What is Nitro Coffee


     Nitro cold brew coffee is simply coffee that has been cooled to at least 40C which is equivalent to 400F before being infused with nitrogen (N2) gas. Various methods can be used for brewing the coffee before it is infused with N2. The most popular method is cold brewing. Infusing the nitrogen into the coffee is done with either of two methods. One is through pressurization of the coffee in a pressure vessel such as a keg. Second, through the use of a device known as a Nitrogenator, which works in a similar manner to how a soda-pop machine carbonates the beverage with Carbon Dioxide.

     The coffee has to be held under a pressure of at least 3 bars (40 psi) to maintain good nitrogen saturation of the coffee. To accomplish this, one has to store the nitro coffee in a keg. When fully nitrogenated and cooled properly, nitro coffee has beautiful presentation when served in a clear glass. As the coffee is dispensed out from under pressure from the tap faucet, the micro-fine nitrogen bubbles will rise gently from the solution displacing the coffee and forcing it to settle downwards causing a visual event called the falling. The nitrogen bubbles then accumulate on top of the beverage, creating what is referred to as the head. The accumulation of the nitrogen bubbles adheres to the natural sugars and oils contained in the coffee itself and so the head exhibits a creamy & sweet taste. The appearance is similar to that of a crema on the top of a shot of espresso. When enjoyed, the coffee provides a refreshment similar to a dark beer but with a definite coffee flavor. The beverage has a smooth, somewhat viscous mouthfeel and many people enjoy it black without adding cream or sugar.  Just like other coffee drinks, it will also provide you with a natural lift from the caffeine.

 Nitro Coffee Versus Traditional Coffee: Which is More Nutritious?

      In terms of nutritional value, traditional brewed black coffee will either have very little food value or nothing at all. In the majority of the cases, when you check a coffee nutrition label, you will either find zero or up to a maximum of 2 calories for a serving of black coffee. Nitrogen gas is inert and also lacks any nutritional value, so there is no noticeable nutritional increase in nitro cold brew verse straight brewed black coffee. However, minor variations may exist between coffee varieties depending on how dark the coffee has been roasted, where it’s origin is from and what the density is of the final brew. These subtle variations in the final nutritional value have to do with the level of sugars and fats that are in the coffee variety that is used and the quantity that is retained in the final brew. In our nutrition savvy society, some people wonder if Nitro coffee offers any specific health benefits. The following are the pros that Nitro coffee will offer.

Pros of Taking Nitro Coffee

 1.    It is High in Antioxidants

     One thing that scientific studies of coffee have found and yet not yet known to many people is the fact that coffee is the leading beverage to contain the anti-aging effects of anti-oxidants. One cup of coffee contains between 200-550 mg/cup of antioxidants, depending on its strength and origins. Anti-oxidants help the body fight toxicity and repair damage caused by reactive molecules better known as free radicals. These molecules have unpaired electrons that can raise havoc with necessary cell structures such as proteins and DNA. Antioxidants offer your body’s cells donor electrons which disarm them of their capacity to damage you. They are protective against aging and numerous diseases that are partly caused by oxidative stress, even cancer. Antioxidants often have several other biological effects and are considered to contribute to one’s overall health. It has already been proven through research that coffee has more anti-oxidants that help fight free radicals than green tea, cocoa, herbal tea, and black tea. On top of fighting free-radicals, some specific antioxidants in coffee such as kahweol and caféstol also help in balancing cholesterol levels. Research has also shown that taking coffee lowers the risks of stroke and heart failure.  All of these benefits also hold true for Nitro Cold Brew.

3.    Nitro Coffee Doesn’t Need Sugar

      As mentioned earlier, a thick and creamy head forms on top of the beverage. This gives Nitro coffee a rich creamy taste. This means that you may feel less likely to add any sugar or milk. That translates into lesser calories from fat and sugar which may be helpful for maintaining your own health. For example, when taking a cup of straight brewed coffee, some people will add sugar that adds approximately 70 calories. This might seem insignificant. However, if you consume several cups of coffee like this in a day, such calories can add up quickly.

2.    It Will Improve Your Physical and Mental Performance

     Drinking coffee has been proven to increase physical and mental performance. Coffee is also known to increase alertness as it increases the amount of blood that flows to your brain. This enhances cognitive function, boosts your alertness and hence making you even more productive. Just taking one cup of nitro coffee after working out will help you increase the energy expenditure after the exercise, what is sometimes called the afterburn effect. Some, but not all, nitro coffees are actually brewed stronger and may have as much as 30% more caffeine too. This means that it has the ability to increase the after-burn effect even more by comparison to weaker coffees.

