You can't officially celebrate the start of summer unless there's a giant iced coffee in your hands, but consider trading in your go-to beverage for something new: the Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew. What's that? You're not sure you know what's in Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew? I get it — it's definitely not your typical iced coffee beverage, but it's definitely a unique treat that you have to try at least once, especially if you consider yourself a cold brew diehard (hi, that's me).
Throwing the word "Nitro" in front of cold brew definitely makes it sound like a swanky, sophisticated affair, but the ingredients that go into making this rich and creamy drink are actually surprisingly simple. Last summer, Starbucks made its super smooth Cold Brew a part of its permanent menu, after it excelled in test markets across the country. This year, the coffee giant is at it again, only this time it's serving up its Cold Brew with a twist. The Nitro Cold Brew is simply Starbucks' regular Cold Brew infused with nitrogen, which gives it an ultra unique texture and taste that puts it in a league of its own. That may sound like a weird science experiment, but it actually works a lot like a process you are already quite familiar with — carbonation. When you add CO2 to beverages, you get large fizzy bubbles that make soda and seltzer so yummy. Adding nitrogen to Cold Brew has a similar effect, only the bubbles are much smaller so your drink isn't fizzy, so much as it's just full-bodied, rich, and delicious.
And you know what else is super cool? The Nitro Cold Brew comes dispensed from a tap, like this:
See how the bubbles sort of cascade throughout the drink? That's the nitrogen working its magic. The result is a super velvety texture that tastes almost cream-like. You don't even have to add any milk or sweetener to this beverage. The nitrogen process brings out the chocolatey undertones of the Cold Brew for a taste that's naturally sweet. Oh, and you don't have to add any ice, either. The beverage comes up cold and refreshing straight from the tap.
Of course, what you probably really want to know is how much caffeine this baby packs — coffee is delicious, but let's not forget it serves a very important purpose. The 12 oz. Nitro Cold Brew contains 245mg of caffeine, making it a worthwhile afternoon pick-me-up (there are 260mg of caffeine in a 12 oz. Pike Place, for what it's worth).
The Nitro Cold Brew is already a hit at the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle, and is making its way to 500 different stores throughout the country by the end of summer (specifically, it'll pop up in Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago). The drink costs around $3.95 for a Tall, depending on where you live.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Nitro Cold Brew dreaming to do.