Activate the Nitro!
The warmer months approach and simultaneously the desire to reach for a frosty cold beverage increases. Yet the need to consume scrumptious specialty coffee is still high. Such a quandary! Cold drip and cold brew coffees have stepped in to help fill this void over the years, but now a new iteration of chilled coffee is slowly jockeying for pole position in the Summer Caffeine Cup. Nitro Cold Brew coffee has been around for a while now, more so outside of Australia, but has not yet become a staple of coffee menus in Oz.
But first, what exactly is Nitro Cold Brew?
Put simply Nitro cold brew coffee is a cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen in order to give it a rich, creamy head, like that of a Guinness. The reason behind this textural phenomenon is that the nitrogen bubbles are smaller in size than those of commonly used carbon dioxide, resulting in subtly carbonated beverage with a thicker, velvety mouthfeel.
Introducing the Brood.
Getting into the brewing fun traditionally requires some thoughtful hardware and bench setup. Tap installations into counter tops, kegs, nitrogen tanks and regulators to name but a few. Little experience or brewing knowledge coupled with these tricky equipment requirements have created a barrier to entry to creating delicious concoctions in house. Barriers be gone, the time is now!
One exciting innovation making the setup a lot more convenient is the Nitro V2PX from Brood. The V2PX draws pre prepared cold brew coffee from any container, keg, or bag-in-a-box, chills it instantly, then infuses the coffee with nitrogen, making fridges and gas cylinders non-essential. But, how are you doing all that V2PX?
The nitrogen used is extracted from the air via a compressor (and magic) and is pressured into the cold brew line via a series of valves, leaving our old mate oxygen (as well as argon and carbon dioxide) behind to go find something else to bond with. Because of this, the V2PX produces unlimited nitro coffee for as long as you need it, without the hassle of replacing tanks or monitoring pressure regulators. As long as you have air and coffee, those brews will keep on flowing. The twin tap variant also offers a straight chilled line, allowing you to serve the same coffee chilled OR chilled with Nitro! The portability of the unit is also a superb benefit, allowing you to set up anywhere on a bar or pop up at an event to serve out some sumptuous coffee with a twist in minutes.
Setting the right Brood.
So how do I best set one up?
Where to ideally place the Brood Nitro really does depend a lot on each venue. In some spaces, positioning the unit behind the barista steaming milk will be perfect as the taps will still be visible to the customer and the dispenser is close to the nearest serve out point in your bar. The dream here is to serve this chilled coffee out while it is still cascading and settling for maximum visual appeal.
You will want to create that ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ response in all your customers. This positioning also allows easy access for dispensing by front of house team members to pour drinks during busy service. Next to the till is also a superb option coupled with some highly recommend ‘What’s on tap’ signage so your customers can see what’s pouring and commence salivating.
Ideally position the Brood Nitro on a sturdy bench with access to a small circular 50mm hole, located near the rear of the unit. This allows your power plug and inlet hosing to drop below the counter into your cold brew vessel (keg) or connect to your bag in box bladder (bags and adapter supplied). These containers filled with your pre prepared brew will need to be positioned directly under the machine and no further than 1 meter away otherwise the internal pump won’t be able to draw adequately. Just make sure there is appropriate ventilation around the unit, particularly the side vents, as the V2PX sends out some heat, much like a fridge, when it’s in use frequently. See picture provided.
Once up and running you will have control over temperature (as low as 2⁰ Celsius) and nitro texture density via a series on discreet dials. Nitro systems go!
Brewing for Nitro.
Oh wait, you will need some delicious brew to put through the unit, right? The Toddy brewing systems are a great starting point and getting a few of the 2-litre versions will allow you to get brewing and experimenting quickly. As you start to hone into your preferred recipes, you’ll likely want to step up in production scale to the awesome Brewrista Pro 20 Litre system.
Here are a couple of great guides to get you going.
- For more information on cold brew coffee, check out: It’s Called Cold Brew
- For a handy, downloadable brew guide, head here: Cold Brew Guide
As with all recipes these are a great starting point but need not be the end of the creative process, as you will need to tweak it to what coffee you are using and personal preference. While a 1:10 coffee to water ratio is often great for cold brewing, for the nitro recipe it often is needed to be a little more concentrated at a 1:8 or even as low as a 1:4 ratio to help provide the desired strength to sit with the creamier texture.
Introducing to your customers.
Well you have now done all the hard work setting up your bar and produced countless batches during your recipe testing to hone in on the perfect iteration of your chilled coffee goodness. Time to share!
As suggested earlier, signage around the unit itself is essential for doing some of the talking for you regarding what’s pouring today. Samples are also encouraged initially. It’s ready to go in a quick serve format so as this will be many folks first taste of a Nitro coffee alternative, popping a tiny taster in their exited hands can be enough to get the decision-making wheels moving and ordering a round for the table.
The right glassware will also do this for you. The first taste is with often with the eyes, so selecting an appealing clear glass to show off those cascading visuals will do wonders to presell to patrons already in your venue. Serviceware with a nice straight wall is ideal, as this makes it easier to pour into and allows the bubbles to move freely up the glass in order to create that smooth textured head on the drink. A Tom Collins glass is perfect for larger serves or perhaps stick to the Old-Fashioned glass for something smaller and classy.
The beauty of the Brood is it does offer up numerous ‘flight tasting’ opportunities with endless variations on espresso, long blacks, batch brew, cold brew and nitro now on hand, you are sure to land on some exciting combinations.
While serving a super clean and complex washed Ethiopian cold brew is always a favourite of ours and thoroughly recommended, don’t be afraid to add a little extra something to the brew to spice things up. As an example, by adding a dash (2%) of apricot nectar reduction followed by a splash of ginger beer (3%) it can create an exciting twist to your coffee while enhancing that sense of summer freshness. We affectionately named this one the ‘Ginger Snap’. Or why not try our current favourite, a ‘Nitrogato’ poured directly over ice cream…no explanation needed! Coffee should still be the champion of the beverage, so with any recipe development only add a tiny amount of extras to begin with: it’s very hard to take them out once they are in!
These creative takes on the classics will help keep your coffee offering fun, seasonal and fresh while adding a unique point of difference to keep your loyal customers coming back to see what new exciting brew is next on the tap.