4.    Is Nitro Cold Brew Lower in Acidity and Higher in Caffeine?

     It is commonly thought that Nitro coffee made from coffee brewed with the cold brew process has lower acidity and higher in caffeine when compared to hot brewed coffee. Coffee brewed in hot water increases the speed of the extraction of the dissolved solids, some of which are flavor producing acids, caffeine, and numerous other alkaloids. The cold brew process, which is often used for brewing nitro coffee, decreases the rate of extraction so it requires more time for the process to take place. The time is typically 12 – 24 hours.

     Is it true then, that cold brewed coffee has less acid?  To understand this, let’s consider what the term “acidity” means in coffee. The volatile acids that contribute to flavor in coffee are referred to as perceived acidity. These are less obvious than, the “total acidity” of the brew that one could measure with a pH meter. Perceived acidity is the subtle sensation you experience from the flavor producing acids in the coffee as they interact with your taste buds. They are immeasurable with a pH meter and they are highly affected by oxygen.

      So what is really going on with a cold brew that causes us to perceive it as less acid is directly due to the oxidation that takes place during the cold brew extraction process? During this extended brew time oxidation destroys many of the taste producing volatile acids and renders the final brew very flat and single dimensional tasting. It is not due to the temperature of the water in which it is extracted, but rather, it is due to oxidation of the flavor producing acids. Much in the same way that fine red wine goes flat and tasteless when it is exposed to air (allowed to breathe) for too long, leaving coffee in an open-air container to let it extract in cold water causes irreparable damage to the flavor due to uncontrolled oxidation. While it still tastes like coffee, it has lost much of the unique flavor producing components that existed in the form of volatile acids. To go a step further, variations in acidity between different brews are more often caused by variations in water pH. This makes sense as coffee is around 98% water. Brew water pH is also directly correlated to the filtration and hardness of the water being used. Water, purified with reverse osmosis, for example, is more acidic than it was prior to treatment. Inversely, hard water is more alkali. This translates directly to the overall acidity of the final brew and it can easily be measured by a pH meter.

      Questions and concerns abound regarding the correlation of high acidity and digestive health and a number of undesirable side effects are commonly attributed to over-acidification of the stomach. Heartburn, acid reflux, and a burning discomfort are common. However, before blaming coffee or touting one method over another, it is important to realize that these can also be related to other digestive disorders, some of which may be exacerbated by the consumption of hot beverages in general. Since numerous chemical compounds exist in the complex beverage we call coffee, these other compounds may have negative effects on an individual too. The point is, there are way too many factors to determine that the cold brew method of brewing is a healthier brewing process. When all factors are equalized cold brew contains similar total acidity as hot brew and the most important variable is the pH level of the brew water.

     What about the caffeine content of cold brew versus hot? While hot extraction tends to dissolve all of the coffee solids, including caffeine, faster than cold brewing. Studies also suggest that cold brewing will dissolve all of the caffeine within a few hours of extraction time, certainly within 20 or more hours. So, assuming that the same amount of coffee to water ratio was being used, the hot extracted coffee would have the same or more caffeine, not less. A trend exists to brew cold brewed coffee with as much as 2 times the amount of coffee ground coffee. This started because most cold brew recipes were meant to create a concentrate, not a final brew. If this is the case of the cold brew nitro coffee that you drink, then it will, in fact, have more caffeine. Additionally, some producers add caffeine to purposely hyper caffeinate their nitro coffee. All of these factors together are responsible for the urban myth that cold brew contains more caffeine and less acid.

     Finally, as has been described earlier in this article, the nitrogen used in the making of the nitro cold brew is not affected by and does not react with the acidity or caffeine content of the brew in any way. It does act as a buffer to protect these components from some of the effects of oxygen.  So in that way, it actually helps maintain flavor rather than hinder the quality of the final product.


What Is the “Nitro” in Nitro Cold Brew? Is it Safe?


      As long as nitro cold brew coffee has been processed in an FDA permitted a facility that employs good manufacturing processes, and it is packaged in a fully sanitized, tamper-proof, Sankey kegs, cans or bottles then it is safe. Roasted coffee, as an ingredient, is very pure and stable in its roasted form. Although coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee plant and they often originate in undeveloped countries with less than sanitary conditions, the roasting process itself applies over 4000F of heat to the bean for several minutes which both cook the seed completely and also acts as a very effective kill step for any microbial pathogens that may have existed. The additional ingredients of inert nitrogen gas and highly purified water make for a natural and safe product. Bona Fide’s Craft Draft process takes it a step further in that we also include a full pasteurization step that takes the product to just under boiling for and the additional level of stability and safety.

