This modern, trendy coffee drink is extremely popular in coffee shops large and small. Since it’s made with nitrogen to create a creamy froth, the end result will look eerily similar to a pint of stout served at your favorite bar or pub. You may think that this distinctive cold brew is too complicated or involved to make at home, but this isn’t the case. After all, people buy coffee makers to make other specialty drinks like cappuccinos and lattes at home, too.
There are a good number of nitro cold brew coffee makers that you can buy and use in the comfort of your own kitchen, even if you’ve never made nitro cold brew before and have no idea what the process entails. If you want to purchase your own nitro cold brew coffee maker but don’t know where to begin, read on to see some fantastic options.
We researched several dozen nitro cold brew coffee makers, going over manufacturer claims and reputation as well as user reviews. This gave us a good idea of what consumers did or didn’t like about each product, the features they found most useful in each device, and the properties each coffee maker possesses.
When we had narrowed our selection down to fewer than 10 products, we went right to the experts. We read reviews and thoughts from several well-respected coffee and lifestyle sites to see what they had to say about nitro cold brew coffee makers. We spoke directly to a former barista to get his opinion on what to look for in a nitro cold brew coffee maker, and used their opinions to narrow down our selection. We also managed to get our hands on several of these nitro cold brew coffee makers, so we could test them out for ourselves and get a firsthand look at their respective benefits and drawbacks.
Why buy a nitro cold brew coffee maker?
The first and most obvious reason to buy a nitro cold brew coffee maker is if you love nitro cold brew and want the ability to make your own at home. Nitro cold brew purchased at coffee shops or other retail establishments tends to be expensive; cold brew is already one of the pricier types of coffee, so a specialty cold brew is even more costly. Thus, buying your own device is a great way to save money in the long run.
If you have your own nitro cold brew coffee maker, it allows you to play around with and experiment with your cold brew and figure out what you like best; something you can’t do when you buy nitro cold brew at your local coffee shop.
Even if you’re not a frequent coffee drinker, a nitro cold brew coffee maker might still be a worthwhile addition to your home. Cold brew coffee is known for its rich, less acidic taste. And nitro cold brew is known for being even smoother and richer than regular cold brew. Thus, some people who don’t drink coffee as often, or those who don’t currently drink it but want to start, may find its flavor more palatable than regular drip coffee, since nitro cold brew is creamier and sweeter. As a bonus, you get this creaminess and sweetness without needing to add creamer, sugar, or artificial sweetener and the calories, fat, and sugar that come with them.
What should you look for in a nitro cold brew coffee maker?
Here are a few factors worth considering when shopping for a nitro cold brew coffee maker:
- Type: There are two main types of nitro cold brew coffee makers: the mini-keg models and the dispenser models. Many keg models are virtually identical in appearance to countertop beer kegs, right down to the built-in tap. (Some may look a bit more like a large metal bottle, but they function the same.) Dispenser models are basically the same as professional whipped cream makers and dispensers: tall, narrow, and compact. Both will serve their intended task admirably, so the difference mostly comes down to personal preferences and needs.
- Size and Quantity: Consider both the size of the coffee maker itself and its maximum capacity. Also consider where you plan to store and use your new nitro cold brew coffee maker. Countertop models can be quite bulky, and you’ll have to account for the tap and other extra attachments that most coffee makers don’t have. And if you plan on brewing multiple servings to save for later—extremely common with cold brew since it lasts a long time when refrigerated—you’ll also want to ensure that your new coffee maker will fit in your fridge.
- Chargers/Cartridges: In order to add the nitrogen and get that nice frothy, creamy look and feel to your coffee, you’ll need a charger or cartridge. It’s what infuses the nitrogen gas into your cold brew, so you can’t make nitro cold brew without one. If possible, look for a nitro cold brew coffee maker that is compatible with N2 (pure nitrogen) instead of N2O (nitrous oxide). N2 chargers not only create a foamier and more cascading effect in your nitro cold brew, but most coffee drinkers agree the taste is smoother and overall superior. Also keep in mind that certain brands of coffee makers only fit (or produce better results with) certain brands of nitrogen cartridges.
