The magic behind Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew

by Michelle Flandreau | June 3, 2016
HOME Cool Stuff Now The magic behind Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew

On the coffee bar at the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle sits a small, unassuming sign. Placed next to a shiny, silver tap, it reads: "Introducing: Nitro Cold Brew, a velvety cascade of delicious." There couldn’t be a more perfect way to describe this new drink.

Currently served in a handful of our stores in Seattle, Nitro Cold Brew unlocks the inherent flavors in our Starbucks® Cold Brew. We plan to introduce Nitro Cold Brew in major cities across the U.S. later this summer, including Seattle, Portland, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"It transforms the way you experience coffee and that’s constantly what we’re looking for," said Nicole Velasquez, a product manager on the Global Cold Coffee Innovation team.

In case it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a chemistry class, here’s a refresher: nitrogen is an odorless, colorless gas that makes up the majority of the Earth’s atmosphere. It also happens to complement our Starbucks® Cold Brew quite nicely, creating a creamy and smooth drink.

First, the system infuses nitrogen into our Starbucks® Cold Brew. As it comes out of the tap, the amber-colored coffee cascades down the side of the glass. The tiny bubbles rising to the top are actually the nitrogen bursting out of the Cold Brew.

"[This] really impacts the mouthfeel. It provides a real creaminess to it that you don’t normally get,” said Starbucks senior equipment technician Paul Buckner. He’s one of our technical experts for the Nitro Cold Brew system.

"Once the nitrogen has fully cascaded out, it’s not too dissimilar from [regular Cold Brew]. But you do have that dense, creamy head," Buckner said.

A lot of people compare the look and texture of Nitro Cold Brew to a Guinness® stout. The connection between beer and coffee is one Buckner knows well. He spent 12 years working as a professional brewer in Arizona. While working on this project, he was able to draw on his brewery knowledge, including how gases and liquids work together.

"My technical love of beer translates really well to my technical love of coffee," Buckner said.

Similar to how you’d sip a beer, we suggest drinking Nitro Cold Brew without a lid or straw. This way, you’ll get that creamy mouthfeel. We also recommend enjoying the drink without ice. It’s rich and cold right out of the tap. As with Starbucks® Cold Brew, it’s served unsweetened to highlight the flavor created during the cold brewing process.

Nitro Cold Brew will be available in more than 500 company-operated stores by the end of summer, starting with additional stores in Seattle and Portland, followed by New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Mashable: Starbucks releases two new iced beverages to keep you cool this summer

Following the recent Nitro Cold Brew announcement, the new drink has received a lot of media attention, including this story from Mashable. They had a chance to learn about the new additions to our core cold bar menu.

Read the Story

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