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What Exactly is Nitro Cold Brew?

par Equator Coffee Roasters sur Apr 29, 2021

An Equator glass with nitro cold brew and ice in it on a table in the sun.

Spring marks the return of our nitro cold-brew coffee, the go-to drink at coffee shops when temperatures start to climb. Equator’s cold brew is crafted at our own roastery and served from nitro taps, giving your glass of cold brew that distinguishable creamy head and dark, rich body, resembles a pint of Guinness. Cold brew coffee is delectably creamy, smooth, and sweeter than hot brewed coffee, making this drink a favourite in the summertime. In this blog post, you will learn what exactly makes cold brew cold brew, how that differs from other iced coffee drinks, and why the love we put into brewing it each week makes it so special. 

But first, where did this drink come from and how did it become so popular? Cold brew coffee isn’t new; in fact, it has roots as far back as the 1600s as a safe way to transport brewed coffee without needing a source for fire. 

“Cold-brew, also known as Kyoto coffee, has been popular in Japan since the 1600s (Lew first learned about it reading trade magazines from the Japanese equipment supplier, Hario). It was reputedly introduced to Japan by Dutch traders from Indonesia, who possibly developed it as a way of producing large quantities of portable coffee, which they would later reheat or serve cold.” New York Times

To make cold brew, we use a special Equator recipe that we’ve perfected and tested over years. We freshly grind beans of our North Star Espresso, then steep them in room-temperature water for 16  hours. This produces a strong coffee concentrate. Dairy Distillery recently featured this concentrate as a key ingredient in their Coffee Cream liqueur and as a recipe component in their cocktails. To serve in our cafés, this concentrate is mixed with water, infused with nitrogen, chilled, and kegged. 

So what is the difference between cold brew and other cold coffee drinks? The main difference is the preparation which makes a significant difference in the taste of the final product. Iced coffee, which is the most common cold coffee drink, is a hot-brewed coffee that has been chilled. Because it uses the hot brewed method instead of the cold brew method, it results in a much more acidic flavour. Unlike nitro cold brew which has a naturally sweet and smooth flavour, iced coffee could use some cream/milk and sugar. Iced lattes and iced americanos are other forms of cold coffees: an espresso shot topped up with cold water or cold milk, ice, and syrup (if you like it that way). The coffee is extracted using hot water and high pressure to produce a silky shot of espresso. 

The cold brew method also affects the caffeine content, flavour, and mouthfeel. As we mentioned, this method of brewing extracts the coffee’s natural sweetness and avoids extracting the more acidic notes; “because it doesn’t use heat, it doesn’t extract bitter, acidic compounds”. Brewing at a colder temperature is also responsible for cold-brew coffee’s higher caffeine levels. Buyer beware: if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to opt for only a small amount of cold brew at a time.

Cold brew coffee is a delicious and smooth specialty coffee drink that hits the spot on a warm, sunny day. You can enjoy nitro cold brew on tap at Equator cafés. Order in-store or through our app, just search Equator Coffee Roasters in the app store.


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