With nitro coffee and nitro desserts still making the 2018 food trend list, we thought we’d venture out into town to sample the nitro offerings locally. If you haven’t yet tried nitro coffee you have a few stops to make here in Westerly.
Originally popping up with more regularity around 2015 and maybe as early as 2012 in Texas, nitro coffee or nitro brew is what you get when nitrogen is infused into cold brewed coffee. Much like Guinness with a rich, creamy head, the nitrogen bubbles are smaller than the traditional carbon dioxide bubbles making it more difficult for the water in the coffee to dissolve. Cold brew is generally less acidic than hot coffee because of the 12-20 hour steeping time in room temperature water. The natural oils and acids found in coffee grounds are easily extracted with hot water. By using room temperature water a lot of the acidity is left behind. For some people this makes it a lot easier to digest. When infusing the cold brew with nitrogen, the results include sweeter taste and creamier texture. Stored in a keg, pressurized and poured from a tap, nitro brew is much stronger than your average cold brew or iced coffee. The best part, perhaps, is that because of the naturally sweet taste and creamy texture you do not need to add any sugar or milk to this pick me up drink. While purists drink it from the tap, here in Rhode Island a lot of people like it over ice, including the guys over at High Tide Juice Company.
At High Tide they have been serving The Nitro Cart’s nitro cold brew for about nine months. Loving it for it’s delicious and unique flavor, they opted for The Nitro Cart’s product because they believe it is the best product they had tried. This version, which I did try with ice at their suggestion, had a mocha flavor to it. It was creamy and rich and to be honest, I loved it with the ice. The Nitro Cart uses beans roasted right here in Southern Rhode Island, so not only are you shopping local at High Tide you are also supporting two other local businesses at the same time. Triple win.
While you can find small cans of nitro brew at local markets, there is something really special about sitting down with one at a lovely spot and learning about it at the same time. If you head over to The Savoy Bookshop you will not be disappointed to stop in and speak with Tim from Wakin’ Up Waggin’, who knows quite a lot about nitro cold brew. Here you will find a purist. No ice. Served in a canning jar at 38 degrees, there is no need to make it colder. Wakin’ up Waggin’ serves locally loved Dave’s Nitro Blend (and for you friends 21+ you will also be glad to know they are also serving Gray Sail’s Dave’s Coffee Stout). Tim tells us that the folks over at Dave’s took their time perfecting their nitro cold brew and have only been serving it since last August. Wakin’ up Waggin’ selected Dave’s Nitro Blend because of the amazing taste. They also wanted to give their customers another great experience in coffee drinking. Tim loves to “push” samples on anyone willing to try, he especially loves watching their expressions as they experience the thick, creamy richness for the first time. He told us that last summer they served it as a float with some ice cream and also as a dessert poured over ice cream with some sea salt and caramel. Can you say…Oh. My. Goodness?! Bring on summer!
We have had nitro brew at Junk & Java and know they also serve it at the Highland Grille over at Westerly High School. Chef Finkelstein wanted to try a new product and stay trendy in the cafe/coffee business. There you will also find Dave’s Nitro Brew being drunk primarily by students over ice. With spring right around the corner Chef Finkelstein believes he will see an increase in nitro sales as it is a warm weather friendly drink…once the students realize how caffeinated it is I personally believe they might take to it at exam time as well! We’d love to hear from you, Westerly! How do you drink your nitro brew? Over ice or no ice? Let us know!
Westerly Food would like to thank the folks at High Tide Juice Co. and Wakin’ Up Waggin’ for their time and coffee.