Nitro vs. Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew

by RISE Brewing Co. | March 10, 2020
You enter the coffee shop and stop, staring at the menu above the register. What do all these words mean? It can be overwhelming to see all the different types of coffee. What’s the difference between a macchiato and a cortado? Is a flat white the same as a cappuccino?
All coffee is not created equal, and this is doubly true for cold coffee. While many people might see “iced coffee” and assume it’s the same as “cold brew” and even “nitro”, the truth is that there are big differences between them. To clear things up, let’s look at the three cold options—their differences, their similarities, and why you should care.

Iced Coffee

This is the original way to prepare cold coffee. With this method, coffee is brewed hot and then chilled, either over ice or, in the old days, by simply putting it in the fridge.
With the rise of specialty coffee came the introduction to the United States of the Japanese Iced Pour-over, wherein half the water is replaced with ice and the coffee is brewed directly onto the ice, chilling it instantly while preserving the delicate flavors of the hot coffee. If you want to try a specific coffee in a cafe, this is usually what you’ll get, as it’s easy to brew a single cup while still showcasing the coffee’s taste.  

When Was Iced Coffee Invented?  

Iced Coffee was “accidentally” invented in 1840. The first iced coffee was called, “mazagran (masagran).” It was a cold, sweetened coffee drink that was invented by the French military during the Battle of Mazagran. While in Algeria, the French ran out of milk, and instead, added water to their coffee and drank it cold to battle the heat. Upon returning to Paris, the Mazagran veterans suggested that café owners serve this drink - café mazagran - and the concept of iced coffee was born.

How Long Does Iced Coffee Last In The Fridge?  

Unlike hot coffee that usually loses its taste appeal after a few hours, iced coffee can last much longer in the fridge. We recommend keeping iced coffee in the fridge for a max of 12 hours. After that, the quality and taste start to deteriorate.

How Do You Sweeten Iced Coffee?  

You can sweeten iced coffee several ways. If you’re looking to avoid refined sugar, you can try - brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk, non-dairy milk such as oat milk, maple syrup, dates, cocoa powder or vanilla.

Cold Brew

The easiest and most popular way to make and drink cold coffee, this is the one you’ll find in almost every cafe in the world today. Cold brew is made by steeping coarse-ground coffee in room temperature water for 12-24 hours, thus creating a delicious, rich concentrate that can then be cut with water, milk, or alternative milk. Because it’s steeped over a long period of time and doesn’t use hot water, cold brew is generally less acidic than its hot brethren, adding up to a sweeter, milder drink that pairs perfectly with milk.

Is Cold Brew Stronger?  

Cold Brew contains more caffeine than hot coffee due to its higher coffee to water ratio. This can be altered depending on your brewing methods and preferences. Concentrated cold brew is incredibly strong. So, it’s best to dilute the cold brew before drinking.

What Does Cold Brew Taste Like?    

Cold brew is slightly sweeter, less intense and not as acidic as an iced coffee. The aroma and flavor can be intense and more dramatic. Yet, it’s sweet and smooth profile gives cold brew more flavor and less of a bitter taste.

How Do You Drink Cold Brew Coffee?  

You can drink cold brew coffee by itself over ice. Or, you can pair it with your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk. If you want some extra sweetness, you can add sugar or natural sweeteners such as cinnamon, agave, vanilla or maple syrup.

Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee?  

Yes, you can heat up cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee usually comes in a concentrated form. So, if you add hot water to heat it up, it will dilute the concentrate and taste like a normal hot cup of coffee.

What Is Cold Brew Concentrate?  

Cold Brew Concentrate is ground coffee that has been brewed with cold water for anywhere between 14 to 18 hours.

Does Cold Brew Use Different Coffee Beans?  

The type of beans depends on the intended flavor profile you want. Most cold brew coffee uses coarse beans which allows it to have a darker, richer flavor.

How Much Caffeine Is In Cold Brew?  

A typical 16 oz cold brew has approximately 200 mg of caffeine.

Does Cold Brew Go Bad?  

In most cases, you can keep cold brew for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Some signs your cold brew has gone bad include: little aroma, very acidic, less flavor, caffeine effect is low, mold or rancid smell.

Nitro Cold Brew

Cold brew, but richer and smoother, with many similarities to a certain Irish stout.
Nitro is, as its name suggests, cold brew infused with nitrogen and either served from a keg or canned. The tiny nitrogen bubbles give the drink its famous creamy texture, while the addition of milk or perhaps chocolate oat milk adds sweetness and depth.
Nitro has become increasingly popular in recent years, due to the complexity and richness of its flavors and the interest of cold brew fans in expanding their horizons (and their palates).
Nitro handles the canning process well, allowing it to be easily sold in grocery stores, further widening its reach. No matter your preference, a cold can of RISE Nitro Brewing Co. nitro cold brew coffee is the perfect way to refresh and re-energize on a hot day (or a cold day, really).
Nitro Cold Brew vs. Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee - Brewing Process Comparison

Is Nitro Safe To Drink?  

Yes, it is completely safe to drink Nitro brewed beverages.

How Much Caffeine Is In Nitro Cold Brew?  

A can of Nitro cold brew contains 180 mg of caffeine.

Is Nitro Cold Brew Carbonated?  

Nitro cold brew is not a carbonated coffee. Nitrogen bubbles are smaller for a more dense profile versus carbonated beverages that have a light and airy texture.

Is Nitro Cold Brew Dairy Free?  

Yes, Nitro Cold Brew is naturally dairy free. It is simply cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen. Sometimes, Nitro Cold Brew is flavored with various kinds of milk in order to create a latte. In that case, you’ll want to make sure that your Nitro cold brew only contains non-dairy options such as almond, cashew, coconut, oat, hazelnut, hemp, macadamia, rice or soy milk to keep it dairy free.

Is Nitro Cold Brew Vegan?  

Yes, Nitro Cold Brew is vegan. It is simply cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen. Sometimes, Nitro Cold Brew is flavored with various kinds of milk in order to create a latte. In that case, you’ll want to make sure that your Nitro cold brew only contains vegan milk options such as almond, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, hemp, macadamia, oat, rice or soy.

How Is Nitro Cold Brew Made?  

Nitro cold brew starts with the production of cold brew coffee which takes up to 24 hours. Once the grounds are steeped, the coffee is placed into a bottle or keg. As the cold brew is poured it is charged with nitrogen. This gives it a rich, creamy head of foam, just like draft beer.


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