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.

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