The History of Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Inception to Mainstream

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Step into the world of coffee and embark on a flavorful journey through time as we delve into the captivating history of nitro cold brew.

From its innovative inception to its remarkable ascent in the realm of caffeinated beverages, join us as we explore the origins, evolution, and secrets behind the widespread success of nitro cold brew coffee.

Uncover the fascinating story behind this beloved brew that has taken the mainstream by storm.

The Evolution of Nitro Cold Brew: From Coffee Shop Innovation to Global Trend

The story of nitro cold brew coffee is one filled with innovation and passionate experimentation. Emerging in the early 2010s, this tantalizing variation of cold brew quickly gained traction, captivating coffee enthusiasts with its smooth texture and unique sensory experience.

While the exact origins of nitro cold brew are a topic of debate, it is widely believed that its roots can be traced back to craft coffee houses in Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon.

It was at these third-wave coffee shops, including Cuvee Coffee and Stumptown, where the concept of infusing nitrogen gas into cold brew coffee began to take shape.

One key figure in the development of nitro cold brew is Nate Armbrust, a food scientist based in Portland. While working at Stumptown Coffee Roasters in 2013, Armbrust embarked on a quest to enhance the texture and flavor of cold brew.

Through experimentation and ingenuity, he pioneered the process of infusing cold brew coffee with nitrogen, unlocking a whole new realm of possibilities.

By June 2013, Stumptown Coffee Roasters had successfully introduced nitro cold brew, serving it directly from the tap. The captivating cascade effect and creamy mouthfeel of this nitrogen-infused elixir immediately caught the attention of coffee aficionados, sparking a surge of interest and demand.

The popularity of nitro cold brew soared to new heights when Starbucks entered the scene in the summer of 2016, introducing the beverage to 500 of its stores. This move not only signaled the mainstream acceptance of nitro cold brew but also paved the way for its exponential growth and widespread availability.

In recent years, the rise of nitro cold brew has been nothing short of phenomenal. Menu penetration has seen an astounding 904% increase, as more coffee shops and cafes embrace this innovative brew method.

Despite initial challenges, such as the need for specialized equipment and dispensing technology, the allure of nitro cold brew continues to captivate both the coffee industry and consumers worldwide.

As new advancements emerge to overcome these barriers, nitro cold brew is poised to reach even greater heights of popularity. Its smooth texture, naturally sweet flavor, and mesmerizing presentation have firmly established it as a beloved beverage choice for coffee enthusiasts seeking an elevated cold coffee experience.

The journey of nitro cold brew coffee from its humble beginnings in craft coffee shops to its current status as a global trend is a testament to the power of innovation and the enduring quest for exceptional flavors.

With each pour, nitro cold brew invites us to savor the rich history and unparalleled enjoyment that this remarkable brew method has to offer.

Crafting the Perfect Nitro Cold Brew: The Art and Science Behind the Process

The production of nitro cold brew coffee is a carefully orchestrated process that combines the art of coffee brewing with the science of gas infusion.

To achieve that signature smooth texture and creamy head of foam, several key steps are involved in creating this beloved beverage.

It all begins with the meticulous preparation of cold brew coffee. Coarsely ground coffee beans are steeped in cold water for an extended period, typically ranging from 12 to 24 hours.

This slow and gentle extraction process allows the coffee’s flavors to infuse into the water, resulting in a concentrated liquid with a rich and nuanced taste profile.

Once the cold brew coffee is ready, it is transferred into a room-temperature bottle or keg, ready to undergo the transformative nitrogen infusion.

As the cold brew is carefully poured, nitrogen gas is introduced into the liquid, creating a mesmerizing cascade effect and giving birth to the velvety texture that sets nitro cold brew apart.

Nitrogen, with its unique properties, plays a pivotal role in the creation of nitro cold brew. When infused into the coffee, it forms millions of tiny nanobubbles.

These bubbles not only enhance the visual appeal of the beverage but also have a profound impact on its aroma and texture.

The nitrogen bubbles help break up coffee aromas, intensifying the olfactory experience and heightening the enjoyment of each sip. Additionally, the presence of nitrogen alters the texture, imparting a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that lingers on the palate.

The combination of nitrogen infusion and the cold brew’s concentrated flavors results in a captivating sensory experience that rivals the indulgence of draft beer.

The creamy head of foam, akin to that found on a perfectly poured pint, entices the eyes and adds an element of sophistication to the presentation of nitro cold brew.

Mastering the art of crafting the perfect nitro cold brew requires precision and a keen understanding of the interaction between coffee, water, and nitrogen.

From controlling the brewing parameters to ensuring the ideal nitrogen-to-coffee ratio, each element must be carefully balanced to achieve the desired flavor and texture.

As the popularity of nitro cold brew continues to soar, coffee shops and cafes invest in specialized equipment designed to facilitate the production and dispensing of this beloved beverage.

Nitrogen gas systems, kegs, and draft taps are utilized to create a consistent and enjoyable nitro cold brew experience for coffee enthusiasts.

The production process of nitro cold brew coffee exemplifies the delicate harmony between brewing techniques and gas infusion.

With each sip, the craftsmanship and dedication behind this remarkable beverage shine through, offering a unique and delightful coffee experience that continues to captivate taste buds around the world.

