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The Art of the Cold Brew Coffee Keg

The popularity of cold brew coffee has exploded in recent years. Unlike regular coffee, the cold brew brewing process consists of brewing coffee with cold water for up to twenty hours. The result? A rich, delicious beverage with a unique sweet flavor. And if you’re already serving cold brew, it might just be time to take the next step.

That’s right: we’re talking about serving nitro cold brew coffee on draft with your very own cold brew coffee keg. Making cold brew coffee for keg is still somewhat mysterious, especially with nitro, so let’s break down everything you need to know about this art form.

What Is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee?

You probably already know that cold brew coffee is renowned for its smooth, rich taste. But you may be unfamiliar with nitro cold brew, which involves taking this mixture and infusing it with nitrogen. This process is called nitrogenating or nitrogenation.

But why should you bother with nitrogenation?

Simply put, because infusing cold brew with nitrogen takes an already delicious drink to the next level. The process adds microbubbles, which gives it a creamy texture, and it also reveals flavor notes you won’t find in traditional cold brews. Nitro cold brew coffee is a whole different experience for coffee lovers.

Why Your Business Needs a Keg of Nitro Coffee

There are plenty of reasons to make cold brew keg coffee.

Freshness

Cold brew coffee kegs offer unparalleled freshness. The reason? There’s no oxygen in the keg, which means you can store keg coffee for three or four weeks with no change in flavor.

Convenience

While cold brew is not especially difficult to serve, you still have to go to the fridge, pull it out, pour the drink, and put it back in the fridge. With the keg, all you have to do is lift the tap handle. Having cold brew coffee kegs in your establishment keeps things moving.

The Cool Factor

A nitro coffee keg is something customers don’t see every day, and seeing one in action confers an undeniable cool factor. It demonstrates your appreciation of coffee and cements your place as a connoisseur. If you want to stand out, a nitro brew coffee keg will undoubtedly do that.

Still vs Nitro

What makes having a keg so excellent is that you can tweak your setup as needed. You can use it as a cold brew keg or a nitro cold brew coffee keg, so let’s quickly look at the difference between the two.

All cold brew, whether nitro or still, is served cold. However, still cold brew is usually served with ice, and some people also like to put cream in their beverages.

Ice is never present in a nitro drink, however. The reason is that ice disrupts the beautiful cascading effect that you get when you pour nitro. Imagine what a glass of Guinness looks like as it’s poured. As incredible as it seems, the same thing happens with nitro.

It’s also vital to mention that the preparation process is much less involved when serving still coffee. All you have to do is take your cold brew and keg it. Serving infused cold brew requires more effort, but trust us when we say that any customer searching “coffee keg near me” will be grateful you went the extra mile.

What Do You Need for Your Coffee Nitro Keg?

Coffee and the right equipment are the two things you need for nitrogenation.

When it comes to coffee, you’ll need to purchase a cold brew system if you don’t already have one. These systems are inexpensive and straightforward. And it goes without saying that you should be using high-quality coffee to make your cold brew.

For the keg system, the primary hardware required includes a few items:

  • Keg
  • Kegerator
  • Nitrogen tank
  • Regulator
  • Fridge
  • Tap

In other words, you need a keg and tap system. Keep in mind that you absolutely have to use pure nitrogen if you want to make nitro coffee. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide mixtures can mess with the taste, which you don’t want. You’ll also need a nitro stout tap, which will allow you to achieve the perfect cascading effect.

How Do You Make Nitro Keg Coffee?

Now it’s time to break down the good stuff: how do you make this delicious mixture?

Once you have your cold brew ready to go, you start by kegging the mixture and filling it with nitrogen at 40 PSI. After this step, you have to agitate the keg for around seven to eight minutes.

Agitating the keg is without a doubt the most exhausting part of the process, but the proper technique is helpful. Use two hands to hold the keg, get in a low, wide stance, and shake it as much as you can. It’s beneficial to have someone else to rotate with when you inevitably get tired.

When you’re ready to pour, it’s critical to keep the pressure in the keg high—it should stay at 40 PSI. And yes, this higher pressure means that you’ll go through more nitrogen than average. Another vital aspect of the process is maintaining the right keg temperature. Cold brew is always served, well, cold, and somewhere between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit is best.

Other Uses for Your Coffee Keg Setup

Not sure if you want to commit to making nitro cold brew? The excellent thing about having a coffee keg is that they are multipurpose, so your investment won’t go to waste if you change your mind. You can use them for other beverages, like beer, stout, and sparkling water. You can also use them to aerate wine.

And if you’re on the fence about still vs nitro, you may even decide to create setups for both.

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to capitalize on the demand for cold brew, making kegged cold brew coffee—either still or nitro—is an excellent way to do so. Thousands of retailers across the country have purchased their own equipment and joined the movement. Are you ready to be the next?

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