Nitrogen Cold Brew Coffee
Coffee shops, like any other business, have to continually innovate and find new ways to bring in customers. This summer, that's meant taking the traditional iced coffee one step further by introducing Nitro Coffee, a cold brew that's kept on tap in much the same way your favorite ale, porter or stout would be.
The method is simple: cold brew an enormous amount of coffee (four gallons or more), put it in a keg, chill, and then -- using either nitrogen gas or a mix of nitrogen and CO2, put it under pressure at between 3 and 6 PSI to serve. Too little pressure and the coffee stays in the keg; too much and the coffee starts to carbonate, taking on the aggressive bubbly character of Bud Light or other, similar sodas.*
There's a bit of showmanship here; the coffee is typically served in a pint, pilsner or tulip glass to show off the cascade of bubbles. And of course, there's the taste. The brew that results is remarkably like a draught of coffee stout or chocolate stout -- the same subtle effervescence that isn't quite a fizz, a small head, and a velvety, bittersweet finish. You can drink one with lunch and not have to worry about DUI checkpoints on your way back to the office. You won't have to worry about feeling sluggish 'roundabout 2 o'clock, either. In fact, some who've tried the drink say that it delivers about the same punch as a double espresso, though that could just be a placebo effect.
This is admittedly a bit of a niche pursuit; so far, only a handful of coffee roasters and shops offer the stuff, including Stumptown, Filtered, and Brooklyn Roasting Company. However, it's popular and intriguing enough that equipment and tutorials have started to crop up online as well, so if you're looking to try this at home you can get a few bags of our Union Square dark roast, visit one of the links below, and get started making your own.
More about nitrogen cold brew coffee can be found courtesy of the New York Post and Bon Appetit. If you'd like to brew your own, information, recipes and supplies can be found at KegOutlet and beveragefactory.com. *Yes, I'm aware that Budweiser is beer. Technically speaking.