Author Topic: Cold-brew coffee on tap?  (Read 2682 times)

Offline erockrph

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Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« on: June 14, 2016, 02:27:55 PM »
Has anyone here ever kegged iced coffee? With the summer just about here, I'm trying to keep my iced coffee expenditures down. I've been brewing my own cold-brew to try to bypass the drive-thru in the morning, but if I don't get a chance to make the next day's batch as soon as I get home from work it isn't ready for the next morning.

I was thinking of making a gallon or two at a time and keeping it in a keg so I always have coffee available. My biggest concern is that I only have CO2 gas to push it, and I don't want coffee soda. Can I just unhook the gas and open the PRV until it stops hissing, or will that still leave enough CO2 in the headspace to dissolve in the coffee a bit?
Eric B.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 02:47:40 PM »
I think you will be ok as long as the pressure is equalized. Make sure your keg seals well at low pressures and use the bar minimum amount of gas so you don't have to waste.

Maybe a CO2 breather that people use in faux cask setups would work well at giving enough to push, but not enough to carbonate. Would need a very short line.

I keep half gallon pitchers in the fridge that get refilled every other day.

I am more concerned with having caffeine on tap than alcohol. I think I'd be jacked all day.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 02:57:42 PM »
Yeah, if you have a keg that seals really well I'd use the bare minimum to pour, and vent the keg every day. Of course Starbucks has gone Guinness with their iced coffee and is serving it on nitro now.  :)
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Offline Stevie

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Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 03:19:48 PM »
Yeah, if you have a keg that seals really well I'd use the bare minimum to pour, and vent the keg every day. Of course Starbucks has gone Guinness with their iced coffee and is serving it on nitro now.  :)

That's been around on the West Coast for a while. Not sure where it started, but I'd assume Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco.

Edit - i gave it a search and it looks like it started in Austin. Basically the Texas equivalent of the three above cities. It's available in cans out here as well.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 03:39:57 PM by Stevie »

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 04:00:47 PM »
Yeah, if you have a keg that seals really well I'd use the bare minimum to pour, and vent the keg every day. Of course Starbucks has gone Guinness with their iced coffee and is serving it on nitro now.  :)

That's been around on the West Coast for a while. Not sure where it started, but I'd assume Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco.

Edit - i gave it a search and it looks like it started in Austin. Basically the Texas equivalent of the three above cities. It's available in cans out here as well.
Cool, I had seen that around town but didn't realize it started out here in Austin. Yeah, The creamy mouthfeel from nitro really works well with cold brewed coffee. I've noticed people who tend to "doctor" their coffee with a lot of cream and sugar use way less (or none at all) when it's served on nitro.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 05:21:54 PM »
Yeah, if you have a keg that seals really well I'd use the bare minimum to pour, and vent the keg every day. Of course Starbucks has gone Guinness with their iced coffee and is serving it on nitro now.  :)

That's been around on the West Coast for a while. Not sure where it started, but I'd assume Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco.

Edit - i gave it a search and it looks like it started in Austin. Basically the Texas equivalent of the three above cities. It's available in cans out here as well.
Cool, I had seen that around town but didn't realize it started out here in Austin. Yeah, The creamy mouthfeel from nitro really works well with cold brewed coffee. I've noticed people who tend to "doctor" their coffee with a lot of cream and sugar use way less (or none at all) when it's served on nitro.
I haven't tried nitro coffee, but it doesn't sound like my cup of tea joe. I like my coffee black, especially iced coffee. It's just more refreshing that way, IMO.

I've seen recommendations to use beer gas mix for wine draft systems, but I think that is because there is still residual CO2 in the wine so a small pressure of CO2 is appropriate. Maybe something like pure argon would be a better choice for coffee.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 06:04:41 PM »
I recently started kegging still mead. I give it a few psi until it comes out a picnic tap and will pour quite a bit, especially if you can rig it up so the tap is below the keg. I have just gotten a tiny bit of co2 dissolved in the mead.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 06:32:48 PM »
Faucet below the level is a good idea, would still need a small amount of gas to avoid a vacuum. Physics!

Offline toby

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 01:38:49 PM »
I haven't tried nitro coffee, but it doesn't sound like my cup of tea joe. I like my coffee black, especially iced coffee. It's just more refreshing that way, IMO.

Actually, I would expect a full nitro setup for coffee to carbonate it less.  Nitrogen doesn't dissolve into solution as well as CO2 or beer gas.  Also, unless you pour through a stout tap with a restrictor, you're not going to get the 'nitro' effect.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 02:12:28 PM »
You don't want to use CO2 with coffee, which is why you see nitro systems pushing coffee. CO2 will dissolve into the coffee and create harsh, bitter flavors. We like CO2 in beer in part because it lightens the beer and scrubs the beer off the tongue. In coffee it does the same thing. It results in a coffee that is thin and cuts all the oils in the coffee that contribute to desirable flavors, leaving behind more of the roast compounds and tannins. The end result in an unpleasantly harsh beverage. Nitro doesn't dissolve very well into coffee and leaves the flavor intact.

Why not just make a larger amount of cold brew and keep it in the fridge for a few days?
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2016, 07:16:26 PM »
You don't want to use CO2 with coffee, which is why you see nitro systems pushing coffee. CO2 will dissolve into the coffee and create harsh, bitter flavors. We like CO2 in beer in part because it lightens the beer and scrubs the beer off the tongue. In coffee it does the same thing. It results in a coffee that is thin and cuts all the oils in the coffee that contribute to desirable flavors, leaving behind more of the roast compounds and tannins. The end result in an unpleasantly harsh beverage. Nitro doesn't dissolve very well into coffee and leaves the flavor intact.

Why not just make a larger amount of cold brew and keep it in the fridge for a few days?
Do you think I'll get much CO2 dissolving if I bleed off the headspace?

And I don't have space in my food fridge for anything larger than my single-serve french press. If I'm going to make it in bulk and store it in my keezer, then I might as well keep it in a keg. Plus, the cool factor of having coffee on tap can't be denied. If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing, right?  ;D
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Offline toby

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2016, 08:27:55 PM »
Plus, the cool factor of having coffee on tap can't be denied. If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing, right?  ;D

Sounds like a full nitro system may be in your future.  ;)

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cold-brew coffee on tap?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2016, 09:05:03 PM »
Plus, the cool factor of having coffee on tap can't be denied. If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing, right?  ;D

Sounds like a full nitro system may be in your future.  ;)


Could actually be multipurposed for stouts, too.   :)
Jon H.