Nitro that Coffee Buzz
Give coffee a shot of nitrogen, and you're on to what appears to be the next big thing: cold coffee on tap. If you've had a Guinness dry stout, with its tight bubbles, creamy head and mesmerizing cascading, you'll recognize the effect.
Nitro coffee is unsweetened, refreshing and smoother than a typical iced coffee.
For the nitro coffee Jennifer and John Wheir, owners of Beacon Coffee in Ventura, serve in their cafe, they start with their 14- to 16-hour cold brew. After the coffee's filtered, it's put into pressurized kegs.
Caribbean Coffee Company in Goleta, which recently launched Craft Draft, uses a "hybrid hot and cold method," says Spencer Weiner, chief marketing officer and "happiness ambassador." (The company will be offering an Indian black tea version as well.)
Sandbox Coffeehouse in Ventura and the newly opened Honey Cup Coffee Bar in the Channel Island Harbor feature Caribbean Coffee's proprietary system, offering a few rotating roasts on tap. Customers can enjoy the hip coffee at home with refillable growlers.
Long intrigued by the idea of coffee on tap, the Wheirs reached out to their craft beer brewing friends for advice.
"Chaz from Surf Brewery helped me with a shopping list of parts, from valves and tubes to taps and wrenches," says Jennifer. "Reno from Poseidon [Brewing Company] helped me assemble Chaz's shopping list and the fine gentlemen at Institution Ale [Company] loaned us two kegs to pilot the program in the cafe." The resulting product has been wildly popular, says Jennifer.
The Wheirs' goal is for commercial distribution of the nitro cold brew to be served at their craft brewery partners, alongside the coffee-infused beers they've collaborated on.
Pacific Beverage Company, a beer and nonalcoholic-beverage distributor for the tri-county area, will distribute Caribbean's new draft coffee system, says Weiner.
Meaning you'll likely start seeing nitro coffee popping up at your favorite Ventura County bars, microbreweries, specialty grocers and coffeehouses.