Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Nitro and Cold Brew

It can be sometimes overwhelming to look at so many options, each time you enter a coffee shop and wonder what those fancy words mean. Is a latte same as the cappuccino? What’s the difference between a regular cold brew and a nitro-infused cold brew coffee? Well, not all coffee is created equal, and this is definitely true for cold coffee. While many people see cold brew and assume it’s the same as a nitro cold brew, this is not the case. We take a look at the two options and try to understand the differences between the two.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew is undoubtedly one of the most popular and easiest ways to make coffee, and this is something you’d find in almost every coffee shop at any corner of the world you go. Although, cold brew is not something very new, it took the world by storm with its distinct taste and potential health benefits. Unlike iced coffee, which starts out as hot coffee, cold brew is allowed to become its best self as the coarse ground coffee is steeped in water at room temperature for 12-24 hours to soak up the coffee’s color, flavor and caffeine. The grounds are then strained, and you’ll have your cold brew concentrate which can be paired with milk, or alternative milk. Cold brew is like cold coffee, but it’s definitely not iced coffee.

What is Nitro Cold Brew?

Nitro coffee is something people have heard of and even tried, but some people still don’t know exactly what goes into a nitro coffee, how is it made, or what is it exactly. Nitro cold brew, as the name suggests, is yet another variation of the already popular cold brew coffee, but with a twist. The main difference between the two is the texture. Nitro is basically cold coffee infused with the colorless, odorless nitrogen gas. You take a cold brew and infuse it with nitrogen, which creates a texture that is smoother, richer and more velvety. The nitrogen actually gives the sensation of weight; it gives it a texture. Nitro coffee is simply a cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen and served on a tap like a beer.

Difference between Nitro and Cold Brew Coffee


 – Cold brew is a popular way of drinking coffee. It is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in water at room temperature for about 12 to 24 hours. The grounds are then strained and you’ll have your coffee concentrate which you can mix with cold water or milk and enjoy the drink. Nitro coffee is yet another variation of the cold brew coffee; you simply take cold brew and infuse it with nitrogen bubbles to create a smoother, richer texture.


 – The main difference between the two variations of coffee is the texture. Cold brew seems syrupy or thick which comes from the long hours of soaking process. It boasts the consistency that iced coffee does not. Nitro coffee is basically cold brew charged with nitrogen and the result is a smoother and richer texture, along with a foam head, which is highly palatable. This is because nitrogen is completely insoluble in liquid, unlike carbon dioxide which is commonly used for carbonation.


 – Cold brew is believed to be a lower-caffeine drink because theoretically, the cold water extracts fewer oils and compounds found in coffee, caffeine included. Cold brew is coffee that’s been brewed with cold water, which tends to pull out some of the intense and aromatic chemicals out of the picture, resulting in a slightly sweeter, smoother, and less acidic profile. It tastes less bitter and a bit milder than your average iced coffee. Nitro coffee is cold brew charged with nitrogen and pulled from a bar tap like a thick stout beer, which boasts a similar smooth and creamy texture. The nitro coffee, however, delivers super smooth and natural chocolaty undertones in the coffee, creating a slight sweet flavor. 

Nitro vs. Cold Brew Coffee: Comparison Chart


The cold brew coffee is taking the world by storm, due in part to its popularity with the younger generation who prefer the slightly sweeter, milder and smoother flavor compared to regular coffee. For similar reasons, it appeals to a much wider demographic, thanks to its many health benefits – the cold brewing process pulls out some of the intense and aromatic chemicals out of the coffee, meaning you can drink it without the dairy and sweetener required to neutralize the bitterness of the coffee. Nitro cold brew is the hottest addition to the already popular cold brew market, so to speak.

Is nitro cold brew stronger than regular cold brew?

Cold brew is believed to be a lower-caffeine drink because theoretically, the cold water extracts fewer oils and compounds found in coffee, caffeine included. While some believe cold brew is stronger because of the higher coffee-to-water ratio.

What is the difference between Starbucks cold brew and Nitro?

The Nitro brings out a subtly richer and smoother texture than the cold brew because of the nitrogen infused process, which creates a sweet flavor without sugar. 

What makes nitro cold brew different?

Nitro is basically cold brew charged with nitrogen bubbles and pulled from a bar tap with a foamy head like a thick stout beer. This is what makes it so different than the regular cold brew.

Is nitro cold brew stronger than espresso?

Nitro coffee uses a higher coffee to water ratio, which makes it stronger than espresso. It may not have the highest caffeine content, but still feels stronger than espresso.

Is Nitro cold brew bad for you?

It has the exact same ingredients as a regular coffee or cold brew, so, it’s not bad for you. In fact, there are many proven health benefits of drinking coffee.

Why is nitro cold brew so strong?

Nitro uses higher coffee grounds to water ratio than a regular coffee, and since it’s not diluted, you get as much caffeine as possible with every sip. It may look super fancy, but it’s a strong coffee.

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References :

[0]Callow, Chloë. Cold Brew Coffee: Techniques, Recipes & Cocktails for Coffee's Hottest Trend. London, UK: Hachette UK, 2017. Print

[1]TIME Coffee: The Culture. The Business. Your Health. New York, United States: Time Inc., 2018. Print

[2]Rardon, Candace Rose. Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know. Pennsylvania, United States: Quirk Books, 2021. Print

[3]Perreault, Abbey. “What's the Difference Between Iced Coffee, Cold Brew, and Nitro Brew?” Greatist, Healthline Media, 22 May, 2018, https://greatist.com/eat/what-is-cold-brew-iced-coffee-and-nitro-brew#1. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

[4]Image credit: https://p1.pxfuel.com/preview/946/397/272/drinks-beverage-cold-table.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cold_Brew_Coffee_(7994891379).jpg

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