     The “nitro” in nitro coffee is specifically Nitrogen gas which takes the chemical symbol N2. It is not to be confused with any one of the dangerous chemicals with similar terms which are unsafe for human consumption. These dangerous nitro-compounds include nitroglycerin, nitromethane and nitrous oxide. Nitroglycerin in its pure form is an oily and colorless liquid that has a sweet and burning taste. Although it tastes is sweet, it is considered to be somewhat toxic. As a medicine, this chemical is applied in the treatment of congestive heart failure and the treatment of angina. Nitromethane is an organic compound that is used as a solvent in several industries. In its pure form, it is a colorless oily liquid and is a highly toxic compound. It is not fit for human consumption.

     Another gas that is also commonly referred to as “nitro”, is nitrous oxide. Also knows as laughing gas, it is used as an effective anesthesia for dental procedures and is also used in automobile racing as an engine power enhancer. It is also used in the dairy industry as a propellant for whipped cream.

     Bona Fide brews coffee in an environment free from contact with any harmful chemicals or compounds and keeps it safe for human consumption. The “nitro” that we use and refer to in our name, is pure food grade nitrogen gas. Nitrogen is an inert gas meaning that it is not chemically reactive. N2 gas is common to humans and is safe to inhale when mixed with oxygen. We know this because 78% of the air that we breath is Nitrogen gas. To obtain this gas, a separation process is employed. The separation process eliminates trace gases, carbon dioxide, and oxygen, leaving at least 99.8% pure Nitrogen. The food grade nitrogen used throughout the brewing and manufacturing process of our products is pure and acquired from a certified source. It is used as a process agent, a visual enhancer, a preservative for the finished product and finally as a propellant to push the product from the kegs to the tap faucet at the dispenser. The “nitro” in the nitro cold brew coffee has nothing that can affect your health negatively. Rather, as has been outlined previously, what it adds to the coffee is good.

 Does Nitrogen Affect Coffee Quality?


     Nitrogen is commonly used as a natural preservative to protect coffee beans from oxygen, carbon dioxide and other reactive elements which degrade it’s shelf life and flavor. It is not chemically reactive to the complex chemicals and volatile flavonoids present in the coffee. In a similar manner, when nitrogen is introduced into brewed coffee which is made up of about 98% water, it displaces both carbon dioxide and oxygen and extends the freshness of the brew. This is also why nitrogen gas is an effective propellant and is used to pressurize kegs of nitro coffee for dispensing. The two gases that are commonly found interacting with brewed coffee include carbon dioxide and oxygen. Both of these chemicals will react with coffee solids of the brew and produce undesirable tastes and odor, reducing the coffee’s life. Even when carbon dioxide dissolves in water it is reactive, forming carbonic acid. That is OK for soda water and it is what gives it tastes slightly citrus tangy flavor.  When CO2 reacts with coffee that tangy sour taste is even amplified causing the beverage to taste bad.

     Although air is great for breathing when compressed into the solution of brewed coffee, the oxygen in it degrades the flavor by oxidizing the various volatile compounds that make coffee taste good. Oxidation leads to the production of chemicals which have undesirable taste and flavor. For example, lipids which are present in coffee form chemicals known as medium chain alcohols and aldehydes, when they are oxidized. As these build up they begin to produce a sour rancid taste and degrade the otherwise pleasant flavor and aroma of the brew.

      Nitro coffee which is prepared by saturating coffee with nitrogen has the ability to remain stable for a long time provided that there is no microbial activity present.  The nitrogen eliminates the carbon dioxide and oxygen which in turn, contribute to the stability of the brew. For the nitrogen to stay in the coffee, the coffee has to remain under pressure. This is the reason why nitro coffee is stored in a beer keg and pressurized to at least 40 psi.

 What Equipment do I Need to Serve Nitro Coffee?


     Serving nitro cold brew coffee doesn’t have to be expensive. While various equipment solutions exist in the market for pouring Nitro Coffee, most have high acquisition costs are complicated to clean and maintain and/ or require either messy preparation of the coffee or require less than desirable tasting bag-in-the-box concentrates with are not authentic and may contain preservatives. These solutions are not economical or practical.

     For a better and complete solution, you can work with Bona Fide Brewing Company.  We will align you with one of our distributors or set you up with our products available on Amazon. Bona Fide and its distributors offer every service that you need in order to start pouring quickly. The product, dispensing equipment, N2 gas, cups, POS, training, and support. It’s all part of our brand promise to help you serve the best tasting nitro coffee and tea to win over your customers.



