As anyone who’s really into good coffee will know, you have to look a lot further than your local Starbucks to find the hottest (and coldest) new trends. The bigger chains tend to pick up on the next big thing soon enough, but only months or years after true coffee connoisseurs have been trying new tricks and methods.

Which is precisely why what’s very much the flavour of the month right now is one you won’t find at most big-name coffee shops. If you want to see what the big deal’s all about with nitro coffee, you need to head elsewhere. For the time being, at least.

But at the same time, is nitro coffee really a big deal in the first place? A temporary fad that’ll soon go the way of the dinosaurs, or a new way of enjoying coffee that’s here to stay?

Well, it all depends who you ask, but there’s no disputing the fact that the nitro coffee-crowd is both massive and growing by the day.

No New Gimmick

Contrary to popular belief, nitro coffee is far from an all-new concept. In fact, it was first being toyed with back in 2012, when a few independent coffee houses began playing with the idea and trialling it on their customers. Some took to it in an instant, others didn’t see the point.

If you haven’t yet tried it yourself, nitro coffee is similar in many ways to standard cold brew coffee or iced coffee. It’s served cold, it’s made in a variety of strengths and it can be taken long or short. The only difference being that instead of being made as a watery cold coffee mixture, it is pumped full of nitrogen in the same way as Guinness. This results in a much thicker, creamier overall texture – again, as would be the case with a glass of nitro stout.

In fact, with the right beans, blend and processing, nitro coffee quite often comes out tasting like alcohol-free stout.


As it stands, the experience you can expect from an order of nitro coffee will vary massively, depending on where you order it from. While some water down cold brew coffee to create a less potent nitro coffee, others keep things much stronger to create a thicker, richer taste and texture. Some serve nitro coffee shots with a heavy whack of caffeine, while others offer full pints of the stuff with the equivalent of anything from two to seven shots of espresso packed in.

But what’s common across all cases is the way in which those that have nailed their own nitro coffee recipes are now going through gallons and gallons of the stuff every day. And for the time being at least, it’s one take on coffee you’re probably going to find tricky to recreate at home.

So back to the original question – is nitro coffee a big deal?

There’s only one way to find out for sure – go grab some yourself and see what you think!