I tried nitro coffee at Rubies+Diamonds this morning. I loved the gentle effervescence, but it was mouth-puckeringly sour. Is that normal? Do you guys like nitro coffee and what places would you recommend? Thanks!
Not a pro on nitro cold brew but I know Stumptown cold brew is pretty common where nitro cold brew is available.
It does have a nice somewhat short-lived superfine effervescence to it from the nitrogen, and it is sourish. It’s a great drink on a hot summer morning - I usually add a little simple syrup and half/half.
The first place I tried it was at Superba Food & Bread a while back, and have seen it on menus and in places like Whole Foods where you can self-serve.
Forgot to mention that I start out enjoying it straight up - the effervescence and tart profile are refreshing.
It shouldn’t be mouth puckering sour. It should a nice smooth profile with any characteristics of the bean being used. You might want to ask for Aaron Rodriquez there and ask if that’s typical. I think the decaf is a different blend, so might ask for a taster of that too.
Thanks for the info, @bulavinaka and @chewchow! The effervescence was so perfect for the hot weather. I was just a bit confused by the extremely sour taste. I drink strong coffee everyday and take it without sugar. However, I had to add a lot of simple syrup to make it palatable, which was a bit strange. I’ll definitely try your suggestions.
Extremely sour taste means they over extracted it somehow…
Go try nitro at Blacktop or Demitasse.
I don’t recall trying any other nitro cold brew, but Stumptown’s version has been sourish every time I’ve tried it. It threw me the first time - was expecting that smooth almost neutral cold brew flavor but with effervescence.
The sourish profile works for me though. Cold brew tends to lack backbone (since I take my hot coffee on the strong side). The sourish acidity not only suits me well in satisfying my thirst, it also adds the dimension that normal cold brew kinda lacks.
Blacktop and Demitasse are my two favorites right now - great suggestions, @Aesthete. I’ll definitely hit them up.
The sour profile was too difficult for me, @bulavinaka. I’ll give it a couple of tries and see if the sourness is inherent to all nitro coffees. I hope not. Nitro may not be the coffee for me then.
I feel like stumptown cold brew is always sour, must be the beans/roast they use. I make cold brew at home with various types of coffee, but use the same method/cold brew time, and some turn out sour, some turn out nice and bold.
I’ve never found nitro cold brew to be “sour” but in fact a bit smoother and perhaps even sweeter. Perhaps this is due to the texture of nitro cold brew – it being creamier – which might create a sweeter note on the tongue.
I like the nitro cold brew at Mega Bodega.
This. Saturating a liquid with nitrogen will increase the perceived sweetness a bit. Try a side-by-side of the same cold brew OG v Nitro and you should find that the sourness is inherent to the extracted coffee, not to anything the nitrogen is doing.
Personally, I don’t care for nitro all that much. That smoothness that ipse describes tends to flatten out some of the nuances in the cold brew a bit. Its nice for a change on occasion.
I think it’s more important for you to find a particular coffee bean that you like for a cold brew before embarking on exploring nitro brewing.
I’m no expert, but I’d start with organic beans that have been coarsely ground, medium roasted.
concur with this
dunno why, stumptown always tasted sour to me
sourness in coffee is very “in” these days. The industry uses the term “brightness” to describe a coffee bean that has high citric acidity. I bought a very expensive bean once that tasted like hot lemonade. If you don’t like a tart, citric bean, look for one that has a soft apple or pear like acidity or one that has a long sweet aftertaste and a primarily chocolate quality. A lot of the african coffees can be exceptionally tart, esp. those from Kenya.
Concur with ipse on both points. Sourness is not inherent to nitro, almost less so as frommtomm points out, it sometimes mutes nuances, but cold coffee will do that anyways.
As ipse says, start with the beans. Unfortunately, some of the best beans are not certified organic as they will not pay for the CCOF process. Lots of organic beans are mal roasted.
Not going to debate roasters here. It would be akin to a discussion on who makes the best stout. Just pick the profile you like.
A more in depth view of the process can be given by Aaron at R+D or Tyler at Blacktop.
Thanks @ipsedixit, @westsidegal, @salsaman, and @chewchow for your input. Right now my favorite coffee is from Blacktop, Demitasse, Blue Bottle, Bar Nine, and Cognoscenti. I suppose I should start from there and see if they have nitro coffee.
I love Mega Bodega. I go there every weekday. I always get the cold brew, but have never tried the Nitro. It’s on the agenda for tomorrow!
Just tried nitro cold brew straight up at Primo Passo on Montana in SaMo. Tastes like Stumptown’s little baby brother. Sour note is there when first hitting the tongue but just a subtle sour compared to its big bro. No sweetness, but relatively smooth.
On another note, Primo Passo does a pretty descent pourover. Usually two types of beans are offered. Today is Costa Rica and Columbia - both medium roast - don’t recall the estate/provenance. Columbia has some of that initial slight winey sourness like the nitro. Didn’t ask but wouldn’t be surprised if both the nitro and pourover were from the same beans.
I’m guessing in both cases the coffee was under extracted, with Stumptown being the bigger offender.