HubBub's got something up our sleeve that's going to totally change the way you look at cold brew coffee. It's called nitro - craft beer fans may recognize the term, as many bars in the know have a dedicated nitro tap as part of their draft systems. Nitrogenated cold brew is pretty new to the coffee scene; in fact, HubBub is one of the only cafes in the Philly area to offer it. So what exactly is nitro?
Well, let's start with beer as a reference. Most beers are pressurized in their kegs with carbon dioxide. With nitro beer, the gas for pressurization are a ratio of 70% nitrogen and 30% CO2 - instead of the zippy carbonation you're used to in beer, nitro beers are smooth and silky. Since we keg our cold brew, we can take advantage of this innovative technology to change the chemical makeup of our coffee. Nitrogen is mostly insoluble in liquid, so it mingles with the cold brew, creating a luxuriously creamy, full-bodied texture and, dare we say, mouth feel. It also creates a beautiful, mesmerizing cascading effect when it's poured, and a rich white head, fully reminiscent of a dark stout. A lot of people compare nitro cold brew to Guinness, and once you've experienced it, you'll see why.
After searching low and high, near and far, with the help of some friends, we discovered a special piece of equipment for our existing cold brew tap lines: a restrictor plate that forces the coffee through teeny tiny holes. This added pressure causes micro bubbles to fall down the sides of the glass, while making bubbles inside the glass rise to the top, creating the head. The deliciousness of the taste and texture can't be overstated. It seriously tastes almost like there's already milk in the coffee! It's amazing what the manipulation of some gases can do. Go science!
Nitro cold brew is happening now at our Radnor shop, and is coming soon to 3LS and Spruce Street (locate us here). For more adventures in nitro bevs, take a look next time you're in your favorite craft beer-slinging establishment; chances are they have a beer or two on nitro that you can try. Left Hand Brewing Co., out of Longmont, Colorado, has even figured out a way to bottle nitro beers! In 2011, they pioneered the science of bottling nitro beers without a widget. They now offer three types of beer in the nitrogenated bottles, but the classic is their Milk Stout, whose chocolaty aromas, roasty character and dense head perfectly lends itself to the extra creamy nitro pour. There's even a special way to pour Left Hand's nitro beers - basically you just flip the bottle over and pour hard. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84qycD6nsUo]
Who knows? Maybe HubBub will bottle our nitro cold brew one day. Until then, treat yourself to a pint from one of our shops. Cheers!