I am sharing my thoughts on a new coffee product that is taking the coffee industry by storm: nitrogen infused cold brewed coffee. My initial impression was…skepticism. Seriously? Coffee enthusiasts must just be running out of ideas. I was going to need a lot of convincing. I mean, we’re all accustomed to the ebb and flow of popular culture. We’ve seen trends come and go. We’ve seen the patchwork of successful innovation and fads that live and die in the blink of an eye. I have seen this same ebb and flow within my eight years working in the coffee industry. I’ve witnessed technological advances truly shape the direction of coffee production, and those that are moreover a waste of time and money. Nitrogen infused coffee? Where does it fall in all of this? In order to find out, let me explain the background on the drink itself, and share my thoughts on its ingenuity in the coffee market.
In all the different ways to prepare and serve coffee, cold brew or “iced coffee” had never drawn my attention in the past. Here’s why. To make a cold brewed coffee it is best to work with cold water and very long steep times. When extracting coffee with cold water, it behaves much differently than traditionally extracting coffee with hot water. You are left with a beverage that is very smooth but lacking in acidity and complexity. That being said, cold brew is an outrageously popular product for Amavida’s Floridian cafes (and for good reason). Just imagine…it is mid-July, 98 degrees of relentless heat bellowing up from the sand… and you have a glass of ice cold, smooth, chocolaty, sweet, cold brewed coffee dripping condensation in your hand. Sounds like magic. Pure magic. It is magic, but
that lack of flavor complexity was always an issue for me. In fact, it’s been an issue for coffee enthusiasts for many years. Until a trend caught on to take this complexity issue from a different angle. By changing the TEXTURE of a beverage, one can essentially change its flavor, as the taste buds perceive the same flavoring compounds differently. Infusing a cold brewed coffee with nitrogen creates this texture.
Nitrogen infusion is nothing new. In fact, it has been used in the beer industry for years in a variety of stouts and lagers (the most recognizable of these being Guinness). Where as carbonation creates large reactive bubbles that dissipate quickly, nitrogenation creates very small, lingering ones. This creates a beautiful, cascading head on a normally flat cold brewed coffee. The nitrogen is introduced inside a kegged batch of cold brewed coffee, and ran through a tap system to evenly infuse the coffee as it is being poured.
The first time I tried our nitro coffee, perfectly dialed in and poured properly…I was blown away. The life and complexity that was now incorporated into the beverage, was like nothing I had ever tasted from a cold brewed coffee. It was one of the most surprising experiences in the industry I have had. The nitrogen brought in so much of what I thought cold brew was lacking, but in ways I wouldn’t have ever imagined. The small nitrogen bubbles create a heavy, milk like texture. This creamy mouth feel allowed me to perceive a beautiful, natural sweetness. What brightness was lacking in cold brewed coffee, Nitro made me forget entirely with a new bubbly richness not seen any other coffee preparation.
Nitrogen infused Coffee is the real deal. This is true innovation, and this is something special. Most importantly, this is something so different… so completely out of the box that I am positive any normal cold-brew coffee drinkers will be amazed at just how different it is. Stop by one of our cafes and see what all the hype is about. Check out the nitro system. See what coffees we use, ask about the brew process, and get in on this innovation that is here to stay.