What is Starbucks Nitro Coffee?

Nitro coffee is the process of infusing coffee with nitrogen gas, typically cold brew coffee. When served nitro coffee resembles as Guinness draft beer. Learn how to infuse coffee with nitrogen and serve your own nitro coffee.

When infusing coffee with nitrogen gas, this opens up a whole new appearance, mouthfeel and flavor profile for your normal cup of coffee or cold brew. 

The very first thing you will notice when served a well-infused nitro coffee is the beautiful cascading effect.  A nitro coffee will resemble a Guinness draft beer.  As the cascade settles in the glass over a couple minutes you will be left with a light fluffy and creamy light-brown head on top. 

Nitrogen infusion creates microbubbles, resulting in a frothy, creamy smooth texture with enhanced aroma.    

How Do You Infuse Coffee with Nitrogen?

The process of making nitro coffee, or infusing coffee with nitrogen can be done in a couple of different ways which you can read about in our full article "How Do You Make Nitro Coffee?". 

First and foremost you will need a draft system (such as a nitro coffee kegerator) outfitted with stainless steel components, and a nitro/stout faucet.  And with any draft system, you will need kegs to pressurize and serve your coffee from. 

Once you have your basic components for serving draft coffee, there are essentially two ways of infusing coffee with nitrogen gas, which would be done by pre-infusing kegs with nitrogen or using an inline nitrogen infuser (which infuses on the fly as you serve). 

  1. Pre-Infusing - This is a great and very affordable way of making nitro coffee.  Pre-infusing kegs involves pressurizing the kegs of cold brew coffee at high pressures (typically 35PSI or higher) for a period of time.  Like any gas, it can take days for gas to infuse into a liquid, but there are ways to speed up this process when pre-infusing kegs because waiting days for your nitro coffee is not always an option.  When pre-infusing your kegs, you want to make sure the liquid is as cold as possible.  Gasses tend to absorb better into colder liquids than room temp or warm.  Also, agitating/shaking the keg will help force more gas into the keg and mix with the liquid, infusing it faster. Using a Quick Cascade Keg Lid to infuse the keg with nitrogen gas will allow you to serve nitro coffee in a matter of minutes and maintain those rich frothy pours for the life of the keg. 

  2. Inline Nitro Infusion - This method is more expensive upfront, but greatly cuts down on time and the number of steps taken in producing nitro coffee.  The Inline Nitro Infuser mounts inside your existing draft system and turns a keg of flat cold brew coffee into nitro coffee inline as you pour.  No need to pre-infuse kegs to achieve a rich froth nitro pour.  Just hook up your flat keg of cold brew and you are good to go!  

In the end, either method works well for making your nitro coffee.   It usually boils down to your process and workflow and which method works best for your situation and budget.  

For more information on cold brew coffee and serving on draft, check out our cold brew coffee ebooks and browse our large selection of nitro coffee equipment on Keg Outlet! 

And as always, if you have questions on what you need or should get, don't hesitate to contact us!

Checkout This Beautiful Nitro Coffee Cascade


Was this information helpful? 8 out of 8 found this helpful

Need more help or clarification?

Don't hesitate to ask us!

Associated Products