New York’s brutal, humid summer is trouble for coffee lovers with weak stomachs, like me. Every work day starts the same: wake up, hurry through my morning routine, try to rush out the door before I start to sweat through my shirt. Hit up my coffee shop, order my cold brew to go. (If I’m running late, it’s an iced coffee at my bodega.) Head for the train, sip on my coffee, and wait for the acid to start ripping through my insides. Despite my love of all the iced coffees and cold brews one can find throughout the city, they all have the same effect on me: a strong punch to the stomach (especially an empty one).
Nevertheless, I struggle through the pain if only for the caffeine rush and the cool, sweet relief of ice in an underground subway station sauna. But I may have found my ultimate cold brew, made by the good people at Brooklyn Roasting Company–that is, when I find myself across the river in Manhattan.
Seeing as your average cold brew is so 2014, nitrogen cold brew is the “it” coffee drink of the summer. (Portland’s coffee darling Stumptown is so on its cold brew game, in fact, that it released its own nitrogen cold brew in a can this summer.) Nitro taps are popping up left and right in coffee shops across the city, confusing beer drinkers but tantalizing true cold brew lovers. So what is it? At Brooklyn Roasting, it’s a Sumatran cold brew treated to the nitrogen gas tank, giving it that soft, bubbly mouthfeel and creamy texture–not totally unlike a pull of Guinness at the bar. The nitrogen pushes the cold brew through the taps in a similar fashion to a draught beer, which explains the cascading, foamy head to the coffee.
The only problem for Brooklynites in dire need of a nitro cold brew: it’s not sold just yet in the Brooklyn outposts. Brooklyn Roasting says it’ll soon be bringing the nitro taps to its three cafes in the next few months, but so far, nitro cold brew is only available in its new Manhattan cafe. So one hot, muggy evening, I trekked my way through the land of Home Depot, Olive Garden, and sweaty tourists to Brooklyn Roasting on 23rd Street. I rolled up and ordered my nitro cold brew–take note, the nitro gas tanks tend to run low towards the end of the day, my barista warned me–and watched her pull the tap. and sipped slowly. Its frothy head really did make it look like I had sneaked a pour of Guinness into my plastic coffee cup. In fact, it’s slightly reminiscent of one of my favorite hometown beers, Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro–same creaminess, same icy chocolate notes. And boy, the nitrogen really works its magic. It’s extra smooth and takes some of the acidic edge off my regular cold brew–no need for milk. I took a sip, and relaxed. This is the kind of cold brew I could get used to.
We know, we know–you’re not exactly thrilled with the idea of crossing into the city for a cold brew. If you’re looking for more nitro cold brew on tap in the borough, we hear Hungry Ghost, Putnam’s Pub and Cooker, The West, and The Camlin are your best bets. Summer 2015 = summer of nitro cold brew.
Brooklyn Roasting, 50 West 23rd Street; Flatiron, Manhattan