It has taken a bit longer than we had planned and we’ve been learning a lot through trial and error, but Boxwood is now proud to offer nitro cold brew on tap! The entire crew has been incredibly excited to get this venture up and running off the ground, and the rewards have been absolutely delicious.
Nitro cold brew is a really interesting beverage, and it’s also something that can make you think about why you didn’t think about it first. It’s often remarked as the “Guinness of coffee” and has reason to be – the two beverages operate on the same principles and share a lot of common characteristics.
Carbonation, as seen in beer, soda, seltzer water and the like is the result of carbon dioxide becoming readily dissolved in a liquid under pressure. When the pressure is released, bubbles of the gas are released from their fluid home and result in a fun, prickly feeling in your mouth and tongue. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is not nearly as soluble in fluid, but we can achieve dissolution by adding a lot more pressure and waiting patiently. When this high pressure is finally released, the nitrogen emerges from the fluid in much smaller particles that carbon dioxide and carries along some of the fluid around it, resulting in a much heavier and creamier body than carbonation can offer. Many stout beers, including of course the wonderful Guinness, have taken to pumping their brew full of nitrogen to bring forth creamier, maltier characteristics out of their already syrupy beers. It adds a layer of complexity and depth to them that wouldn’t exist if they were flat, and would be repulsive if they were bubbly carbonated. This practice has been going on for decades to enhance drinkability and reveling amongst brewers and drinkers, and now in recent years we have utilized some innovative thinking to bring uppers and downers a bit closer together by bringing the same concepts to coffee.
Cold brew already has a lot of similarities to stouts in flavor profiles and mouthfeel, so why shouldn’t these concepts intended to add more texture and complexity translate over? Pumping El Jefe up with nitrogen would only make it’s already chocolaty and creamy characteristics even more pronounced and incredible, right?
So we did it.
We brew our cold brew for twenty–four hours, then we pour it into a keg, and then we hook that keg up to a big nitrogen tank pumping out 45 psi into it and let it sit in a fridge for forty-eight more hours. We pull it out and hook it up to a special tap designed to diffuse the nitrogen gas out of highly pressurized fluid. The tap gets pulled, and a beautiful milk chocolate brown substance flows out. As it fills the glass, tiny bubbles surge and foam in the deep dark ocean of coffee, a white lace forms at the brim and grows gently.
Go ahead, take a sip.
Creamy, velvety, lush, chocolate milkshake, silk blanket. These are the things that run through your head as you lick the foamy coffee mustache that embraces your lips. It’s good. Like, it’s really good, and you wonder why this thing has been missing from our life this entire time.
We're super happy with the results and we really hope you all will too! Come on by for a nice, cold foamy jolt to get you through the weekend, you've worked so hard this week, treat yourself to something special and stay cool!
Hayden Kaye is our Master Roaster and head of the Say Interesting Stuff department.