On a hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a nitro cold brew. I bet you thought we were going to say an iced coffee. Spoiler alert: both are correct answers! As long as you acknowledge they aren’t the same drink. When it comes to consuming coffee in an iced or cold format, there are different methods that produce different results. Nowadays, it might feel overwhelming to pick from all of the choices that are out there. Before we tell you which one we prefer, let’s get into the background of iced coffee vs. nitro cold brew.

Iced Coffee

The name itself is pretty self explanatory. Take ice, pour hot or cooled coffee over the ice, then voila you have created iced coffee. You could also take regularly brewed hot coffee and chill it in the refrigerator until it achieves the desirable cold temperature. Both methods are totally fine ways to enjoy coffee in a chilled format, but you might be sacrificing flavor and tasting notes. Adding ice cubes to warm or hot coffee will lead to a watered down drink and less strength in flavor as the ice melts. Also, if you leave your hot brewed coffee in the fridge for too long, it just becomes stale and has an overall less appealing taste. 

Cold Brew

Now enters a popular option for coffee drinkers these days: cold brew. This delivers the same end result of chilled, delicious coffee, but with a unique brewing method and tastier result. Cold brew is created by brewing the coffee grounds and filtered water in a chilled environment over several hours. Most coffee experts recommend giving it 14 hours minimum but 16 hours is the sweet spot. At a certain point in the process, the coffee grounds and water reach an equilibrium and the extraction slows. If you’re looking to make your own cold brew at home – our Brazil Cerrado Low Acid roast is a great option for beans! But if you’re really a coffee enthusiast who enjoys experiencing the breadth of flavors within the beverage, you’re going to want a little nitro mixed in. 

Nitro Cold Brew

Here’s where we plug our choice of the three options: nitro cold brew. This is essentially cold brew plus added nitrogen. Why is this method superior? The nitrogen preserves more of the flavor that can be lost during the cold brew method. When you pour a cup of nitro cold brew from the tap, you also get a delicious crema on top of the coffee similar to pouring beer. This method packs a punch of flavor, smoothness, and a robust coffee fragrance that enhances consumption. Our nitro cold brew, served on tap at our shop, is a combined effort with our friends at Snowing in Space. We provide the Kenopian beans and they transform the beans into refreshing nitro cold brew for all to enjoy. 

Bottom line: there’s really no wrong way to enjoy chilled coffee. But certain methods result in more flavor and more aroma than others. Depending on your coffee strength preference, one method might be more appealing than the other. We recommend trying each method and deciding for yourself which one is your favorite!