The truth is: coffee shops are RIPPING YOU OFF!! Especially when you can easily learn how to make nitro cold brew at home.
And with the same smooth taste plus natural sweetness you’d get from a coffee shop.
Find out what you need and learn our simple recipes NOW.
What Do You Need?
You’ll need the following items to make nitro cold brew coffee at home.
Ground Coffee Beans
I know, it sounds obvious. There are some key things to look out for though:
- Try using darker roast coffee for better, richer flavors
- Use coarse ground beans rather than fine
- Aim for a 1:4 ratio of coffee to water
Find a pitcher with a lid that’s large enough to fit all your coffee grounds and water. You’ll be leaving this pitcher in your fridge later for at least 12 to 24 hours.
Fine Mesh Strainer
After the 12-24 hours you’ll use the strainer to separate brewed coffee from the coffee grounds. I prefer to use a stainless steel mesh strainer – which helps prevent rust and damage.
Whipped Cream Dispenser and Nitrous Oxide Cartridge
Sounds weird right? But a whipped cream dispenser is one of the best ways to add nitrogen gas to your cold brew coffee… to transform it into NITRO cold brew!
Then you’ll need pressurized nitrous oxide cartridges (nitro cartridges for short) to add nitrogen bubbles. You can buy a nitrous oxide cartridge bundle for cheap online at Walmart and other stores.
All of these should be cheap if you buy in bulk. Especially compared to buying nitro cold brew at a local coffee shop or Starbucks – where you’ll be paying over 5 bucks for a cup.
Glass With Ice Cubes
When you’re done making nitro cold brew, this is where you’ll serve the final result. You can see there’s really not much needed at all to recreate this expensive coffee shop drink!
Best Coffee for Nitro Cold Brew
This section technically could go under the above “what you need” section. But we think it’s worth calling out. Just like our other top coffee recipes – the coffee beans are the biggest factor in how your coffee will turn out.
Definitely try out different types of coffee beans to make sure you get your favorite coffee flavor and best quality cold brew.
Check out our general tips though:
- Like always: use freshly roasted beans and freshly ground coffee. Try to grind your beans right after starting the cold brew process!
- Again: prefer coarse ground beans. This makes sure your cold brew is more smooth and less bitter. Plus it’s easier to separate the grounds from the cold brew at the end.
- Get dark or medium dark roast coffee beans. This helps the nitrogen infusion for the “nitro” part of the cold brew. You’ll get richer nitro cold brew.
Okay we’ve waited long enough. Let’s start brewing!
Easy Method: How to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home
Just follow the 4 steps below for your own nitro cold brew coffee:
Step 1: Steep the Coffee Grounds in Water
Put the coffee and water (reminder: 1:4 coffee to water ratio!) inside the large pitcher and stir. Put the lid on and place the pitcher inside your fridge for 12 to 24 hours. We prefer at least 18 hours.
Step 2: Filter out Coffee Grounds
Use your fine mesh strainer to separate out the cold brew from the coffee grounds into another container. Throw away the coffee grounds. You now have regular cold brew.
Step 3: Add Nitro to the Cold Brew
Here’s the fun part! Add some of the cold brew into the whipped cream dispenser. Screw on a nitro cartridge and shake the dispenser well for 30 seconds. The cold brew now has nitrogen gas bubbles.
Step 4: Serve Into Glass of Ice
Press the lever on the dispenser gently until you hear a hissing noise. Now you can serve and enjoy your nitro cold brew!
Other Cold Brewing Methods
What if you want cold brew coffee without whipped cream dispensers? We’ve been in this situation too. So we played around with what we had to come up with these simple recipes:
Soda Machine Method
If you already have a soda maker at home then this method is for you. You’ll add carbon dioxide to your cold brew coffee to turn it into “nitro.”
First, follow the easy guide above until you have regular cold brew to use as a coffee concentrate. Then pour the cold brew coffee into a soda maker bottle and screw it into the soda machine.
Press the carbonation button until the soda maker is done infusing gas. Feel free to do this again if you want more carbon. But don’t overdo it since too much carbon dioxide could cause a BOOM!
Remove the bottle and store it in your fridge for an hour. This gives the gas a chance to infuse more with your cold brew coffee.
Finally, you can serve your “nitro” cold brew coffee.
We put quotes around “nitro” because this method doesn’t use true nitrogen gas. So the coffee won’t be as creamy or smooth. You’ll get some fizziness and sweetness though. We think it’s worth a try.
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
What if you’re willing to spend more money for the best quality nitro cold brew coffee? You can buy a nitro cold brew coffee maker to get more control over the nitro infusion process. You’ll get thicker, creamier foam similar to beer.
Keep in mind though, that this will cost more at the beginning and need more space.
Here’s a quick guide on this process if you’re interested:
1. Follow the easy method above to make a cold brew concentrate.
2. Pour the cold brew into the coffee machine’s keg. Aim for around 75 percent full so there’s room for the nitrogen gas.
3. Attach a nitro cartridge and turn on the tap to infuse nitrogen.
4. Fill the glass of ice with nitro cold brew coffee. Then enjoy!
Use an AeroPress to Make the Cold Brew Concentrate
Check out this section of our AeroPress brew guide to learn how to mix up the flavor of your cold brew.
Enhance Your Nitro Cold Brew
There are so many ways you can spice up your simple nitro cold brew. Consider these 3 methods below and maybe come up with your own nitro cold brew recipe!
Create a Latte
Try adding milk or cream to the glass of ice. Then add nitro cold brew on top and stir gently. You’ll get an even more creamy and smooth cold brew drink.
To make up for the coarsely ground coffee flavor, you can add a shot of fresh espresso to the nitro cold brew coffee. Then stir to create a cold brew “red eye” drink.
We found this one a bit weird at first. But it’s so refreshing for those hot and humid summer days.
Add the juice from a whole lemon into your glass of ice. Try adding a small amount of sugar or syrup and see what works best for your taste. (You can add more later.)
Then add cold water and nitro cold brew (use a 1:2 ratio of water to cold brew). Stir well and enjoy!
Comparing Nitro Cold Brew to Regular Cold Coffee
- Less acid and bitterness: there’s more sweetness from the nitrogen gas, better for stomach and teeth
- More caffeine than regular coffee: requires more coffee grounds to brew + nitrogen gas causes more caffeine to be extracted
- More antioxidants: health and immune system benefits
- Higher cost and complexity especially compared to drip coffee: the price of nitro cartridges and special equipment can add up
- Different taste and texture: not everyone will enjoy the foam like texture compared to normal brewed coffee or espresso
Nitro Cold Brew Origin Story
Cuvee Coffee invented nitro cold brew coffee in 2012. Their founder – a man named Mike McKim – wanted to create a cold brew coffee similar to Guinness beer. He experimented until he found the best technique of infusing nitrogen gas with cold brew coffee.
Starbucks came up with their own version of nitro cold brew coffee with their own tap system. And Starbucks cold brew became very popular in 2015. We’re now familiar with other flavors of nitro cold brew, such as vanilla sweet cream and cold foam.
We covered an easy method for how to make nitro cold brew at home with just a few ingredients. You can either use a whipped cream dispenser or a nitro brew coffee machine. Or even a soda machine!
Whichever way you choose – it’s not too much more work than making regular cold brew coffee.
After you make your own nitro brew, try experimenting with other nitro coffee recipes. Consider using an espresso machine to create “red eye” drinks. Try our recipe to make nitro cold brew lemonade.
Coffee drinkers around the world no longer need to overpay when they can just follow our steps to make nitro cold brew at home. Enjoy!
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.