The Difference Between Nitro Cold Brew And Regular Cold Brew

Walk into any coffee shop worthy of the name and you'll be confronted by tons of options these days. Whether you have a preferred method of hot brew or enjoy some form of cold coffee, the variations are endless. But if you have ever wondered what the differences are between cold brew, nitro brew, and even hot brewed coffee, then you need a closer look at how your barista might prepare them.

Both hot and cold brew coffee are made by pouring water over ground coffee beans, but that's where the similarities end. Hot brewed coffee is made with, of course, hot water. Depending on how hot the water is, different flavors, including acidic and bitter notes, are extracted from the coffee beans (via Java Presse). Cold water brings out different notes than hot water, isn't as aromatic, and takes more time to brew (via Eat This, Not That!).

Cold brew takes longer to extract the vibrant flavors and the higher amount of caffeine that the drink tends to have, which is why it typically brews for up to a couple of days at room temperature or cooler, according to Eat This, Not That!. The cooler water means that the flavors it takes from the coffee beans are different, resulting in less acidic and bitter coffee. According to Java Presse, "tests have shown that cold brewed coffee can have 66 percent less acidity and bitterness when compared to hot coffee." But this isn't the only benefit to the slower process.

What sets nitro cold brew apart

Cold brew coffee "allows for a longer shelf life, as cold brew can keep the same flavor and strength for weeks to months," said Scott van Antwerp, a customer experience associate for Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters, according to Eat This, Not That!. Both cold brew and nitro cold brew stay good for a lot longer, but it's nitro cold brew that's the smoother of the two coffees, according to Eat This, Not That!.

Both cold brew and nitro cold brew are brewed the same way. The two differ in how each is stored after they've been brewed. Plain cold brew coffee is typically bottled and refrigerated, according to Eat This, Not That!. Nitro cold brew, on the other hand, is usually kept inside a keg, like beer. According to Antwerp, the cold brew inside a keg "can then be infused with nitrogen and put on tap. The resulting nitro cold brew has a smoother [and] thicker body, resembling that of a Guinness." The difference between the two kinds of cold brew all comes down to the way in which it is stored, and whether or not nitrogen has been added to the coffee.

Either way you choose to drink cold brew, you should still get up to twice the level of caffeine than regular hot coffee or iced coffee.