Cold-brew coffee maker brews, stores and pours – and looks cool while doing it
Nitro-infusion cold-brew is a big thing among coffee aficionados, but most of us need to go to a specialist coffee shop to get our fix, and it's not what you'd call cheap. So GrowlerWerks – hot on the heals of its successful launch of the uKeg pressurized beer-growler – has stepped in with another Kickstarter campaign, this time bringing nitro cold-brewing (and storing, and pouring) into the home with the uKeg Nitro.
Claimed to be the first fully-integrated at-home nitro cold-brew coffee-maker and dispenser, the uKeg Nitro has certainly pulled in a lot of interest. The Nitro is based to a large extent on the uKeg beer-growler, and not only brews the coffee (12 to 24 hours with the biodegradable brew-bags) but keeps it fresh for ups to two weeks, thanks to its pressurization system, and cold for a whole day.
The uKeg Nitro forces nitrous oxide into cold-brew coffee as it's being brewed and while it's stored. During the pour stage, the nitro-tap turbulates (GrowlerWerks' term) the cold-brew as it dispenses. If you've ever seen a pint of Guinness poured into a pint-glass, you'll be familiar with the almost mesmerizing cascade as the creamy texture settles in the glass. The beer-analogy doesn't end there though. While cold-brew coffee has been around for a while, the primary difference between cold-brew and nitro-infused cold-brew is the silky-smooth texture and foamy, beer-like head of the latter. In fact, it's often poured into a beer glass.
A standard 12 cup batch of cold-brew uses roughly two cups of ground coffee which is placed into the supplied brew-bags and brewed under pressure (using a single N2O cartridge) for 12-24 hours. Once this is complete, the bag is removed, and the cold-brew diluted to your taste and the unit re-pressurized to serve or store.
As for supplies, the company says N2O cartridges for the uKeg Nitro will be available for purchase in packages of five from its website, but can also be found at restaurant supply stores. Brew bags will come free if you order the cartridges from GrowlerWerks.
Now GrowlerWerks couldn't be any more of a classic Portland Oregon business if it tried. From funky beer-growlers to just as funky coffee brewers, it's almost a cliche, but the young company seems to know what it's doing. Having launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 for its beer-growler (raising around US$1.5 million from 10,000-plus pledges) GrowlerWerks is confident – both from a marketing and engineering perspective – that it's on the right track with the uKeg Nitro.
This time around the business has partnered with coffee legends like Caffè Umbria and the famous Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which no doubt lends weight to the notion that this is a serious coffee-lover's piece of kit. And at an expected $199 retail, one would hope so. The marketing – coupled with GrowlerWerks' reputation from its last Kickstarter campaign – seems to have worked, because the Nitro was fully funded in the first 90 minutes of the campaign launch.
Pledges begin at $159 ($40 off retail) and include the uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker, two Nitro gas cartridges, four brew-bags, a coffee-funnel and a drip-mat. If all goes to plan, shipping to early backers is estimated to begin in October, and at present, the uKeg Nitro is available in the US only.
A video demonstrating the uKeg Nitro can been seen below.