Nitro Coffee: What is Nitro Coffee and Why Is it Trendy?

Gracie Tidwell
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    Nitro Coffee: What is Nitro Coffee and Why Is it Trendy?

    Walk into any coffee shop or coffee roaster, and you’re likely to see nitro coffee on the menu. This may sound familiar to you. However, most people don’t understand what nitro coffee is and why it’s different from other types of coffee. 

    Coffee has been around for centuries and has experienced many variations over time. New innovations in production offer interesting ways to enhance the average cold brew coffee drink.

    What is Nitro Coffee? 

    You may have seen this drink listed on the menu last time you went to Starbucks. It’s likely you are still wondering: what is nitro coffee? Nitro coffee is a type of cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. 

    This specialty coffee possesses multiple unique qualities. The main difference is how the nitrogen affects the coffee. 

    The nitrogen infusion causes small nitrogen bubbles in the drink. These bubbles give the coffee a distinctive flavor and texture. To create nitro coffee, the barista starts with a cold brew coffee as the base. 

    The coffee is then transferred to a keg and hooked up to the source of nitrogen. It is then pressurized and the nitro coffee dispenses from the tap. Once poured into a cup, nitro coffee typically forms a foamy head. This offers a delightful appearance similar to a stout beer.

    Key Takeaway: Nitro coffee offers a unique experience to coffee drinkers. Its nitrogen infusion results in a subtle and sweet flavor profile and a silky smooth texture. 
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    Nitro Coffee’s Rise to Trendiness

    Nitro coffee hit the coffee scene in 2010. It rose in popularity in third-wave coffee shops. Soon, it became part of the mainstream coffee scene. 

    Starbucks adopted nitro coffee as a permanent menu item. Many coffee shops worldwide began to serve nitro coffee. Some retailers now offer their own private label nitro cold brew. 

    Another popular retailer taking advantage of nitro coffee’s trendiness is Guinness. The famous beer company now sells a product called the Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee. They are one of the many companies taking advantage of this trendy drink and similar beverage trends.

    Why is Nitro Coffee Trendy?

    Texture, Feeling, and Flavor

    The unique coffee brewing method used for nitro coffee results in a strong flavor profile. Traditionally brewed coffee has a natural bitterness and acidity. 

    The nitrogen infusion in nitro coffee mellows these flavors. This results in a slightly sweeter taste and provides a well rounded flavor. Nitro coffee appeals to people who find the flavor of regular coffee, espresso drinks, and cold brew to be too strong. 

    Nitro coffee also has a distinct texture. The bubbles cause a velvety, smooth feeling on the palate. Another benefit of the nitrogen infusion is the enhanced freshness of the drink. The oxidation process of infusing nitrogen results in a long-lasting fresh flavor. 


    One distinct trait of nitro coffees is the temperature. Nitro coffee is either poured over ice or served straight from the tap. 

    This further separates nitro from other coffee options. It is a popular choice in the summertime or hot-weather climates. 

    It’s possible to serve nitro coffee warm. However, this is not ideal because the heat causes the bubbles to go flat, diminishing the quality.

    Health Benefits

    Nitro coffee is also trendy because of its health benefits. The sweet flavor caused by the nitrogen infusion allows many people to drink nitro coffee without sweeteners. 

    This makes it a healthier drink option for people looking to cut back on their sugar intake. Nitro coffee also offers lower acidity, increased levels of antioxidants, and metabolism boosts.  

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    Visual Appeal

    The appearance of nitro coffee has certainly contributed to its trendiness. When poured, a cascading effect occurs and the frothy head of the drink appears. This is visually appealing and makes for a great social media post. 

    Nitro coffee gets lots of attention on social media platforms including Instagram and TikTok. In fact, the hashtag #NitroCoffee has over 98,000 posts on Instagram as of 2023. 

    The visual appeal of a menu item can skyrocket its demand and acceptance into the mainstream. The large social media buzz around nitro coffee contributes to the widespread availability of this cold brew drink.


    Nitro coffee started as a niche coffee drink but is now a mainstream option. Most coffee shops and retailers offer a nitro coffee option. It’s easy to see why - nitro coffee’s unique traits and flavors make it a great option year-round. 

    The availability of nitro-infused coffee has sky-rocketed over the past decade. Coffee shops aren’t the only place to look if you’re searching for a refreshing coffee beverage. 

    Third-wave coffee shops introduced the world to nitro coffee. Today, nitro coffee is available in many different places. Nitro coffee is sold in grocery and convenience stores. Even the packaging for nitro cold brews has evolved, offered as canned, bottled, and box options. 

    Coffee consumers have multiple vendors to choose from when shopping for nitro coffee. One company capitalizing on the drink’s popularity is Starbucks. 

    Beyond its in-store nitro coffee option, Starbucks has introduced a canned nitro coffee drink. Nitro coffee’s accessibility allows more people to try this specialty coffee beverage. 

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Nitro Coffee

    Are you still feeling unsure about what makes nitro coffee stand out? The following questions will help you further understand this unique beverage. 

    Can I make nitro coffee at home?

    Yes, you can brew your own nitro coffee at home. However, the process of making it requires specialized equipment such as a keg or a specialized nitro coffee maker. 

    Without these items, you’ll have to head to your local coffee shop to get your nitro coffee fix. Coffee shops often purchase wholesale coffee or subscribe to a coffee bean subscription

    This helps them to reduce costs and allows them to sell coffee for cheaper than it would be to make it at home. You can find nitro coffee in many places, as it is now a common cafe or restaurant coffee option.

    Is nitro coffee expensive?

    Yes, nitro coffee tends to be more expensive than traditionally brewed coffee. The specialized process and equipment required to make nitro coffee often result in a higher price. 

    However, the unique taste and texture of the beverage make up for the higher price point. If you’re looking to minimize how much you spend on coffee, consider looking into an online coffee subscription service or coffee of the month club.

    Does nitro coffee have more caffeine than other coffee?

    Nitro coffee has more caffeine than traditionally brewed coffee because its base is cold brew, which has  higher caffeine content. However, the type and amount of coffee beans used determines the caffeine content. 

    Does nitro coffee contain dairy?

    No, nitro coffee does not contain dairy. It’s always an option to add dairy or plant-based milk to your nitro coffee drink in order to increase the sweetness or enhance the flavor. 

    Many versions of nitro coffee are now on the market as more companies capitalize on this coffee industry trend. Some coffee sellers offer nitro coffee options that contain dairy, plant-based milk, and other flavors or additives. 

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