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Who Needs Starbucks? It's Really Easy to Make Nitro Cold Brew At Home.

Gif: Shep McAllister

Starbucks serves nitro cold brew now, which means that the creamy, foamy, and texturally rich coffee that was once only available at the fanciest of local coffee shops is now officially mainstream. And while it might seem like a treat that can only be made with fancy coffee equipment, it’s actually really easy to make at home with an off-the-shelf whipped cream dispenser.

First, some background about nitro cold brew. It’s cold brew, with nitrogen. Obviously! Nitrogen bubbles are smaller than the carbon dioxide bubbles that carbonate sodas and seltzers, which results in a creamy texture and a foamy head. If you’ve ever had a draft Guinness, you basically know what you’re getting into here. If you want to dive a little deeper, Bill Nye did an explainer here.

Illustration for article titled Who Needs Starbucks? Its Really Easy to Make Nitro Cold Brew At Home.
Photo: Shep McAllister

Home bakers and professional cake decorators alike have used nitrogen powered whipped cream dispensers for decades, and it’s basically the only piece of equipment you’ll need for your foamy treat. This model from ICO costs less than $35, and seems to be the most popular budget option out there. It’s also what I used to test this process out. Just note that you can buy it with or without bundled N2 cartridges, so if you buy it without, you’ll need to buy some separately.

About those cartridges. At less than $1 each, they’re not exactly expensive. But nor are they super affordable considering that each one will only nitro-charge a single glass of coffee. I don’t think I’ll be foaming up my morning coffee every day, but at this price, it can be a nice weekend treat.

Okay! You’ve got your whipped cream dispenser. You’ve got your N2 cartridge. And hopefully, you’ve got some cold brew. If not, here are our readers’ favorite cold brew makers and cold brew coffee to get you started.

  1. Pour your cold brew into the whipped cream dispenser in whatever combination of concentrate, water, milk, sugars, and spices that you’d like.
  2. Screw on the N2 cartridge very tightly, until you hear it hiss.
  3. Give the dispenser a few good shakes.
  4. Turn it upside down, and squeeze the trigger to dispense your coffee into a glass (I didn’t specify that you needed a glass, but we’re all adults here).
  5. Make sure to let any excess gas out of the dispenser before you unscrew it, unless you want to risk serious dismemberment or death.

That’s it! You’ve made nitro cold brew! Now put the moment on Instagram or whatever, and enjoy.

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