How do nitro cold brew coffee makers work?
First off, you’ll have to obtain some cold brew coffee. Keep in mind that few nitro cold brew coffee makers can make regular cold brew itself; you’ll have to make it separately in a regular cold brew coffee maker or buy pre-made cold brew concentrate at the store.
Once you’ve obtained your cold brew, fill the keg or dispenser up to the appropriate capacity, making sure to leave enough room for the nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas. Seal it tightly, attach the lid, and insert the nitrogen cartridges (usually one or two, depending on the size of the coffee maker and the amount of coffee you’re brewing; the product listing should specify). Then, vigorously shake the coffee maker for 15 to 20 seconds, and your nitro cold brew will be ready to be served or stored in the fridge until you’re ready to drink some.
(Note that depending on the coffee maker in question, there may be one or two extra steps or parts for preparing or serving, which will be detailed in the included instructions.)
Which type is better: keg or dispenser nitro cold brew coffee makers?
While both are very effective, mini-keg models are generally considered to be the “classic” and thus the better choice for making your own nitro cold brew. Their nitrogen cartridges will need changing less often, they’re great for storing as well as brewing nitro cold brew, and they tend to make and hold larger quantities of nitro cold brew than dispensers do. They’re super effective for serving, especially for larger groups of people. And many are well-insulated to keep your cold brew chilled for hours at a time, even outside the fridge.
That said, there are also advantages to dispenser nitro cold brew coffee makers. For one, they’re often more budget-friendly than their keg counterparts. As mentioned, the dispensers are much lighter and thus more portable; if you want a nitro cold brew coffee maker you can bring on the go, one of these models is a much better choice in that respect. And dispensers are typically easier to use, so beginners may prefer them for this reason, at least to start.
How expensive are nitro cold brew coffee makers?
Many coffee makers are on the pricey side, and nitro cold brew coffee makers are no exception. Even though they’re manually rather than electrically operated, their price tag runs closer to electric drip coffee makers than less expensive ones like French presses or regular cold brew coffee makers. Odds are good you’ll have to pay around $150 for a nitro cold brew coffee maker. Even with handheld dispenser models, which tend to be less expensive, you’re unlikely to find one that is less than $100. Some of the higher-end keg models may even go for around $200 each. You’ll also have to consider the costs of buying new coffee grounds or cold brew concentrate and nitrogen cartridges, too.
While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that if you buy a cup of nitro cold brew for $5 once a week for a year, that adds up to $260 over the course of a single year. So even though nitro cold brew coffee makers are a bit expensive up front, they can still save you money in the long run.
Royal Brew Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
This keg-style nitro brew coffee maker is available in two large sizes, great for making and storing enough nitro cold brew to last a week or more.
Pros: Since cold brew takes longer to make than most types of coffee, many people prefer to brew it in bulk, and this is a good option for that. It comes in two size options, 64 ounces and 128 ounces (equivalent to 8 and 16 cups, respectively), making it a great choice for planning ahead or serving guests. And unlike some nitro cold brew coffee makers, this one doesn’t require brand-specific cartridges. It’s compatible with just about any set of 2-gram nitrogen chargers on the market. If you prefer N2O capsules instead; this nitro cold brew coffee maker is compatible with most of them as well. It comes with two specialty brushes, making it easier to clean your new coffee maker in between batches.
Cons: It’s a good thing that this model comes with cleaning brushes, as it’s not dishwasher safe. You’ll have to wash it by hand. Unfortunately, no capsules or cartridges come included with your purchase, so you’ll have to find and buy your own separately. And as great as this coffee maker is for nitro cold brew, it’s limited to nitro cold brew and other cold drinks alone; it’s not compatible with hot liquids. It’s also not safe for the microwave or freezer.
