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Did you say nitro cold brew at home? Is that even possible? Well, it is if you have a few key ingredients at home.
In this blog post, I will be going over the basics of what nitro cold brew is and how to make it at home.
I’ll also be going over a full guide that details exactly how to make your own nitro cold brew using only the necessary ingredients available in most households, efforts that will allow you to drink a nitro cold brew as smooth as any sold commercially.
So let’s get started!
What Is Nitro Cold Brew?
Nitro Cold Brew is a drink made by adding nitrogen gas to cold or room-temperature brewed coffee which results in a smoother, creamier taste.
While there are several ways to make your own nitro cold brew at home which I will go over later in this post, not all ways provide you with the same creaminess and smoothness.
Nitrogen is a colorless and tasteless gas.
Nitrogen gas is what makes your beer or wine taste as it does, and it is often used for this purpose because nitrogen does not alter the flavor of the drink.
Nitrogen used in making beer and wine actually prevents degradation of the drink, but in order to get that effect, you need to add a substance known as a preservative that reacts with oxygen and gives off nitric oxide which then reacts with nitro compounds found in the beer or wine.
Keeping that in mind, when nitrogen is added to the drink, it allows the nitrogen bubbles to form in the drink.
The higher concentration of oxygen is absorbed by these bubbles which then causes them to pop releasing the nitrogen gas into the drink.
These nitrogen bubbles are what make your nitro cold brew tastes so smooth and creamy, eliminating any of the harshness of coffee you might experience with other methods of making it.
Nitro Cold Brew Uses
Besides simply making a great drink how does this method affect your coffee?
In order to make a foam for topping your drink, you would need something that generates carbon dioxide to produce this foam.
In that case, you would take a spray bottle and fill it with water and then squirt the water into the shot of espresso.
This creates those tiny bubbles that would result in a foamy top for your drink if you had a steam wand attachable to your espresso machine, but what if there was a better alternative?
There is actually a device known as a gas burner or gas torch which can create these tiny bubbles which help with the appearance of food and drinks.
These however are not safe to use at home because they have to be used at very high temperatures making them dangerous for use where small children may be present.
This is where nitro cold brew comes into play, the same method of making cold or room temperature coffee can be done without a gas burner and it only requires the use of nitrogen instead.
Nitrogen, however, does not produce any of the harmful gases that a gas burner produces.
Nitro Cold Brew Vs Cold Brew
Now let’s get into the nitro cold brew vs cold brew debate. What makes these two coffee drinks different?
After all, is there really a difference? Well, the answer is yes.
By no means are these differences huge to the point that they can’t be overlooked.
A cold brew coffee is a traditionally brewed coffee that has been left to sit for a number of hours usually by adding ice cubes afterward.
In all cases, it is a medium to strong brew with a smoother taste.
A nitrogenated cold brew on the other hand is made by adding nitrogen gas to your brewed coffee, and it is these nitrogen bubbles that give you that smooth and creamy taste that we mentioned earlier.
The nitrogen method on the other hand involves adding nitrogen gas to cold or room temperature brewed coffee along with sugar or cream and mixing it all together until you have gotten a smooth consistency.
While these two drinks look pretty similar, I was stunned by the difference in the flavor of the coffee.
It seems to me that the nitro cold brew has the power to retain more of the beans’ flavor after being brewed.
The cold brew however has a more bitter taste to it, but not so much so that you wouldn’t drink it by itself.
What Do You Need To Make A Nitro Cold Brew At Home
Making a special coffee drink like a nitro cold brew can be hectic for first-time users because of the numerous items that are involved in the process.
But, hey I’m here to make things easy for you, even if you’re a complete dummy in coffee.
So What Do You Need?
Here is a list of items needed to make a nitro cold brew at home:
How To Make Nitro Cold Brew At Home Using A Coffee Machine
The process used to make nitro cold brew at home is actually pretty simple. It all starts with a cold brew, obviously.
Once you start making your own cold or room-temperature coffee you will see that making your drink this way does take some time. The steps are as follows:
1. Grind Your Coffee Beans
To make your nitro cold brew at home, the first you need to do is prep your fresh beans for grinding.
I suggest grinding your beans to a coarse fine. It should like a sandy texture I guess.
If you like your coffee stronger, go for a fine grind. If you like your coffee weaker, go for a coarse grind.
The more special the taste of your coffee is, the finer the grind you should do.
I suggest using a burr grinder that separates the grounds with such precision.
