So by now you’ve probably seen “cold drip” or “cold brew” coffee popping up in your local cafes. And now the latest craze of “nitro coffee” So what are they and why should you care?
They are all virtually the same thing made slightly different ways with the sole purpose of making a cold coffee that is smooth and flavourful enough to drink without milk, cream, sugar etc.
The usual way till recently of getting a cold coffee has been to pour a shot of expresso over ice. This has two major downfalls.
Cold brew or drip coffee on the other hand is made as it sounds. It is a much gentler extraction using course coffee grounds steeped in cold water for generally 12-24 hours (or cold water is dripped over them for a similar amount of time).
This results in a coffee with a much lower level of acidity and bitterness that is naturally sweeter and because it’s already cold when poured over ice it isn’t instantly diluted as the ice doesn’t melt immediately.
Cold brewing is generally regarded as a much better method of producing cold coffee for these reasons.
To make it yourself at home there is only 3 easy steps and you probably have everything you need already:
If you are like me head straight to this.
Put about 30ml of your coffee into a cocktail shaker with 30ml of vodka and 30ml of either kahlua or coffee patron tequila and ice and shake the hell out of it before straining into a martini glass and garnishing with a couple of coffee beans… Or have a keg of it on tap using our nitrogen kits, keep scrolling to see the video below! Breakfast of champions ;-)
There are also products available specifically designed for making cold brew or drip coffee that range from a simple bottle with a fine mesh tea infuser in it for around $20 up to a beautiful wood and glass drip contraption like you see in an upmarket café for several hundred dollars!
So you now have your homemade cold brew coffee but what is this nitro coffee business? I hear you say….
For a long time beer drinkers have loved using nitrogen or a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide for pouring stouts. It is what gives Guinness that beautiful cascading foam and creamy mouth-feel. This effect is created by using a stout tap, these have a long slender spout and work by forcing the beer through a restrictor plate (consisting of a plate with a few small holes drilled in it) inside them.
Normally beer is stored in a keg with a source of CO2 connected at about 10-12psi. Any more pressure than that would dissolve more CO2 than wanted into the beer making it an over-carbonated foamy mess when you poured it. To force the beer through that fine sieve though a much higher pressure of around 30-40psi is needed. This is where nitrogen comes in because, unlike CO2, nitrogen (N2) doesn’t dissolve very well into liquid. In fact at 5 deg C (normal serving temperature) CO2 is about 100x more soluble than nitrogen. Meaning we can store it a high pressure without further carbonating the beverage.
If you were to use CO2 in your coffee keg it would become carbonated over time undoing all that work you put in to make it. Carbonation adds an acidity and sharper mouth-feel to a drink whereas what we are aiming for is a smooth and rich flavour.
Therefore, nitrogen is great for storing and serving coffee!
If you were to put your coffee into a mini keg (or full size keg if you are a café, restaurant or bar owner) and flush it out with nitrogen your coffee is protected from oxygen that will cause it to go stale or off. You can then store it in the fridge for weeks!
You can pressurise the keg and pour your coffee from a tap whenever you want it without carbonating it. Or if you want a beautiful creamy cold brew that looks like a Guinness without needing any milk you can crank up the pressure, put on a stout tap and pour something like these little beauties!
Taking that further you can mix up a keg of the Espresso Martini recipe mentioned earlier and serve it any time without needing to shake anything! Just hold the glass under the tap and watch the magic happen!
If you are interested in a keg package to make your own nitro coffee, stout or cocktails at home, office or work check out this page in our shop, you can choose a keg from 2L up to 19L so there is something for every one (and they can of course be used for normal carbonated beer, cider and cocktail kegs or mixed drinks too by getting a CO2 bottle!)
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Launched in 2013 Tap King looked like being a decent option for people wanting to have beer on tap at home. After buying the plastic dispenser and a 3.2L disposable plastic bottles of a select range of beers you simply took them home, chilled them and then attached them to the dispenser to have beer on tap in the fridge.
On paper I'm sure their marketing team thought it sounded like a good idea. I don't know of a single beer drinker who wouldn't want "frosty cold, perfectly poured beer" on tap in their kitchen, bbq area or home bar.
We decided to do things a little differently with this list. We have approached breweries from around Australia and asked them what beer they were most proud of producing in 2016!
What we are hoping is to start a list of beers that the people who know best, the brewers, think we should try.
We will do this in a series of posts, each of which will have 5 breweries responses to our questions about their best beer of 2016 along with a couple of hints about what to expect from them in 2017.
So without further ado, presented in no particular order I give to you...