Equipment Maintenance


      Nitro coffee dispensers are as easy to take care of as a common draft beer cooler. We aim to help you achieve success in serving and distributing our nitro coffee. Request a copy of our Step-By-Step Dispensing SOP guide. It breaks down the daily and weekly maintenance steps of how to care and clean your keg cooler. Our distributors and integration team are also available to train and provide maintenance for the system that you choose. Contact Bona Fide today for a copy of this helpful document.



How Difficult Is It To Change Kegs?


     Changing a Keg is very easy. The only thing that you need to understand is how the parts fit into each other. As soon as you understand this, you will find it very easy.


Procedure for Changing a Keg


Part 1: Removing the Empty Keg

Step #1: You need to check first to ensure that your keg is completely empty. You can determine whether your nitro coffee keg is empty by simply giving it a quick shake. You can tell approximately how full it is by how it feels when you shake it. If it feels empty it probably is and you can open the faucet to confirm. The last cup from a nitro keg is very frothy coffee and then the faucet spits and hisses gas before nothing comes out.

Step #2: Check to see where the shutoff valve is for the N2 supply. Usually, there is one for each keg, and/or a shutoff at the regulator. You will need to turn it off before you can proceed to the next step.

Note: A keg is a container that is pressurized. For this reason, never stand with your face directly over the keg coupler. Always ensure that your face is back and away from the coupler before unlatching and then disconnecting it. This is for your own safety.

Step #3: Hold the coupler’s handle where it joins your keg (at the tap-base) and lift it. It unlocks and simultaneously shots off the product and gas supply. Now, grasp the coupler and rotate it in a counter-clockwise direction until you find that it cannot move anymore. For a normal coupler, this is usually about just a half-turn. This process is similar to changing a lens on an SLR camera,

Step #4: In this step, you will need to pull the coupler from the empty keg.

Step #5: Push your empty keg aside to create room for the new keg.

Part 2: Connecting the New Keg

Step #1: There is a plastic cap that is present on the top of the keg. Remove this first. This cap is a dust cover for the keg valve.

Step #2: Check to make sure that the keg’s connection well is clean. If this is a new keg, it should not show any signs of leakage around the ball valve.

Step #3: Concentrate on lining up the lugs present on the connector's base with those that are available in the keg’s well.

Step #4: For this step, ensure that the coupler handle is raised completely until it stops. You need to fit the coupler’s tap onto the keg firmly. Twist this tap in the clockwise direction until it becomes snug. For most coupler taps, this is about a half-turn.

Step #5: Now, press the raised coupler-handle downwards to the locked position. You should hear a click as the handle detent locks into place.

Step #6: Re-open the N2 gas supply valve.

Step #7: Open the faucet to remove the excess foam (usually a couple of ounces). This excess foam is often found to build up in kegs that are freshly tapped.

Step #8: Check to make sure that your nitro coffee is flowing through the faucet and there are no visible leaks. If you find that your nitro coffee does not flow, you can repeat the process or contact a Bona Fide or the distributor for assistance.

     If you are finding it difficult trying to understand how to change your keg, it means that you might need someone who can walk you through the process for the first time. We can help you with this. Also, if you need training or retraining for your staff, we will help you with this too. All you need to do is to contact us.

What Do I Do if I Run out of Nitrogen?


      Bona Fide and its providers provide N2 bottle services to their DSD customers. These are offered during the delivery time. It is also possible to purchase commercially available nitrogen gas from any of the local bottled gas suppliers too. Changing your nitrogen gas bottle is not difficult. This is something that you can do for yourself very easily. Also, it does not take too much of your time. You supplier can train you how to do this. And the gas bottle can be fitted with a wrench that stays with the regulator.

      Generally, a 20 Ft3 nitrogen gas bottle should be able to push a minimum of 5 to 7 kegs. A 60 Ftnitrogen gas bottle, can push a minimum of 15 to 21 kegs. If you find that you are using your nitrogen gas too quickly, it means that something is not right. In the majority of the cases, there can be a leak in the system due to a loose connection, clamp or fitting. To detect a leak, use soapy water sprayed on each fitting with a simple spray bottle. If there is a leakage, bubbles will be very apparent. Our service team can handle this for you as is needed from time to time. Also, if you need a supply of nitrogen, you should feel free to contact us. We will deliver the nitrogen to you as part of our service. If you need more confidence while you are getting to learn your nitro coffee dispensing system, we are also available to help you with recurring training visits to provide you with as much information as you require for you and your staff.

Where Do I Get Nitro Coffee?


      It only takes draft equipment to be able to prepare nitro coffee. The other ingredients are organic coffee, pure water, and nitrogen gas. If you already have these, you can prepare your own nitro coffee. To do this, you can follow the following do it yourself (DIY) procedure.