** If you already have coffee grounds for your cold brew, that’s fine.
*** If you don’t want to go through the grinding process, I suggest reading this article for the best coffee grounds for cold brew.
2. Brew Your Coffee
Now that you have your coffee grounds for your cold brew, it’s time to start making your coffee.
Turn on your espresso machine, let the water heat up to the right temperature, then add the coffee grounds to the coffee filter and let your coffee maker do its thing.
3. Let It Steep
Now that your grounds are in your machine, it’s time to let it steep.
This is where you will see the flavors of the coffee really come out.
Transfer your brewed coffee to a jar and place it in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Since the nitrogen is going to be added later, you need to let it sit for 12-24 hours. But 12 hours is enough.
Remember this steeping process is super important to achieve a perfect nitro cold brew at home.
During this time, the coffee grounds and water combine to give you a smoother and creamier-tasting coffee, leaving out any of the bitterness you might get from a traditionally brewed coffee.
This is also known as cold brewing or room temperature brewing.
I don’t recommend leaving your coffee at room temperature if you plan to let it sit that much.
Around mid-way, you can take a spoon to stir the coffee to stimulate the extraction of the flavors from the coffee.
4. Filter The Concoction
Now that your coffee has been sitting for the appropriate amount of time, it’s time to filter out the grounds.
You could use a normal coffee filter to do this process but I would recommend the metal ones as they don’t fall apart after a few uses.
Pour your coffee through the filter and toss away the grounds.
You can use a kitchen filter screen for this purpose and place it over a bowl or jar so you can pour the coffee out.
You can always repeat this process if you feel that the filter size is not big enough to get all of the grounds out.
5. Mixing The Nitrogen
Now that you have filtered off your grounds, it’s time to turn it into a nitro cold brew.
The easiest way to do this is by using a small device called the mini-keg.
The mini-keg has a tap that you can use to pour your freshly filtered coffee into a glass.
By doing this, the nitrogen gas will be infused into your coffee and give it that creamy taste that we have been talking about all this while.
If you have a professional whipped cream dispenser at home, this will also work to transform your cold brew into a nitro cold brew.
Finally, pour over in your favorite coffee cup, enjoy and repeat whenever you crave a nitro cold brew at home.
How to Make a Nitro Cold Brew Without A Coffee Machine
So, let’s say you don’t have the luxury of owning a coffee machine. Or you are just not willing to spend money on one.
Well…I have some good news for you.
Even if you don’t have a coffee maker for this project, you can still make yourself a nitro cold brew at home.
Check out some alternatives below:
Unfortunately, making a nitro cold brew at home manually only applies to the coffee brewing part.
Simply because I don’t know how to teach to make nitrogen without the mini-keg or a whipped cream dispenser.
The various brewing methods you can use to make your cold brew are:
1. French Press
Making a nitro cold brew at home using a french is absolutely doable. There are different methods you can use.
The first method is the automatic method. Here’s how it works:
You will place your grounds in a French Press and add hot water to it.
This is the most common way people make their coffee at home.
Let it steep for 12-24 hours, then pour out the coffee into a jar and refrigerate for another 12-24 hours before drinking.
When it’s done steeping, just heat up some water by boiling or on the stovetop to get that perfect cold brew you have been looking for all this while.
Aeropress is a simple way of making cold brews at home. Here’s how you do it:
For this process, you will use a press with two chambers.
One chamber is much bigger than the other one.
Add your grounds to the smaller chamber and pour hot water into it to start steeping.
You need to leave it there for 12-24 hours for all the flavor to come out.
When done steeping, transfer it back into your mug.
Unlike the French Press, you don’t have to wait for 12 hours to drink your cold coffee drink because an Aeropress has an open-top that allows the brewed coffee beans to easily pass through into your mouth after being poured into your drink.
3. Pour Over
Do you have a pour-over? You can use that too. Just follow the same process below:
Choose any kind of pour-over method that you know works best for you.
I would recommend using a normal pour-over for this process to minimize the amount of coffee grounds passing through your filter.
Brew your coffee, let it steep for 12-24 hours, then pour it into your glass or jar after filtering out the grounds.
Let it sit there until you are ready to drink it.
To create your nitro cold brew just add nitrogen to it, just like we did when we made our cold brew with the mini-keg.
4. Moka Pot
If you have a Moka pot, then you can easily make a nitro cold brew at home. Just follow the process below:
Use any kind of ground coffee for cold brew, let it brew on the stovetop.
Let it steep for 12-24 hours, then pour it into a glass and refrigerate till cold brew consistency is achieved.
