine hit. Here’s why you should pay attention to this frothy beverage.
Nitro coffee is cold brew infused with nitrogen, pressurised, then released through a tap for a stoutlike effect, says Justin Metcalf, managing director of Luxe Brew Australia and Singapore, and World Barista Judge. The nitrogen doesn’t affect the taste of the cold brew, but because the gas doesn’t dissolve easily in water, it gives the cup a “thicker, more velvety mouthfeel” as a result of how the nitrogen bubbles interact with your taste buds.
Think of the extrasmooth and creamy texture of draught beers or a Guinness, says Daphne Goh, co-founder of Lunar Coffee Brewers: “Nitrogenated coffee is known for those qualities.” It all started when coffee purists frowned on the adding of ice to coffee – such as in iced latte – which they felt diluted the beverage and changed the brew ratio of coffee to milk. So they used nitrogen instead.
For nitro coffee’s caffeine hit, the same rules as for cold brew typically apply – the longer water is in contact with ground coffee, the more caffeine is drawn out, says Justin. Luxe Brew steeps the roasted grounds in chilled filtered water for 48 hours before triplefiltering, pasteurising, and injecting with nitrogen. The gas also causes the caffeine to be absorbed faster by your system, adds Justin.
How to drink it
Just as any carbonated drink tastes best when drunk immediately, nitro coffee shouldn’t be left out for too long, or it risks going flat.
Another tip – skip the milk and sugar. “We want people to appreciate the complex flavours of the coffee beans,” says Daphne, who first discovered the beverage when she visited Stumptown Coffee Roasters (early adopters of nitro coffee) in Portland, Oregon. Besides, you might find that nitro coffee already tastes creamier than the average cold brew.