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Nitro coffee. The name suggests a high octane rocket fuel-like drink that will propel you into space! Sounds out of this world, right? But what is it really, and why would you drink this effervescent beverage of the future? Come aboard the educational Java Ship Express for a tour into the wonderful world of nitro coffee.

Preparing for Launch – What is Nitro?

Nitro coffee, simply enough, is coffee that has been infused with nitrogen. The result is a coffee drink that has a rich, creamy head — similar to a stout beer like Guinness — and a nice smooth finish. Because of the nitrogen infusion, it doesn’t need dairy to soften the sharpness that normal hot or cold brewed coffee can sometimes have. The nitrogen also enhances the true flavors of the coffee itself (meaning it actually tastes the way the roaster intended it to).

3, 2, 1…Blast Off! – Why Nitro?

Nitro has been around for a few years now, and has become the brain juice of choice for many millennials. But why (other than it being a new and trendy drink) would you even want to drink something like this? Since the dawn of coffee consumption, we’ve been led to believe that coffee is supposed to be the proverbial hug in a mug – a hot, toasty cup of love that also amps up your productivity level. We don’t think of coffee as something served cold and poured like a beer.

There are a few different reasons why nitro coffee is a good thing. If you’re of drinking age and you’re the designated driver, you can have a nitro brew poured and it looks just like a beer, so you won’t feel left out from the group and you’ll be able to stay awake to get home safely. Nitro coffee also has a bit more caffeine than regular hot coffee, so that means the only thing you’ll have to worry about is dragging getting your friends out of the bar at a decent hour.

Another great thing about nitro is that it’s a healthy alternative for people who are sensitive to dairy and/or sugar. Not only does nitrogen enhance the flavor of the coffee but it also brings out a subtle sweetness, so put your sugar, Splenda, agave, vanilla or chocolate syrup away. Nitro coffee is also less acidic due to its brewing method, so you’re not going to need to dump creamer and sugar into your java to make it more palatable.

We’re in Orbit! – The Future of Nitro

What if saying the words cold and coffee together in the same sentence makes you go “NO”? Don’t worry, there’s a nitro kegging company that’s looking out for you. BonaFide Nitro has developed what they call the Craft Draft Process, which means you can have your nitro both ways – cold for the blistering days of summer and hot for, well, every other occasion.

But let’s take it one step further. You want to get gutsy and futuristic? Why not make nitro at home. Yeah, I said it. Sounds scary, right? Wrong! Very soon, a brand-new How-To article is going to be blasting off into hyperdrive to deliver you the tools you need to make nitro coffee in your own kitchen (with items you might already have or can easily purchase). Stay tuned – it’ll be showcased when it’s in orbit.

Making Nitro infused coffee
Soon, we’ll have a complete how-to on CoffeeGeek showing how you can make nitro-infused coffee at home.

And one last thing: Remember to never ever break the following unofficial nitro coffee rule – ice has no place in your nitro coffee. Why? Well, you don’t put ice in your Guinness, right? Same goes for your nitro. Enjoy it just as poured. 

Robyn earned her coffee stripes working as a barista up and down the California coast. After ten years, she moved from behind the bar to behind a desk as the inside sales rep for a local wholesale coffee roastery. She is currently a contributing writer at BuzzFeed and works in social media marketing and design. When it comes to espresso, nothing makes her happier than a decadent crema.

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