Bottom Line: While nitro cold brew doesn’t last quite as long as regular cold brew, it’ll still be good for two or three weeks when refrigerated. Thus it’s easy to conveniently make a week or more supply ahead of time. The two large-capacity options of this nitro cold brew coffee maker give you a perfect place to make, shake, and store your nitro cold brew. As long as you don’t mind its single function or cleaning it by hand, you’ll likely love and get plenty of use out of this nitro cold brew coffee maker.
SHAHRIA Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
A nitro cold brew coffee maker that costs less than most while still offering quality, useful features, and a large capacity.
Pros: While calling this nitro cold brew coffee maker “inexpensive” isn’t quite accurate, it doesn’t cost as much as many similar models. Keg-style nitro cold brew coffee makers are usually priced higher than the dispenser ones due to their extra parts and higher capacity, but this one costs a little less than average. The lower price doesn’t affect the coffee maker’s quality or functionality, though. It’s made out of food-grade stainless steel that is anti-bacterial and anti-rust. The hose is food grade as well, and two extras come included with your purchase. A complimentary travel cap comes included as well.
Cons: While you do receive some handy bonus pieces of equipment with this nitro cold brew coffee maker, unfortunately, the necessary nitrogen cartridges aren’t one of them. This is fairly common among these types of coffee makers, but even so, you will have to find and purchase your own separately. You’ll have to ensure that these cartridges are 8 grams and non-threaded or they won’t fit properly. Even with the anti-bacterial stainless steel make, be sure to clean this coffee maker regularly, and since it’s not listed as dishwasher safe, you’ll want to hand wash it to be safe.
Bottom Line: If you want to spend a little less on a nitro cold brew coffee maker without sacrificing quality, this is the model for you. Not only are the base materials high-quality and long-lasting thanks to the stainless steel’s anti-rust properties, but you get a better bang for your buck thanks to the spare parts and travel cap that come included. However, if you plan to use your coffee maker more than once a week, it may not be the best choice for you; it should be cleaned after every use, and it’s a bit of a pain to wash by hand.
GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
A compact yet high-end nitro cold brew coffee maker that will keep your coffee fresh for longer.
Pros: This nitro cold brew coffee maker is considered a premium model for good reason. The entire system is made of durable stainless steel, which is anti-bacterial and anti-rust. Paired with the double walls and vacuum insulation, your coffee will stay cold for much longer compared to other models. It’s slightly more compact, with a less bulky tap and handles that make it easier to use and serve than most while taking up less countertop space. The most notable feature of this nitro cold brew coffee maker is that it’s capable of making its own cold brew before infusing it with nitrogen. You can brew your coffee and infuse it all in the same container. To top it all off, it comes with a small window marked with water levels to keep track of how much coffee is left and a small mat to protect your countertops from spills.
Cons: As is common with premium items, this nitro cold brew coffee maker does have a higher price tag than most. These coffee makers are already among the more expensive types out there, and this model costs more than average. Despite the carrying handle meant to increase its portability, the heavy body makes it harder to lift and carry, especially when full. And its maximum capacity is smaller than many comparable models. If you like to make a couple of weeks’ supply of cold brew at once, you might want to opt for a larger model.
Bottom Line: There’s a lot to love about this high-end nitro cold brew coffee maker. It’s highly functional, extremely well insulated, and will take up less countertop space than most keg-style models. It’s also tough, durable, easy to use, and is the rare nitro cold brew coffee maker that is capable of making its own cold brew. Even though the price tag is higher upfront than most models, these features help to counterbalance the higher cost and smaller capacity.
Hatfields London NitroPress Nitro Cold Brew Maker And Dispenser
A compact, dispenser-style nitro cold brew coffee maker that's easy to carry and bring on the go.
Pros: If you want to be able to take your nitro cold brew coffee maker on the go, this is a model for you. The dispenser-style ensures that it’s much more compact and lightweight than its keg-style counterparts, making it easier to pack and carry. This also ensures that when you shake the coffee maker in order to infuse the nitrogen, it will put less strain on your hands and wrists. It’s dishwasher safe, too. You can also use it to infuse milk to beer to tea to cocktails and beyond. It’s compatible with nitrogen, N2, and CO2 cartridges alike, allowing you to create carbonated drinks as well.
