Best Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers

In 2015 Starbucks nitro cold brew coffee took the world by storm! In the decade since then, nitro cold brew has become one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.

With nearly every mainstream coffee shop (Dunkin’, La Colombe) and even many local coffee shops selling a cup… but for probably $5 to 10 US dollars each. Yikes.

So how about we look into creating our own nitro cold brew coffee with the convenience of home? And at a fraction of the price of a coffee shop?

Look no further: a nitro cold brew coffee maker is the BEST commitment you can make!

Best Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Our Top Picks

  1. The Original Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker – Editor’s Choice
  2. GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker – Most Similar to Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew
  3. NutriChef Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker – Best for Quality and Ease of Use

The Original Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Editor’s Choice

The top choice here at My Kitchen Sensei! We’re in awe of how high quality the nitro cold brew from the Royal Brew coffee maker is: smooth, creamy, and utterly delicious.

There are 2 standouts we think you MUST know about:

  1. Patented pressure relief valve
    • Royal Brew perfected their own design over the years and even took out a patent on it
    • when pressure comes anywhere close to safety limits… don’t worry, it immediately releases pressure by itself (compare to other products where you need to be on constant alert and do this manually)
  2. Outstanding stout creamer faucet
    • this is the reason the resulting nitro cold brew is so CREAMY!
    • you get a full cascading pour and high-pressure nitrogen forced into the cold brew right when you dispense from the coffee maker – for nitro brew similar to high end coffee shops

Then there are other features you’d expect from the best nitro cold brew coffee maker:

  • You can adjust the pressure, amount of nitrogen, and even set the caffeine level you want.
  • Made out of stainless steel, so it’s rust proof and doesn’t get scratched.
  • You can use most brands of cartridges – and either pure nitrogen or nitrous oxide.
  • There is a tap plug to prevent dripping.
  • There’s a carry bag for extra portability.
  • There are cleaning brushes + the coffee maker and its hoses were designed to be easy to clean.

I absolutely love nitro cold brew coffee! And the Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker has to be one of my favorite nitro cold brew makers. It’s like having a professional coffee shop in my kitchen: getting nitro cold brew with minimum hassle but max quality. The texture is just so creamy!

Of course, we hold ourselves up to high standards at My Kitchen Sensei. So here are downsides to the Royal Brew nitro coffee machine that we found:

  1. The 128 ounce cold brew keg option weighs 9 pounds. Heavy! (more so than our other featured products)
  2. The instruction manual included isn’t very clear: we think it could use troubleshooting tips. And include more pictures for adjusting the pressure regulator. You should check out the official video guide instead to learn how to setup and use the machine. (But we get not everyone likes to learn from videos.)
ProsCons
✅ Patented safety features❌ On the bulkier side, especially if you choose the 128 ounce cold brew keg option
✅ Durable and long lasting❌ Video guide might be more helpful than the instruction manual
✅ Extra creamy texture, due to multi year developments
✅ Compatible with most nitrogen cartridges

GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Most Similar to Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew

GrowlerWerks is very proud of their coffee maker’s end product! The Starbucks coffee council and many current + former baristas have commented on how similar the resulting cold brew coffee is to Starbucks’.

How?

It uses the same process as Starbucks: infuse normal cold brew with micro bubbles of nitrous oxide while it’s brewed. And even when it’s stored after brewing!

GrowlerWerks makes a big deal out of keeping your nitro cold brew fresh, cold, and creamy for a LONG time. They designed their coffee maker with double wall vacuum insulation just for this purpose.

There’s also the regulator cap that maintains nitro pressure for up to 2 weeks.

During those 2 weeks, you can use the sight glass to keep an eye on the nitro bubbles and remaining coffee level.

GrowlerWerks has their own “integrated” nitro gas system. We think there’s both a pro and a con to this:

  • Pro: Patented nitro pressurization system that automatically keeps nitro pressure for your nitro brew
  • Con: GrowlerWerks tries very hard to sell their uKeg nitro cartridges – so it’s not always clear which other cartridges work. Also, pure nitrogen is NOT an option.

So for safety: the regulator cap and patented nitro pressurization system mean you don’t need to worry about accidents or spills.

And for convenience: uKeg’s system and video guides will make it easy for you to setup. And you get 1-2 weeks’ worth of coffee after each brewing cycle that stays fresh. Which makes life much easier we think!

The GrowlerWerks nitro cold brew maker is like having my own mini coffee bar at home! I love having access to high quality nitro cold brew coffee without having to leave home during COVID times. And for a cheaper price too.

