How to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home – 4 Steps to Make the Best Cup of Coffee Ever

Noticed a lot of people are talking about nitro cold brew? Been to your local coffee shop or Starbucks and see people get coffee that looks more like a Guinness? Or, have you tried nitro cold brew and can’t get enough? Either way, this article is a great resource for learning how to make nitro cold brew at home.

Today, we’re going to talk about nitro cold brew and how it became so popular. After, we’ll discuss how nitro is different than regular cold brew. Then, we’ll show you how to make nitro cold brew at home. It can be expensive at Starbucks and other stores, we’ll show you how to save some money by making it at home.

What is Nitro Cold Brew, anyway?

If you’re new to nitro cold brew, it’s basically regular cold brew coffee that’s been charged with nitrogen. The nitrogen is what gives it a rich, creamy head similar to a Guinness or porter style beer.

nitro cold brew at home
Nitro Cold Brew we made at home. Notice the carbonation and foamy head, both from the nitrogen.

You may be wondering why you need to use nitrogen, not regular carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide. This is because nitrogen bubbles are smaller than nearly any other type of carbonation out there. We have tried to make nitro cold brew using regular carbon dioxide, and found it to taste unpleasant. You’ll need nitrogen, there’s a reason it’s not called carbo cold brew!

Nitro Cold Brew History

The full story behind nitro cold brew takes us to Austin, TX. A place known for its warm weather and coffee-house culture, it may not be shocking that it’s the home of a new kind of cold brew. Mike McKim, owner of Cuvee Coffee, started serving cold brew charged by nitro kegs in 2012 and the response was instantly positive. In 2014, they started shipping nitro cold brew cans across the country.

The rest, as they say, is history. Starbucks has now rolled out Nitro Cold Brew to every store in the United States. Dunkin’, long known for light blends and iced coffee, is serving the drink as well. It’s prompted media coverage and fans across every climate – cold and warm.

Nitro vs Cold Brew

Many people know what cold brew is, but aren’t familiar with nitro cold brew. There can be some confusion about the difference between the two. Some think that nitro cold brew is more caffeinated cold brew, which is not the case!

To make things simple, nitro cold brew is the same as regular cold brew, but charged with nitro. The charging is usually done with a keg or homemade device. Regular cold brew is coffee grounds that have seeped in water for 12-24 hours, creating a flavorful cup.

How to Make Nitro Cold Brew At Home

If you’ve been paying the $5-plus at Starbucks or your local coffee shop for nitro cold brew, this is your guide. Making nitro cold brew at home will save you tons of money. Also, you can tweak the recipe and directions to your exact liking.

We’ve been making nitro cold brew at home for a couple of years and have some important tips. First, nitrogen is absolutely necessary. Nitrous oxide or anything similar just won’t do. Second, you don’t need a huge system to make a great cup of nitro. Last, make sure you drink the nitro immediately! If you don’t, it goes flat fairly quickly.

Equipment Needed to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home

Directions for How to Make Nitro Cold Brew at Home

This guide assumes that you’ve already made cold brew, and need to charge it with nitro. If you’re not sure how to make cold brew, we recommend using a french press. Now, let’s walk through how to make nitro coffee!

First, take the cold brew out of the refrigerator.

cold brew coffee in french press in fridge
Cold brew after steeping in my fridge for 18 hours

Next, you’ll want to press the plunger on the french press to separate the grounds from your coffee.

pressing plunger of french press

After that, bring out your nitro coffee maker.

nitro cold brew maker with french press. Easiest way to make nitro cold brew at home
Nitro cold brew maker with french press

Next, empty the cold brew into the chamber of your nitro maker.

pouring cold brew into nitro maker

One the chamber is full of cold brew, you’ll need to attach the nitrogen cartridge to the nitro maker.

nitrogen cartridge with nitro maker. An easy step to make nitro cold brew at home
My nitro maker alongside a nitrogen cartridge. The white cap on the left twists off, and you insert the cartridge in it.
nitrogen cartridge inside white cap
The nitrogen cartridge goes in face up

After you’ve reattached the white cap to the nitro maker, give the nitro make a nice shake. Then, you’re ready to go!

pouring the nitro into a cup
You’ll want to angle the nitro maker sideways or completely down to make sure the coffee gets charged
pouring nitro cold brew coffee into a cup
After all that work, a finished product!

After all of those steps, you’re now ready to enjoy a refreshing cup of nitro cold brew coffee. Enjoy!

enjoying a nice glass of nitro cold brew coffee
A refreshing cup of nitro cold brew coffee