The Mother of Invention
Nothing spurs new ideas like a little friendly competition between specialty coffee houses. This very rivalry led to one of the most successful emerging trends in coffee today- the NITRO cold brew. If you are familiar with Guinness beer, you may recognize the similarities. In 1959 Guinness makers introduced a stout, infused with nitrogen, and pulled into the glass with a creamy foam head that has become the Guinness signature. The debate rages on which coffeehouse was inspired to create the nitro brew, but Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon, is credited with being one of the pioneers in 2013.
Carbon dioxide leaves a bitter taste; most beers and soda are carbonated with carbon dioxide. This leads to the formation of a very bitter-tasting carbonic acid masked by the sugar in soda and marketed as desirable in some beers. When coffeehouses began experimenting, they wanted to create a coffee that could be served cold without the dilution of added ice. They wanted to offer it milk-free while still providing the creamy mouthfeel. The Guinness makers’ nitrogen infusion procedure rather than carbon dioxide seemed like the solution.
Why Cold Brew?
Coffee made using the cold brew method produces a smoother result that tastes less acidic than traditional drip-brewed coffee. The reason is the natural acids inherent in coffee beans are extracted at higher brewing temperatures. These natural acids produce the signature aspect of hot-brewed coffees’ flavor and aroma. The cold brew method won’t extract the bright flavors associated with these acids but will highlight the rich naturally occuring flavor notes that result in a rich and smooth cold-brew coffee with a difference that you can taste.
Caffe’ Crema offers a limited amount of fresh cold brew coffee daily. The process is completed overnight, so when our cold-brew is gone- it’s gone for the day.
We begin with a pressurized vessel containing nitrogen that’s been pumped in via a line connected to a keg of cold-brewed coffee. Nitrogen doesn’t dissolve very well in water; 98 percent or so of your coffee is just water. This nitrogen and coffee mixture gets forced through a restrictor plate–a plate with a bunch of tiny holes. This helps get the gas into the liquid. It’s then pulled straight from the tap into a cold chilled glass. If you like syrups or milk, these will be added to your glass first so your nitro brew can mix naturally without losing any of that beautiful fizz.
Now that we have everyone all fired up to try NITRO brew, the sad news; we are still waiting for the nitro tanks to be delivered. It turns out tanks for this on-tap fresh process aren’t readily available from equipment suppliers in our area (go figure!). Once the nitrogen tanks arrive, Caffe Crema will complete our set-up, and we promise you will be the first to know!