You’d be forgiven for thinking that, based on its name alone, nitro coffee is something the War Boys in Mad Max drink. But, in reality, it is an altogether more civilised offering, even it does seem to come from the mind of a futuristic mad scientist.
Nitro coffee is the name given to the product of a new brewing process that takes regular coffee beans, cold brews them, infuses them with nitrogen to create little bubbles, and then serves the bubbly liquid from a beer tap.
Where Does Nitro Coffee Come From?
The process was dreamed up by American food scientist (yes, that is a real thing), Nate Armbrust. The idea stemmed from Nate’s desire to create a coffee that was rich and creamy, and that would give the drinker’s mouth a pleasant sensation. Nate believed that using nitrogen bubbles was the best way to conquer the sensation, and that a cold-brewed coffee would sort out the richness.
The bubbles do more than just produce a pleasant feeling for the drinker, though; they also serve to make the coffee better. When coffee has a bitter taste it is usually down to oxidation. The bubbles in nitro coffee prevent oxidation by forcing the oxygen out of the liquid, resulting in a much smoother taste.
How is Nitro Coffee Made?
The process is scientific enough that you can imagine Breaking Bad’s Walter White running around a lab his haz-mat suit, fiddling with coffee beans – but that just makes it cooler. The coffee is first subjected to a cold brew for up to 16 hours. The coffee is then transferred to a pressurised keg, in which it is slowly infused with nitrogen. From there it is served via a draught tap, just like the ones you’d find at any respectable bar.
The entire process results in a very distinguished taste, which is accompanied by a very pleasant creaminess. It is also quite potent, owing to the long brewing process. The length of the cold brew means that a large amount of caffeine is extracted from the coffee beans, making the aptly named nitro coffee the perfect explosion of energy.
Where to Get Nitro Coffee
If there are two things we love in South Africa they are coffee and beer – which nitro coffee seems to be the perfect blend of (even though there’s absolutely no alcohol in this coffee). It would thus be a travesty if we couldn’t get this brew on our shores. But, fortunately, we can.
Nitro coffee is available at numerous locations around the country, such as The Grind in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, and the Cove and Origin in Cape Town.
Image credit: http://bk.asia-city.com/restaurants/news/nitro-coffee-kanchanaburi