What is Nitrogen Infused Coffee? (Explained)

Photo of nitrogen infused coffee, coffee beans by its side and nitrogen smoke around it. What is Nitrogen Infused Coffee?

Are you curious about the growing trend of nitrogen-infused coffee? What even is it? Take a look at what is nitrogen infused coffee and everything else you need to know about this unique kind of coffee.

Nitrogen-infused coffee is classic coffee mixed with bubbles of nitrogen gas. Typically, you make nitrogen-infused coffee from a cold brew. Using special equipment, infuse a carefully measured amount of nitrogen with the steeped cold brew and pour it from a tap. It will be served and look a lot like a draft beer! It’s a popular and exciting way to enjoy coffee, especially if you like to experiment.

What is nitrogen-infused coffee?

Do you picture a gassy kind of coffee when you hear the title of it? Yeah, I did too! It’s not nearly as strange or dangerous, though. Nitrogen-infused coffee is just classic coffee with a foamy, rich texture. Those who have tried it often find it tastes smooth and slightly sweet. This texture and subtle sweetness are a direct result of using nitrogen!

One of the most interesting details about nitrogen-infused coffee is that nitrogen doesn’t change the taste of the coffee itself. Sure, it adds sweetness, but the coffee flavor itself is unchanged! ACSH explains that using another kind of gas, such as carbon dioxide, would change the flavor noticeably!

This will be a rich, strong-tasting, foamy cup of coffee served cold. While it is very potent in flavor, it’s got a low acidity. This is often really surprising since strong coffee is often associated with high acidity. The long extraction process from the cold brew makes a robust and rich cup of coffee with slight acidity!

Fun Fact:

While nitrogen-infused coffee is typically served cold, it can be served hot if you go to the right specialty coffee shop!

Is nitrogen-infused coffee safe?

If you’re picturing gas tanks and PPE, you aren’t alone! However, nitrogen-infused coffee is safe and much more common than you think. In fact, nitrogen is what’s infused with beer that’s on tap. It’s a perfectly safe and refreshing way to enjoy a nice coffee when needed.

How was nitrogen-infused coffee discovered?

It is a strange invention specific to coffee. Experts first created nitrogen-infused coffee during a coffee craft fair in 2013 in the US. Despite its “small” start, it’s now one of the most popular kinds of coffee, particularly for those that love to explore all types of coffee. It’s picked up in coffee craft festivals and many coffee shops worldwide.

Is nitrogen-infused coffee good for you?

It sounds like nitrogen-infused coffee is a luxurious and indulgent purchase compared to other types of coffee. So, it must be unhealthy, right? I was delightfully proved wrong! Actually, it’s a healthy kind of coffee to consider for those who want their caffeine kick but want also to watch their health. Its health benefits include:

  • It’s low in calories
  • It’s naturally sweet, avoiding the need for excess sugar or sweeteners
  • It’s creamy yet safe for those with milk intolerances or allergies
  • It’s easy on the stomach with low acidity

It always surprises me to learn that coffee is considered a healthy choice, but it can be when you think about how it helps the body this way! 

Caffeine content in nitrogen-infused coffee

The one downside, health-wise, is that nitrogen-infused coffee does have a lot of caffeine. It has double the caffeine content compared to a classic cup of coffee. This is because it uses a 2:1 coffee: water ratio. 

If you want to get specific about it, you can expect about 30% more caffeine per 1 oz (30 ml) of coffee when you compare nitrogen-infused coffee with classic coffee. 

While caffeine can have health benefits, watching how much you drink daily is important!

Calories in nitrogen-infused coffee

There are between 0-2 calories in nitrogen-infused coffee. Adding milk, creamer, flavor, and/or sugar to it will increase the amount! With that low count, it’s as good as water, calorie-wise! Well, almost.

Pros and cons of nitrogen-infused coffee

There are both real upsides and essential downsides to considering whether this kind of coffee is right for you, your health, and your tastebuds. Here are the top pros and cons I’ve curated to help you determine which category wins.