DIY Cold-Brewed Nitro Coffee Making Procedure


Step #1: Prepare your Organic coffee

If you have coarsely ground coffee or whole bean coffee, you will need to grind them and reduce their size. You can buy your coffee ground or use your coffee grinder to achieve this.

Step #2: Use pure water

Avoid hard water. This is because hard water will compromise your nitro coffee taste. Use bottled water in the event that purified water is not otherwise available.

Step #3: Measure your ground coffee and place this in a filter bag (these are often made of muslin or other washable filter media). Filter bags are readily available in numerous online shops.

Step #4: Place your coffee at the bottom of the cold-coffee brewing container.

There are different containers that can be utilized here. A good container should have the following qualities:

  • It should have a lid.
  • It should be clean and sanitized.

Step #5: Pour pure water into the container. Use the ratio of 1 gallon of water for each pound of coffee beans.

Step #6: Close your container and shake it to allow mixing.

Step #7: You need to place your container in a cold area for a period of at least 24 hours.

Step #8: Transfer your coffee to a keg.

While doing this, make sure that you remove the ground coffee beans and their grounds from the coffee. This eliminates problems with clogging your hoses. Ensure that your keg is clean and sanitized.

Step #9: After you have transferred your coffee into your keg, close the lid and pressurize it with 40-45 PSI of nitrogen. Hold it for at least 48 hours at 36-40F. You can make this process happen faster by agitating the keg from time to time.

Step #19. Place your keg in a kegerator and connect it to the keg coupler(s). Your nitro coffee should be ready to pour. NOTE: The coffee will absorb more nitrogen for several days.

Although you can prepare your own nitro coffee, the process is often time-consuming and messy. Also, it takes practice and experience to produce high-quality nitro coffee on a recurring basis. When using the DIY method of brewing nitro coffee, there is a step that you will omit. This is what we call a hot step in our Craft Draft method, the pasteurization step. Thus, the home-brewed nitro coffee is more susceptible to microorganism contamination. If you notice the nitro coffee becoming sour in flavor, over the next few days, it is due to the effects of bacteria and oxidation.

You can easily order our products by contacting us through our website directly or searching “Bona Fide Nitro Coffee” on Amazon.

If you are having trouble selecting the dispensing equipment and implementing it, we can help. Reach out to us via our contact page. We will be able to offer you some guidance to help you get what you are looking for without delays.

Is it Easy to Serve Nitro Coffee?


     It is not difficult to serve nitro cold brew coffee. However, there can be challenges. With some advanced preparation and help, serving nitro coffee will be both rewarding and beneficial. These include:

·      Ease of Service

All you will need to do is to pull down the tap when you are filling glasses for your customers. Although the preparation is another story, you don’t have to prepare the coffee yourself, you can get our readily prepared product either from Amazon or from us by reaching out to us via our contact page on our website.

·      Profitability

Nitro coffee like other upscale specialty coffee drinks, commands a higher than normal selling price that traditional coffee and is a very profitable drink.

·      It's Vegan and Gluten Free

Straight Nitro coffee tastes great straight and accepts non-dairy creamers such as MCT oil, soy, and nut-based creamers.

How Do I Start?


     For you to serve nitro cold brew coffee, you will need some knowledge and some specific equipment. Bona Fide helps you determine the best solution in terms of dispensing equipment. We will help you get started. We will offer you the knowledge that you need. With Bona Fide, you will be able to start serving nitro coffee seamlessly and quickly. We are available to offer any help and support that you need. Reaching out to us is as easy as contacting us via our website.

Is Nitro Coffee Organic?


     For coffee beans to be termed as being organic, it means that they have been grown and processed without the use of chemicals from tree to cup. At Bona Fide, we are a certified organic food processor and we produce several certified organic varieties of Nitro Coffee and Tea. We satisfy the specialized criteria that are needed in order to get the certification and we are audited annually by a 3rd party certification inspector. Our current certificate is available on request.

Can You Produce Kegs for Me with My Coffee?


Are you a coffee roaster or coffee brand? Brewing your own nitro coffee will involve hassle and expense. You can easily forego these complications by letting us do the brewing for you. We call this our Bona Fide Alliance program.

To give it a try, all you need to do is to send us your 3 lbs. of your coffee. We will apply our superior Craft Draft technology and experience to prepare a sample keg nitro cold brew coffee for you. We will send the product back to you in a UPS shippable 5 gallon, Sankey-D, PET keg which you can connect to your draft dispensing station. A combination of our technology and your coffee will produce a taste experience that you and your customers are sure to love. This service costs as little as $99 plus shipping for your first sample keg. Volume discounts apply for recurring orders. Contact us for more information.