ProsCons
✅ Patented nitro pressure system❌ Only supports nitrous oxide
✅ Keeps nitro cold brew creamy for up to 2 weeks❌ Might need to buy uKeg cartridges and filter bags
✅ Automatic safety features❌ Sometimes after 2 weeks, our last few glasses of nitro cold brew are flat 🙁

NutriChef Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Best for Quality and Ease of Use

We found this coffee maker to have the EASIEST setup and cleaning. You can assemble, disassemble, and clean just with your hands (and 10 seconds with the included wrench tool). And within a few minutes at most.

Then you just shake and pull the lever… then out comes nitro cold brew coffee!

(Warning: don’t go crazy shaking though. One of our friends had a little too much to drink, and went crazy with our NutriChef nitro cold brew machine. We had quite the mess in our kitchen afterwards!)

The other 2 products we reviewed above did NOT have great instruction manuals. But NutriChef went above and beyond with designing an easy product AND providing clear written + video steps.

We appreciated the 2 different sized brushes too. A bigger keg cleaning brush and a smaller stout faucet brush. You won’t need these too often though – we mostly do fine using just hot water and a bit of dish soap. But maybe we’re just lazy!

Compared to other nitro cold brew coffee makers: this one is quite light at 4 pounds. While having the same great features like:

  • stainless steel that’s rust proof
  • pressure relief valve
  • stout creamer faucet

I chose the NutriChef Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker as my first nitro cold brew maker. Don’t regret my decision one bit! It’s been easy to use and maintain.

We agree with the above quote. But we’ll add that we enjoy the nitro cold brew more from the Royal Brew and GrowlerWerks nitro cold brew coffee makers. (The NutriChef one is usually a lot cheaper though, and still produces a delicious nitro cold brew!)

And unfortunately this nitro cold brew coffee kit also does not support pure nitrogen cartridges. Only nitrous oxide.

ProsCons
✅ Easiest to use option, with simple design and instructions❌ Not compatible with pure nitrogen gas, only nitrous oxide
✅ Lightest option❌ Drips unless you put the included cap on
✅ Less expensive than many other options❌ Cold brew doesn’t stay foamy and creamy as long as other coffee makers

What to Consider For a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Material and Durability

We recommend going for stainless steel. Compared to aluminum or plastic, you’ll get the most resistance to rust and stains. Which means you’ll find it easier to keep your nitro cold brew maker clean.

Stainless steel also keeps your coffee cold and maintains the creamy texture and smooth flavor of the cold brew.

Nitrogen Compatibility

Consider that depending on which nitro cold brew coffee maker you choose, it might work with any of these: N2 (pure nitrogen), N2O (nitrous oxide), or CO2 (carbon dioxide) cartridges. Here’s a short comparison of all 3 types:

  • N2 (pure nitrogen) is the most expensive but creates the smallest bubbles which causes the densest, smoothest texture. It doesn’t change the coffee’s flavor. Starbucks nitro cold brew uses this type.
  • N2O (nitrous oxide) is cheaper and easier to find. It changes the flavor of the coffee, turning it sweeter. You’ll still get nitrogen bubbles though.
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide) will turn the coffee fizzy and more acidic, so it’s less popular. Some people enjoy this kind of cold brew coffee. Though it’s not our favorite.

Choose your nitro cold brew maker based on which types of cartridges it supports and which you prefer.

Safety

Since we’re dealing with pressurized gas and liquid: safety is the most important factor to consider for the best nitro cold brew coffee maker. Let’s consider the most important feature to help prevent harm.

Pressure Relief Valve

A pressure relief valve will release extra pressure from the nitro cold brew machine’s keg. Before it gets the chance to leak. Or worse, explode!!

Ideally there is both an automatic release of extra pressure and a manual option – so that you can remove some gas before opening the keg or changing cartridges.

Always be alert when using nitro cold brew systems.

Other features are nice to haves but not absolutely necessary:

  • Pressure gauge: Check the pressure inside your cold brew keg and adjust if needed
  • Stainless steel keg: Easier to clean and prevent rust, so you’ll have cleaner and healthier coffee

Performance

Pressure Gauge

Let’s talk more about the pressure gauge. The perfect nitro cold brew requires pressure of around 25 to 35 psi (pounds per square inch). Ideally you can just check the gauge and adjust the pressure if needed. See how having one can be useful?

And within the 25 to 35 psi range: higher pressure means smoother texture while lower pressure causes a more fizzy texture. Try out both options to see which you prefer.

Stout Creamer Faucet

Picture the perfect beer from tap. It likely has a creamy head at the top.

That’s what the stout creamer faucet does for us! There’s a special nozzle that forces the coffee through tiny holes which creates the smoothest coffee. The fanciest models let you control how much foam you want too.