Pros of nitrogen-infused coffee

  • Healthier than other fancy coffee drinks
  • Can enhance athletic performance
  • Entertaining to drink as a beer alternative

Cons of nitrogen-infused coffee

  • Hard to make at home
  • Can be expensive in a shop
  • Has double the caffeine

The pros of nitrogen-infused coffee are worth adding to your list of coffee types to try. This is especially if you like a cold brew. The fun texture is a great way to add another layer to your taste and the enjoyment of this drink on a cold day.

Read More:

Curious about the main differences between a cold brew and a nitro cold brew? You can read more here!

It’s also fascinating to enjoy this as an alternative to beer if you want to go out and enjoy a fun time with friends but don’t end up drinking alcohol for whatever reason. This is a beautiful way to get the aesthetic while enjoying something you like better!

The cons are essential to keep in mind as far as how often you enjoy nitrogen-infused coffee. If you are trying to watch your caffeine content, there may be a better fit for you every single day. As I mentioned, it is also challenging to make at home and expensive to buy at shops, so these are also potential drawbacks to keep in mind.

I believe nitrogen-infused coffee is worth trying and enjoying for special occasions. But you don’t necessarily have to be a coffee drinker of only nitrogen-infused coffee!

Can you make nitrogen-infused coffee at home?

To be honest with you, there is some conflicting advice on this. You technically can make nitrogen-infused coffee at home, but it’s going to be very difficult to do so. You must buy specialized equipment, which can easily and quickly add up in price. 

Then you must take the time to make your cold brew and allow it to steep before you can even make your fizzy and exciting drink. It’s a lot of work. However, you can do it. You’ll need to invest in the proper equipment (more on that next) rather than just cobbling together something out of household equipment!

What do you need to make nitrogen-infused coffee?

If you’re set on making this coffee at home, you’ll find out just how intense and impressive it will be! 

To start making your coffee, you’ll need to use a cold brew carafe or a French Press to start making the coffee itself. Make sure that you follow the measurements for making a cold brew! 

After it steeps and is ready to be enjoyed, you’ll need to learn how to infuse the nitrogen into it! You can use a whipped cream charger, but you’re better off investing in a proper keg or nitro infusion machine. These will cost a pretty penny, but they do the job much better than the whipped cream charger and are much easier to use, believe it or not, for nitrogen-infused coffee.

It sounds easy when you hear it like that, but most of the work in making this kind of coffee is in waiting for the steeping process and investing and learning how to use the fancy equipment required!

It makes more sense why a glass of nitrogen-infused coffee is so expensive.

How to make nitrogen-infused coffee step by step

Still absolutely certain you want to take it on yourself? No worries. Below is a step-by-step guide to helping you get that foamy, rich glass of nitrogen-infused coffee right there at home for you and your impressed coffee guests:

  1. Mix your cold-brew coffee as directed
  2. Allow it to steep for 12-24 hours (this will be a choice based on what you like most for richness and taste)
  3. Set up your nitrogen infuser, keg, or whipped cream charger
    1. Ensure you’re familiar with how each piece of equipment works, so you don’t waste your delicious coffee!
  4. Use your equipment to infuse nitrogen into the coffee
  5. Pour from the tap into your glass and serve black or mixed to taste

Again, it sounds so simple, but the reality is a bit more difficult! You’ll want to practice and learn from your mistakes as you go!

Whether you are an avid or occasional cold coffee drink lover, nitrogen-infused coffee just sounds impressive. This is a take on a classic cold brew that is infused carefully with tiny bubbles of nitrogen. You must use specialized equipment to make nitrogen-infused coffee properly, and it’ll look like a glass of draft beer! This is a trendy and delicious, unique way to explore coffee as you’ve never had before.

If you enjoyed reading about this, consider sharing it with a friend who will also really enjoy a wonderful adventure into gas-infused coffee!

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Robert Knowlton is an expert barista with more than 15 years of experience. Robert's main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee regardless of their skill level.