Mine's a cold brew: Nitro-infused coffee

It may look like a pint of stout, but it's non-alcoholic and made of coffee. Raise a glass to cafe culture's latest craze


Handy for fooling friends into thinking you're drinking alcohol when you're not, nitro-infused coffee offers a gleeful escape from the otherwise inevitable morning-after hangover, making it the ideal libation to keep you perky throughout the party season. The resulting caffeine high, which is further accentuated by millions of micro bubbles, will certainly make you feel animated and merry.

While carbon dioxide, which is traditionally used to create the fizz in fizzy drinks, affects the taste of liquids, often imparting a sour or salty flavour, nitrogen is flavourless and has the additional benefit of producing smaller bubbles that create a delicious foam, synonymous with a well-poured pint. Read on to find out where you can try it.

US: Stumptown Coffee

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Inspired by nitro beer, the US's popular roastery Stumptown started serving nitro cold-brew coffee on draft in its cafes back in 2013, paving the way for a new interpretation of its increasingly popular cold brews. The success of Stumptown's nitro coffee led the brand to produce a canned version too, which is available from cafes and Whole Foods stores across the US. "The can contains a special widget to make the nitro cold brew emulate the cascading and creamy performance of the drink on draught," says Stumptown Coffee's Diane Aylsworth. "Give it a quick shake and pour it quickly into a glass to get the full cascade experience."


London: Sandows

Sandows was the first London-based coffee-maker to introduce the nitro-brew trend – with their ear to the ground, they'd heard whispers of a new innovation taking place in the US a couple of years ago. "We decided we needed to work out how to make it ourselves and, relishing the challenge, figured it all out from scratch," says co-founder Hugh Duffie. "We launched it last year at Shoreditch Grind and it's been very popular." You can also try a Sandows nitro coffee on draught at the Bulldog Edition at Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and at Crosstown Doughnuts on Brick Lane. It is also working on cans containing the drink that are set to launch in April 2017. The likes of Ocado, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and M&S Food already stocking the brand's regular cold brew, so you can expect to discover the nitro version in a town near you.


Scotland: Brew Lab

The founders of Edinburgh's Brew Lab were also intrigued by the nitro initiative taking shape in the States. "I first saw nitro being made in the US by Cuvee Coffee and Stumptown," says co-founder Dave Law. "There was nowhere to try it in Scotland so I embarked on a few months of experimentation. We'd been making cold brew for a couple of years and it was really popular in the cafe as an alternative to iced lattes. I loved the idea of having it on draught because it'd make it much easier to serve, plus it looks amazing. The nitro gas adds another dimension and creates a much more exciting and textural experience."

You can also try Brew Lab's nitro coffee in Glasgow, at BrewDog's new bar DogHouse. A word from the wise: "Cold brew has about double the amount of caffeine of a typical filter coffee so you don't need much more than half a pint," says Law.


Germany: Happy Baristas

Bringing coffee bubbles to Berlin are the Happy Baristas, who've found the beverage to be so successful they began wondering what else they could apply the process to. "We've developed a range of nitro brews," says co-founder Marian Plajdicko. "We also serve nitro lemonades and, as far as I know, are the only company in Europe that serves nitro iced tea. We also collaborated with the craft-beer brewery Strassenbrau to make a coffee IPA beer, which we then serve on nitro tap instead of a classic carbonation tap. It was one of the most interesting beers I've ever tried." Watch this space for further experimental concoctions from this inventive team and keep an eye out for the Happy Baristas mobile nitro station, which they plan to take on the road to festivals and events around Germany next summer.


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