If the next time you pop into a Starbucks you see a lip-ringed 14-year-old downing what looks like a beer in a comfy chair, don't rush to the authorities.
Chances are it's not a brew, but the coffee chain's newest beverage—nitro cold brew. Or, cold brew that's high on nitrogen.
— Zstuffs (@zstuffs) July 26, 2016
The concept originated in 2013, when Stumptown Coffee Roasters food scientist Nate Armbrust attempted to invent a more flavorful cold brew coffee by infusing it with nitrogen.
It worked, creating a bubbly concoction complete with a foamy head and light, crispy taste. The process also barely sweetens the beverage, which is served from a tap and seriously looks like a nice rich stout. The drink has been growing in popularity ever since, and Starbucks has started their foray into the nitro cold brew game.
Starbucks with the nitro cold brew. For recovering Guinness drinkers. Pretty good! pic.twitter.com/KR75DMMre8
— Birdie 18 (@Birdie18th) August 2, 2016
It's also densely packed with caffeine. So much so, that the chain won't serve it to you in a "Venti"—that's a large, for those unwilling to conform to Starbucks speak. A 20-ounce cup of nitro cold brew would exceed the daily recommended intake of about 400 grams of caffeine per day.
So far the beverage is available in only seven cities—Seattle, Portland, New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles—and will be sold in 500 locations by the end of the summer.
“For over 40 years we have perfected the craft of roasting and brewing the finest hot coffee and while we have always offered our customers new options in cold coffee, nothing will compare to the pace of flavor, craft and brewing innovation we will see in the next few years," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in a press release. “The opportunity to create an entirely new cold coffee experience is limitless and our customers are already telling us that they want to meet us on this journey as cold coffee is now becoming a go-to drink.”