Filters

Filters help your nitro brew coffee maker in 2 ways:

  1. They prevent clogging in the nitro coffee maker’s tap and nozzle
  2. They remove sediment which helps make the nitro cold brew smoother

Convenience

This category is the more difficult to measure because there are many factors to think about. Here are the ones we find most important:

  • Is there a low learning curve: short and clear instructions, easy controls and cleaning
  • Do you need to change the nitrogen cartridges often? Is it hard to change them?
  • Does it come with spare parts? It’s a big plus if you can easily replace parts like a tap plug or stout stainless steel faucet
  • Does it come with a coffee funnel? This will help add more air and control when pouring the coffee
  • Are there cleaning brushes to help you clean the nitro keg, stout tap, and the nozzle?
  • How often do you need to brew a new batch of nitro cold brew coffee?

Size

Think about how much nitro cold brew you’ll be drinking. Plus how much space you have for the coffee maker.

Typically nitro cold brew coffee makers will range from 16 to 128 ounces in capacity.

Keep in mind that nitro cold brew lasts for up to 1-2 weeks in the fridge. We like to brew nitro cold brew at the beginning of the week. Kind of like meal prep.

We also like to share nitro cold brew with our friends and family. Save them from paying 6 bucks for a Starbucks venti nitro cold brew!

Price

Unlike other types of coffee makers, nitro cold brew coffee makers vary a lot in price. They will sell from anywhere from under $100 US dollars to over $500 US dollars.

Don’t forget the price of the nitrogen cartridges too.

We think about cost like this: a nitro brew coffee maker is a one time cost. Then for coffee grounds and nitrogen gas cartridges, it’s OK as long as the amount for 1 serving is cheaper than 1 drink from coffee shops.

How Do Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers Work?

Glad you asked! Let’s first learn how cold coffee becomes nitro coffee.

How Exactly Does Regular Coffee Become Nitro?

Let’s start with a bit of a science lesson. Don’t worry, it’s simple!

Nitrogen is a gas that doesn’t smell or taste like anything. Its bubbles make liquids thick and creamy though. And that’s exactly what we want for nitro cold brew coffee.

It stays in water and coffee for a long time too, which is why a great nitro cold brew coffee maker can keep nitro pressure long after you brew coffee. The nitrogen gas stays trapped in the nitro keg and inside the nitro brew coffee.

But how do we get nitrogen into cold coffee in the first place? Simple: we use high pressure to force nitrogen gas into already cold brewed coffee, making it into nitro coffee!

3 Main Parts of a Nitro Cold Brew Kit

There are 3 main parts that make the nitro pressure process happen: the keg, the tap, and a nitrogen source.

The Keg

The keg’s purpose is to store the cold brew coffee and nitrogen gas while withstanding pressure.

It should ideally be stainless steel, because that makes it easy to clean and durable. Plus this keeps a cold temperature and coffee flavor better than other materials.

The Tap

Ideally this is a stout creamer faucet. That has a special nozzle for extra creamy texture.

Even if you have a regular faucet though, this is where the nitro coffee comes out of the keg and into your glass.

Nitrogen Source (Cartridge or Charger)

This is almost always pure nitrogen (N2) or nitrous oxide (N2O). Either will provide nitrogen gas bubbles that get forced into your own cold brew.

There are lots of different opinions about which are better or if they’re the same. Our opinion is that N2 creates a smoother and creamier texture. But N2O comes very close and is quite cheaper + easier to find.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Nitro Different From Regular Cold Brew Coffee?

Regular cold brew is more acidic and bitter, which might hurt your stomach or teeth more than nitro cold brew. It’s also cheaper than nitro cold brews, since you need to pay for nitro coffee makers and nitrogen gas cartridges.
Nitro cold brew on the other hand: needs more coffee grounds, extracts more caffeine via the nitro coffee extraction process, has more antioxidants which come with health advantages, comes with foam and creamy texture that cold brew concentrate doesn’t have, and is sweeter yet has less calories compared to regular coffee drinks.

What Kinds of Coffee Beans Should I Use?

It’s best to grind fresh coffee beans with a coarse grind size. Pick dark or medium dark roast coffee beans.

But why coarse ground coffee?

This helps separate the grounds from the nitro cold brewed coffee from the coffee grounds at the end of your brewing cycle.

Can I Make Nitro Cold Brew Without Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers?

Check out our easy nitro cold brew recipe for making nitro cold brew at home with a whipped cream dispenser. Also on that page are other methods of nitro cold brewing coffee that are sure to please any coffee drinkers.

Bryan Han

By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.

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