Cons: While its portability is nice, if you’re a frequent cold brew drinker or like to make big batches, this model probably isn’t going to be big enough for your needs. It’s on the expensive side.
Bottom Line: While keg-style nitro cold brew coffee makers are considered the industry standard, there’s plenty to love about a versatile dispenser model like this one. It’s a great choice for picnics or someone who travels or camps a lot thanks to its overall portability. The dispenser style is easy to use, making it a good choice for beginners as well. Its smaller capacity means it’s not a great option for frequent or daily nitro cold brew drinkers.
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker by NutriChef
An upgraded version of a classic keg-style nitro cold brew coffee maker that takes up less countertop and refrigerator space than most similar models.
Pros: Countertop keg-style nitro cold brew coffee makers are known for their bulkiness. This model, however, defies that expectation. Though still not as small as a dispenser-style coffee maker, it’s more compact than most keg nitro cold brew coffee makers. Yet this reduced size does not, for once, translate to a smaller capacity. It has a maximum capacity of 64 ounces, the equivalent of eight standard-sized cups of nitro cold brew. It’s easy to put together, and the updated faucet helps to ensure that you receive a creamy and frothy cup with each pour.
Cons: You have wash it by hand after each use, which will be a more time-consuming and labor-intensive task. It’s not compatible with hot liquids or highly acidic beverages, so you’ll need to be careful about the acidity of the cold brew you make or buy and can’t use it to serve regular hot coffee, hot cocoa, and other similar drinks. This model also isn’t a great choice for portability or travel since it is quite heavy despite its smaller size.
Bottom Line: If you prefer a keg-style nitro cold brew coffee maker but have limited countertop space to store it or not much room to spare in your fridge, this model offers a solution. It offers a respectable capacity in a smaller keg; you’ll still be able to brew a week’s worth (or more, depending on your habits) of nitro cold brew in one sitting without sacrificing as much space.
Can you use nitro cold brew coffee makers for anything else?
In some cases, yes. Not all nitro cold brew coffee makers are dual-purpose, but others can be. Some of the keg-style models can hold and dispense beers as well as cold brew, or aerate wine. Thanks to the cartridge, you may even be able to infuse other types of drinks, like tea, milk, or even cocktails. If the nitro cold brew coffee maker is compatible with CO2 cartridges, it can make fizzy or carbonated water or other drinks. Just make sure that the product listing explicitly says that the coffee maker is capable of one or more of these tasks.
What type of coffee grounds should you use to make your nitro cold brew?
As with regular cold brew, coarse coffee grounds are the best choice for nitro cold brew. Coarser grounds are easier to filter out during the brewing process, which decreases your chances of finding loose debris in your nitro cold brew. This also means less bitter coffee overall. Thus, coarse coffee grounds are much more likely to create an overall superior, better-tasting cup of nitro cold brew, regardless of the brand, flavor, caffeine level, or how dark or light the roast might be.
You can buy pre-ground coffee, of course, but for the best-tasting nitro cold brew possible, it’s recommended you buy fresh coffee beans and grind them yourself just before making your nitro cold brew.
If you opt to buy pre-made cold brew concentrate instead of making the cold brew yourself, look for stronger concentrate. You can dilute it as needed, which is much easier than trying to strengthen a weak cold brew concentrate.
Beginner and experienced coffee drinkers alike will love having access to their own nitro cold brew coffee maker at home. They’re an excellent way to get a bit of sweetness and creaminess into your coffee without needing to add sugar, artificial sweetener, or other extra ingredients that raise your coffee’s calorie levels. Even if you’re new to the world of nitro cold brewing, you can get the hang of one of these new appliances in no time and soon be making nitro cold brew like a pro.