There's a new brew in town. Starbucks is introducing a coffee concoction infused with nitrogen gas in over 500 locations by the end of summer.
Starbucks' new Nitro Cold Brew will give patrons a sweeter and creamier cup of java. Apart from the new nitro coffee coming only in a cold concoction, there will be no decaf version either.
But nitro coffee isn't Starbucks' brainchild. In fact, nitrogen gas-infused coffee drink has been around since 2011 when the trend started.
In 2013, Portland-based chain Stumptown Coffee Roasters joined the trend and installed nitrogen gas taps in several branches. In 2015, the company started to can its nitrogen gas-infused coffee.
Also in 2015, the Minnesota-based java company Caribou Coffee offered nitro coffee. The La Colombe coffee company on the East Coast followed suit and started serving nitro coffee as a latte or as plain black coffee.
Starbucks may seem late in joining the nitro coffee craze but its massive roll out in July is an example of how big companies make a "luxury" product available to the mass base of consumers. Ironically, Starbucks has also taken several basic products and transformed them into more upscale ones.
"Nitro coffee has been under development at Starbucks for about a year. Cold brew was a natural choice given the blend of beans and quality of roast," said Starbucks coffee education specialist Mackenzie Karr.
Amazingly, cold nitro coffee looks similar to a draught beer. Both beverages are dark and come with foam on top.
Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew starts with a chilled keg of the company's signature Cold Brew coffee. The nitrogen infusion unlocks the coffee's natural sweetness.
This super-smooth infusion then "cascades from the tap with a velvety texture you can see and taste," added Starbucks' Anthony Carroll.
While the Nitro Cold Brew feels similar to an iced coffee, it will be much creamier and frothier. What's interesting is that patrons will feel like the beverage already contains milk and sugar but in reality, it's sugar and dairy free.
Currently, the Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew is served at selected branches in Seattle, where many are likely to head off and have a taste of this new java experience.