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Today: A Rising Star in Coffee Culture

In recent years, nitro cold brew coffee has emerged as a true sensation within the coffee industry, captivating coffee lovers and rapidly gaining popularity across the globe.

From independent cafés to major coffee shop chains, this delightful brew has found its place on menus, enticing consumers with its unique characteristics and exceptional flavor profile.

The widespread adoption of nitro cold brew began to take shape in the United States, where independent coffee shops embraced this innovative brewing method.

As word spread about the smooth texture and rich flavors of nitro cold brew, it caught the attention of Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee shop chain.

In July 2015, Starbucks introduced nitro cold brew to its menus, propelling the beverage into the mainstream consciousness and expanding its accessibility to a broader audience.

Across the Atlantic, in the United Kingdom, the rise of nitro cold brew has been equally impressive. Influential third wave coffee shops, such as Grind, have been at the forefront of introducing this specialty beverage to the discerning British coffee culture.

As more consumers seek out unique and immersive coffee experiences, the demand for nitro cold brew continues to grow steadily.

The future of nitro cold brew is promising, with its popularity expected to surge even further. As more coffee shop operators recognize the appeal of this nitrogen-infused elixir, they are investing in new dispensing technology to meet the increasing demand.

Advanced systems and equipment designed specifically for nitro cold brew ensure consistent quality, while also providing the opportunity for customization and experimentation, further enhancing the possibilities of this beloved beverage.

Nitro cold brew’s rise to prominence is a testament to the evolving preferences of coffee enthusiasts, who crave innovative and elevated coffee experiences.

Its smooth, velvety texture, intensified aromas, and naturally sweet flavor make it a true standout among other coffee offerings.

Whether enjoyed on its own or creatively incorporated into specialty coffee concoctions, nitro cold brew has firmly established itself as a rising star in coffee culture.

As the coffee industry continues to evolve and consumer preferences evolve along with it, nitro cold brew is poised to play an increasingly prominent role.

With its growing presence in coffee shops worldwide and the ongoing development of new dispensing technologies, the future of nitro cold brew is bright, promising, and full of exciting possibilities.


The history of nitro cold brew coffee is a testament to the power of innovation and the evolving preferences of coffee enthusiasts.

From its disputed origins in the early 2010s to its current status as a global trend, nitro cold brew has captured the hearts and taste buds of coffee lovers worldwide.

Through the ingenuity of pioneers like Nate Armbrust and the introduction of nitrogen infusion at craft coffee houses, nitro cold brew quickly made its mark, offering a unique sensory experience and elevating the enjoyment of cold coffee.

Its smooth texture, intensified aromas, and visually captivating cascade effect set it apart from traditional iced coffee and cold brew.

Since its inception, nitro cold brew has grown from a specialty offering in independent coffee shops to a mainstream phenomenon embraced by major coffee chains like Starbucks.

Its menu penetration has skyrocketed, and it continues to expand its presence in coffee cultures across the globe.

The future of nitro cold brew looks promising, with new dispensing technologies and specialized equipment being developed to meet the increasing demand.

As coffee enthusiasts seek out exceptional flavors and immersive coffee experiences, nitro cold brew provides an enticing option that delivers on both taste and presentation.

As we savor each sip of this remarkable beverage, we celebrate the craftsmanship, dedication, and passion behind the history of nitro cold brew coffee.

From its humble beginnings to its current position as a rising star in coffee culture, nitro cold brew embodies the spirit of innovation and the ongoing pursuit of extraordinary coffee experiences.


Who invented nitro cold brew?

The exact inventor of nitro cold brew is disputed, but Nate Armbrust, a food scientist at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, is credited with its invention in 2013.

Where did nitro coffee come from?

Nitro coffee originated in the United States, specifically in craft coffee houses like Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas, and Stumptown in Portland, Oregon, in the early 2010s.

What is so special about nitro cold brew?

Nitro cold brew stands out for its smooth and velvety texture, achieved through the infusion of nitrogen gas. It also has a visually appealing cascading effect, intensified aromas, and a naturally sweet flavor, setting it apart from traditional iced coffee or cold brew.

Why is it called nitro cold brew?

It is called nitro cold brew because it is made by infusing cold brew coffee with nitrogen gas. The nitrogen creates tiny bubbles in the coffee, giving it a unique texture and appearance similar to draft beer.

What does Nitro mean in coffee?

In coffee, “nitro” refers to the infusion of nitrogen gas into the beverage. Nitrogen adds creaminess and smoothness to the coffee, enhancing its overall taste and texture.

Why is nitro cold brew served without ice?

Nitro cold brew is typically served without ice to maintain its smooth and velvety texture. Adding ice would dilute the flavors and disrupt the signature cascade effect and creamy head of foam that are characteristic of nitro cold brew.

What’s the difference between cold brew and Nitro cold brew?

The main difference between cold brew and nitro cold brew lies in the infusion of nitrogen gas. Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water, while nitro cold brew undergoes an additional step of nitrogen infusion, resulting in a unique texture and mouthfeel.

What’s the difference between Nitro and nitro cold brew?

The term “Nitro” is often used interchangeably with “nitro cold brew” and refers to the nitrogen-infused coffee beverage. Nitro implies that the coffee has been treated with nitrogen gas, which gives it a distinct creamy texture and smoothness.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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