Where Can You Get A Mini-Keg For Your Nitro Cold Brew At Home?
Nitro brewing requires a mini-keg. It is a two-part device that connects to the bottom of your glass jar or container with a mini nozzle at the end.
There are many brands out there but in my opinion, there is only one brand worth mentioning in this post; the Royal Brew brand.
Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Making your nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee at home using this keg kit system will make your life much easier.
It comes with a mini-keg plus a tube and tip, which you can put on the bottom of your jar to create your cold brew filled with nitrogen.
The mini-keg is made of stainless steel which makes it durable.
Another quality I appreciate about this product is that it has a smaller nozzle so you can restrict the flow of nitrogen entering your jar.
The design is also minimalist with the only features you need on it is the on/off valve on top, and the on/off valve on the bottom, and it’s also a lightweight unit, giving it an easy-to-carry feature.
So, whether you want a nitro cold brew at home or crave for a nitro coffee while camping, it’s super easy to carry.
Just tuck it into your backpack and you’re good to go.
The Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker also makes it easy to uninstall and install the two faucets with which you control the flow of nitrogen into your container.
How Much Time Does It Take To Make A Nitro Cold Brew?
Depending on what kind of drip coffee maker you use, the time needed to make a nitro cold brew can vary from as little as two hours to as many as 24 hours.
But I would say the average time is around 12-24 hours because it takes the minimum amount of time to allow the grounds to steep and then pour out into a jar.
This gives you that perfect cold brew flavor.
You can opt to wait longer if you really want a colder nitro cold brew.
We recommend waiting at least 24 hours for the perfect consistency.
How Long Does A Nitro Cold Brew Last?
Using the Royal Brew Coffee Maker, your nitro cold brew can last up to several months.
You can even freeze it for up to a year if you are not going to drink it right away.
This is because nitrogen doesn’t have any carbon dioxide content so cold brew will not lose its flavor the same way it does over time, unlike cold brew made using hot water.
So, if you are making your nitro cold brew at home, then the only thing that will happen is that you will need to reheat it when you are ready to drink it.
That’s why we recommend storing your coffee in the fridge in an airtight container.
Final Thoughts on Nitro Cold Brew At Home
Making a nitro cold brew at home is not as hard as it seems.
Once you have the proper equipment, it’s just a matter of making sure that your coffee beans are properly ground, filtering out the grounds after you have brewed your coffee, and letting the cold brew steep for an appropriate amount of time to achieve that perfect taste.
You don’t have to use any special techniques to make your nitro cold brew at home.
But, if you are planning to experiment with your shot of nitrogen gas, I suggest that you remember that adding too much will definitely ruin the taste of your drink.
You can add about half a can or maybe more if you want it creamier on top.
What are you waiting for? Go and experiment with your homemade nitro cold brew.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nitro Brewing?
Nitro brewing is a method of brewing coffee that uses nitrogen gas to boost the extraction process. By pushing the hot water out through a small opening, nitrogen allows the flavors to infuse into the cold brew that contains them.
Is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Healthier Than Regular Cold Brew?
Both are fine to drink and I don’t think there’s a huge difference in health value. However, most people recommend that you avoid adding any type of sugar or sweetener when drinking nitro cold brew at home because it already contains half a can of the available nitrogen in the bottle so it will be pretty sweet already.
Can Nitro Cold Brew Be Frozen?
Nitro cold brew can be frozen due to the gas that it contains. It has nitrogen which is not affected by cold temperatures, unlike carbon dioxide. So as long as there’s no carbon dioxide in your drink, you will not lose any flavor or quality from freezing it.
When you freeze it, you may want to let the water inside separate from the coffee because it will be very difficult to mix without a blender since nitrogen does not blend well with other liquids.
What Are The Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew?
Nitro-Brewed Coffee vs Cold Brew
Nitro cold brew is brewed using nitrogen gas to infuse the flavors into the coffee. Regular cold brew doesn’t need the use of nitrogen infusion. These two methods are different but both produce great tasting coffee.
Is Nitro Cold Brew Bad For You?
Nitro cold brew contains no chemicals, additives, or any other harmful ingredients. If you drink it in moderation and work with skimmed milk if you want a creamy layer on top, then it is perfectly healthy to drink.
Is it Hard to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home?
It is actually pretty easy to make nitro cold brew at home. It takes a normal brew time and it requires no special skill. The only thing is you can’t drink the nitro cold brew right after brewing. Because you should let the brew steep for at least 12 hours.