Nitro-Infused Coffee Taps

Does Nitro-Infused Coffee Live Up to the Hype?

If you follow coffee trends, you’ll probably have heard about nitro-infused coffee. There’s been a lot of hype over its taste and texture in the last few months – and some people even claim it has additional health benefits. What exactly is nitro coffee though? And is it really better for you than regular coffee? Let’s find out.

What is Nitro-Infused Coffee?

Most beers and soft drinks are infused with carbon dioxide to add fizz. This provides a slightly bitter and harsh texture, which isn’t always what brewers want.

For this reason, some beers (such as Guinness) are infused with nitrogen. Unlike carbon dioxide, nitrogen doesn’t mix easily with liquid. This creates a bubbly and smooth texture.

The same process can be applied to cold brew coffee. This results in a velvety texture that’s closer to beer than a regular coffee. The smaller bubbles also create a thicker mouth-feel that many people find more satisfying than regular coffee.

Aside from its silky texture, nitro coffee doesn’t include any milk or sugar. There’s also an estimated 30% more caffeine per liter than a regular cup. So, if you want a quick pick-me-up without the added sugar or dairy products, a nitro coffee could be the perfect choice.

Is Nitrogen-Infusion a New Idea?

Adding nitrogen to drinks isn’t a groundbreaking idea – people have been doing it for decades with craft beer or soda. The idea of applying it to coffee is relatively new though.

The process starts with cold brewing coffee. The coffee is then infused with nitrogen and stored in a keg, where it is served via a special tap. Unlike a regular tap, the coffee is forced through a restrictor plate with small holes. This creates the smoothness associated with Guinness or other nitrogen-infused drinks.

While there’s some debate over the origins of the idea, a food scientist called Nate Armburst is thought to be the first to try infusing cold coffee with bubbles of nitrogen. He attempted this in 2013, although it took a few months to perfect the process. Once he could consistently add nitrogen to his coffee, he put it on tap at his café in Portland where “nitro” coffee became a quick hit.

Does it REALLY Taste Better?

Taste is a matter of personal preference. But a growing number of people claim nitro coffee is tastier than regular coffee.

Why does adding nitrogen improve the taste, though?

Firstly, the cold brewing process provides a less acidic coffee, which is why many coffee enthusiasts prefer it. Nitro coffee provides the same benefit, but with the bonus of a smoother texture. There’s also a theory that nitrogen might slow the breakdown of compounds in the coffee. This reduces bitterness.

An interesting side effect of adding nitrogen is that it can make coffee taste sweeter. This is because nitrogen “tricks” your tongue into thinking the fluid is sweeter than it really is.

Nitro coffee also has the smooth and silky texture of a cold beer. If you want the refreshing “on nitro” taste without alcohol, a nitro coffee could be the perfect compromise.

Are There Any Health Benefits?

The biggest health benefit of nitro coffee is that it doesn’t need sugar to taste sweet. So, if you usually load your coffee up with extra sweetness, your body will thank you for switching to nitro coffee.

For the same reason, switching to nitro coffee can reduce your calorie intake. Adding milk and sugar can “cost” you over 50 calories per cup, which adds up throughout the day. Nitro coffee doesn’t need any sweetener as it tastes great on its own.

Another side effect of drinking a cold brew is that it’s usually less acidic. This makes it easier for the gut to handle.

The biggest drawback is that nitro coffee contains more caffeine than regular coffee. Caffeine provides some health benefits, such as better mental performance and increased alertness. If you drink too much, however, it can cause anxiety, headaches and insomnia.

So, if you switch to nitro coffee, make sure you monitor your caffeine intake!

Can You Brew It At Home?

Unfortunately not – at least with a standard coffee machine. While your average bean-to-cup coffee machine (such as the ones found here) can brew an espresso or cappuccino that rivals coffee shop baristas, making cold nitro coffee is beyond them.

This might change in the future though. Some companies are starting to sell nitrogen taps for the home – although be prepared to spend several hundred dollars.

Where Can You Buy It?

While nitro coffee is still a “niche” product, it’s becoming increasingly popular in coffee shops. You can also buy nitro coffee in bottles at a number of stores, including certain Whole Foods stores.

Summary

Nitro coffee is more than the latest “coffee hipster” trend. It provides a different taste and texture to regular coffee – and could be a healthier alternative if you usually have lots of sugar with your coffee.

Adding nitrogen to coffee doesn’t automatically make it taste great though. The taste still depends on the type and quality of bean, grinding process and water purity. Nitro coffee is also more expensive than regular coffee. Even so, it’s hard to beat the smooth and rich taste.

About The Author:

Barbara is a coffee enthusiast, writer and parent from the UK. Aside from writing, her favorite weekend activity is visiting new coffee shops with her husband and children. You can find her on Twitter.

Leave a Comment:

WordPress Security