How to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home

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Nitro cold brew is a huge coffee trend right now. But what exactly is it, and how did it start? Even more, what kind of equipment do you need to whip up your own?

Dive into making nitro cold brew at home! It’s simple and enjoyable, creating a deliciously rich caffeine kick that’ll make your friends jealous. Start your journey here!

Cold Brew vs Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew, showing the Guinness-like bubbles

Nitro cold brew takes your regular cold coffee and jazzes it up with nitrogen, creating a fun, bubbly feel like a Guinness beer, topped with a creamy foam. This magic touch adds a smooth, velvety texture and a hint of sweetness to your drink, all without a sprinkle of sugar.

Just like its cousin, cold brew, nitro coffee starts its journey brewed slowly in cool conditions. But, the magic twist with nitro cold brew happens after it’s brewed, setting it apart from regular cold brew.

Nitro Cold Brew Origin

Nitro cold brew, a recent coffee sensation, started in 2013 at Cuvée Coffee in Austin, Texas. Though new, it quickly caught the attention of Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon, who embraced and expanded on the concept.

In 2015, Cuvée and Stumptown started a trend by selling nitro cold brew in special cans that keep it fresh and fizzy. Not wanting to miss out, Starbucks introduced their own nitro cold brew in 2016, bringing this cool drink to 500 stores.

Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and many local cafes now serve nitro coffee. But the true adventure? Crafting your own nitro cold brew right in your kitchen. It’s easier than you think and way more fun!

How to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home

A bottle of pre-made cold brew coffee beside a glass of ice

Creating nitro cold brew involves two steps. If you’re familiar with making cold brew, you’re halfway there! The first step is just like your usual cold brew process.

Make Cold Brew Coffee

Explore three coffee options, from super easy to more challenging.

  • Buy pre-made cold brew
  • Use a cold brew pitcher
  • Build-your-own cold brew setup

Here, I’ll be walking you through that last option.

What you’ll need

  • 1.5 cups coffee beans (or coarse ground coffee). You can buy coarsely ground coffee, but I recommend grinding your own coffee beans for maximum freshness.
  • 4 cups filtered water. You can use any water, but the flavor will be best if you remove impurities and especially hard mineral content.
  • More filtered water to dilute.
  • coffee grinderSkip this one if you are using pre-ground coffee.
  • A sealed container. This needs to be big enough to hold the grounds and water. Something with a tight seal (like a mason jar) is best to avoid excess oxygen impacting the freshness of your coffee.
  • A coffee filter or cheesecloth.

This recipe uses a 1:8 coffee-to-water ratio. Feel free to tweak it to suit your taste!

Making cold brew coffee, step-by-step

  1. Grind the coffee beans. If you are using whole beans, grind them on a coarse or extra-coarse setting. The result should be the size of ground peppercorn. I don’t recommend a blade grinder, but if you have to use one you should apply short pulses (about 1 second each) until the appropriate texture is achieved. 
  2. Combine the ingredients. Transfer the coffee grounds to your brewing container and pour the water over the top of the grounds.
  3. Stir the mixture. Use a long spoon to thoroughly mix the grounds and water, making sure to dig up any grounds that have stuck to the bottom of the container. You want all of the ground coffee to be thoroughly saturated with water.
  4. Let it brew. Seal the container and let it sit for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. You can also brew it on the countertop if you want to, but I find the colder temperature improves the result.
  5. Strain the coffee. Take the coffee filter or cheesecloth and place it on top of a container that you can pour the coffee into. You may need to use clips or a rubber band to hold the filter in place. Slowly pour the coffee through the filter.
  6. Dilute the brew. Cold brewing creates a coffee concentrate, so you’ll want to dilute the coffee to your preferred strength with filtered water. I’d start off with 50/50 concentrate-to-water, but you may want to dilute further if the coffee is still too strong.
  7. Drink it or move to the nitro phase. You can drink this result as-is or store it for up to a week in the fridge. But we are here to make nitro cold brew, so let’s move to the next phase of the process.

Infuse the Coffee With Nitrogen

Transforming your regular cold brew into an exciting nitro cold brew happens in this step. You’ll need special gear for this magic (sorry, but simply blowing bubbles won’t cut it). Luckily, there are a few different tools you can choose from to make it happen.

Using a whipped cream dispenser

Whipped cream dispensers are a budget-friendly choice for making creamy coffee. They usually use nitrous oxide (N2O) cartridges, which create bigger bubbles and a less creamy texture. For a smoother, creamier coffee, you can opt for nitrogen (N2) cartridges, though they might cost a bit more.

