Industry Trends: Chill Out with Nitro

best strong coffee
Cold Brew Nitro Glass

The world of coffee is constantly changing and evolving. Cold brew, or toddy brewing, recently came into vogue as caffeine addicts struggled to down a 20-ounce piping hot latte in 97-degree weather with 84 percent humidity. Hello, Midwest summer!

The cool news – sorry, couldn’t help it – is that cold brew is as simple to make as iced tea and has a number of advantages over ‘regular’ coffee.

Instead of using a high temperature and a short amount of time, cold brew dramatically extends the brew time (up to 24 hours) in order to extract the coffee’s flavor and caffeine. The end result will be roughly 33 percent more caffeinated but roughly 66 percent less acidic.

Here’s why: hot water draws out any natural acidity or oil in a coffee bean, so using cold water extracts the flavors and the caffeine exclusively.

So why not just pour coffee over ice when you’re ready to chill out? The distinction between iced coffee and cold brew lies in the water temperature—iced coffee was brewed hot and then cooled whereas ‘cold brew’ was never introduced to hot water. Aside from giving baristas more jargon, there lies the dramatic difference in the process and end result.

But if the concept of drinking cold coffee is new to you … well, strap in. Even more recent than cold brewed coffee is The Roasterie’s cold brewed Nitro Coffee. Almost identical to Guinness on tap, Nitro is kegged and hooked up to a nitrogen gas tank. As the coffee is pulled out of the tap (yes, coffee on tap), it’s infused with nitrogen gas for a smooth finish and gentle effervescence.  Because this is cold brewed coffee, the benefits of lessened acidity and higher caffeine content still apply. The nitrogen adds a creaminess in both flavor and texture.

You’ll find our Nitro Coffee on tap at our cafes in Leawood, Brookside, Southwest Boulevard, JCCC, as well as at Children’s Mercy Park, Brown & Loe, Snowball in St. Joseph, and for the employees at both Rego and Hufft Projects. Watch this blog to learn when we’ll have it available in cans. You read that right: robust, smooth and lightly effervescent coffee in cans. You’ll want to start making room in your refrigerator now.

And of course, you can find cold brew java at all three Roasterie cafes. Although the cold brew is popular during warm weather, it still provides a refreshing choice year ‘round.


HOME BREW: Having a pitcher of cold, ready-to-go coffee sitting in your fridge not only makes hectic mornings easier, but also the extra jolt of caffeine might not hurt, either! Making cold brew coffee in your own kitchen is a breeze.

Grab 12 oz of coarsely ground coffee, two qts of cold water and a pitcher (make less if you’d prefer, just scale back the recipe proportionally). Pre-ground coffee will work fine; just try steeping for closer to 12 hours instead of 24. Add half of your coffee and wet the grounds evenly with half of your water. Repeat. Then, stick it in the fridge and then let it sit for 12-24 hours!

The only trick with cold brew is how to strain the coffee grounds from the cold brew—we recommend transferring the cold brew to a different container and filtering the grounds at this step. Cover the new container in a coffee filter or cheese cloth, or, use a French Press if you have one since the mesh filter in the press will strain the grounds for you. We’ve tried make-shift tea bags for our cold brew but it doesn’t extract flavor nearly as well.

One important caveat: Making cold brew might require some trial and error because your favorite bean or blend for brewed coffee might not work as well as a cold brew. Don’t worry—try our cold brew blend, which is made with this specific method in mind.

Purchase online or at the Leawood, Brookside or Plant cafes.