Start with this as a beginner, but as your love for the craft grows, consider switching to a mini-keg for a better experience.

  1. Fill the dispenser. Add about 1 cup of the diluted cold brew coffee to your whipped cream dispenser.
  2. Charge it up. Charge the dispenser with 1 shot of nitrogen (or nitrous oxide) and shake it for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the nitro. Pull the trigger to discharge the gas and pour the nitro cold brew into a glass. You can serve it over ice and add any additional cream, sugar, etc. at this point.
  4. Drink it up. Enjoy your homemade nitro. You’ve earned it.

Using a mini-keg

Mini kegs are a game-changer for cold brew lovers! They let you make bigger batches easily, are super simple to use, and you can even keep your nitro brew fresh in the keg until it’s time to enjoy.

Planning to serve nitro cold brew to guests or sip on it all week? A mini keg is your best bet over a whipped cream dispenser. It’s more user-friendly for larger batches. The catch? Be ready to spend between $100-300.

Best Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Explore my top picks for nitro kegs, perfect for any coffee lover!

Best nitro cold brew coffee maker: Royal Brew nitro cold brew coffee maker

Royal Brew’s keg sports a sleek design that’ll shine in your coffee corner. You can pick from shiny stainless steel or cool matte black. It comes in a cozy 64 ounces, but if you’re a big cold brew fan, there’s a hefty 128-ounce option just for you. Perfect for those who can’t get enough of their cold brew!

Their kegs, crafted from top-notch, food-safe stainless steel, are a breeze to set up and use. Simply fill the keg halfway or a bit more, pop in a nitrogen capsule, and in just an hour, you’ll have bubbly coffee ready.

They also include a lifetime warranty and outstanding customer service, adding extra value to your purchase. This makes it a much safer choice than the numerous low-quality nitro kegs available.

Best all-in-one cold brew coffee maker: GrowlerWerks uKeg nitro cold brew coffee maker

GrowlerWerks has tackled a major problem for nitro coffee lovers: keeping it cold. Thanks to the uKeg’s smart double-wall insulation, your cold brew stays chilly for hours. This means even the most leisurely coffee drinkers can enjoy their nitro fix without the rush! 

This handy gadget is a complete cold brew maker, letting you brew and pour your coffee from one container. Or, brew elsewhere and simply use the uKeg to serve your coffee like a cool keg!

They solved a big problem: clogs that annoy users of similar systems. Their dual filter system almost completely stops clogs, making it super easy to enjoy great cold brew without any trouble.

The uKeg can store 50 ounces of delicious cold brew, keeping it fresh for weeks with a special valve that stops oxidation. Enjoy nitro coffee that stays fresh and tasty! 

Best budget nitro cold brew keg: HB Brewing nitro cold brew coffee maker

The HB Brewing nitro maker can fill up with 64 ounces of your favorite cold brew and is available in stainless steel, white, or black.

This system is a breeze to set up and operate, crafted from high-quality stainless steel. It’s straightforward, yet it delivers amazing nitro effortlessly. What more could you ask for?

My Morning Brew nitro cold brew coffee maker

The My Morning Brew nitro keg comes in sleek black or stainless steel, offering a top-notch choice for your nitro cold brew needs. It fits 64 ounces, just like most kegs. Plus, it boasts a full money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

NutriChef nitro cold brew coffee maker

The NutriChef is a great pick with its 64-ounce capacity and a special pressure valve that keeps your coffee fresh. Like many on our list, it’s crafted from high-quality stainless steel and is super easy to get started with and use.

Cold Brew Is Better at Home

Nitro cold brew from coffee shops tastes great, but making it yourself adds a special touch. As a coffee lover, you have the power to create the ultimate nitro cold brew. Experiment with different flavors and find your perfect match. Why not start with Ethiopian coffee beans or Costa Rican coffee? Dive in and enjoy the journey to your ideal brew!

Want to impress your friends? Try sharing a cold brew from a keg. It’s not just delicious—it’s a fantastic way to spark conversations. Coffee in a keg? Now that’s cool!

Want to enjoy delicious nitro cold brew without breaking the bank? You can easily make it at home! Not only will you save money, but you’ll also use better quality coffee than what you find at Starbucks. Plus, the cost per cup drops significantly. There’s no downside to beginning your own nitro cold brew adventure.

nitro cold brew at home

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