In the ever-changing world of beverages, novel creations often attract much attention. Lately there has been a wave of interest around a stimulating brew called nitro tea. But what is nitro tea? You ask, and why is it gaining such traction? Let’s delve into the exciting universe of nitrogen infused beverages to discover what’s going on.
What is Nitro Tea?
Those of you who foolishly still believe that tea is hot, soothing beverage – I have the pleasure today of shattering your tea related delusions and welcoming you to a new world.
Nitro Tea is a new beverage that infuses tea with nitrogen gas, a process that revolutionizes the standard tea experience. It creates a frothy texture, a fuller body, and enhances the natural flavors. Nitro tea is served cold and so is a refreshing new take on the idea of iced tea.
The process of infusing tea with nitrogen is as so. The tea is steeped as usual and then cooled. The cooled tea is transferred to a keg or a specialized canister designed for nitrogen infusion and is then infused with nitrogen gas under high pressure. This process ensures that the nitrogen is dissolved into the tea. It is quite similar to carbonation really, but the nitrogen bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide bubbles and this creates a completely different mouth-feel and visual appeal in the final product.
When poured, it’s dispensed through a pressurized valve that helps to create a distinctive, frothy head, similar to the foam on a well-poured pint of Guinness.
Origin of Nitro Tea
Nitro tea appears to be wholly inspired by nitro coffee, which came into existence around 2013 and took the coffee world by storm with its distinct creamy texture and natural sweetness. Observing the popularity of nitro coffee, innovators in the beverage industry began experimenting using the nitrogen infusion technique with tea, leading to the birth of nitro tea.
Taste and Texture
So, why on earth would we do this to our beloved tea?
The taste of this beverage is quite different from standard tea and even from its closest relative, iced tea. Nitrogen bubbles alter the tea’s flavor profile, offering a smoother and often richer taste. It achieves this by magnifying the tea’s more subtle notes and reducing its inherent bitterness. This results in an overall smoother drink.
For instance, in a nitro green tea, the nitrogen bubbles can help to curb the grassy or bitter tastes that can sometimes accompany green tea, allowing the tea’s natural sweetness and vegetal notes to shine through. The result is a well-balanced, flavorful tea that requires no additional sweeteners, making it a healthier beverage option. A similar effect occurs with other teas too, offering a new and exciting way to experience and appreciate the natural flavors of different tea varieties.
Arguably, the most distinctive feature of nitro tea is its texture. The process of adding of nitrogen into the tea creates thousands of tiny bubbles, giving the beverage a creamy texture that is not seen in traditional teas. The frothy, beer-like head that is formed when it is poured adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the drink.
The velvety texture of nitro tea is reminiscent of a latte or a milk-based tea, even though no milk or cream is used in the preparation. This tea a thicker mouth-feel compared to regular iced tea.
Furthermore, the cascade of nitrogen bubbles released when the tea is poured also creates a sensory experience. As you take a sip, many tiny bubbles burst, creating a tactile sensation on your tongue, adding an extra layer of complexity to the nitro tea experience.
I know what you’re thinking. “This is madness. They’re messing with the natural order of things.” And while you’re not entirely wrong, I think there is no harm in having other options out there and besides, it seems many people are genuinely enjoying this bubbly drink.
Nitro tea typically contains less sugar and fewer calories than your average sweetened iced tea. Yep, that’s right, less sugar. Interesting, isn’t it? We’ve somehow found out how to make tea taste sweeter without dumping a ton of sugar into it.
Like traditional teas, nitro teas carry all the health benefits associated with the tea plant. Tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. these have been associated with many health benefits such as improving heart health, reducing the risk of cancers, weight management, and boosting the immune system.
Yet, before we start celebrating the dawn of a new era of healthy and flavorsome beverages, let’s not let ourselves get carries away. The infusion process might cause the tea to lose some of its beneficial antioxidants. So, by choosing nitro tea over its less processed cousin, you might be losing out on some of these health benefits.
Of course, the amount of antioxidants lost would depend on various factors such as the type of tea, the temperature, and the duration of nitrogen infusion. So, it might be a case of not all nitro teas being created equal. Some may retain more of their antioxidants than others.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the caffeine content in nitro tea can be a fair amount higher than in regular tea due to the brewing process. This might be considered a good thing to some – those caffeine junkies out there. But for those who are sensitive to caffeine, or those who are trying to limit their intake, this might be a drawback.
Rise in Popularity
nitro tea has made quite a splash. It started gaining traction around 2016 and has been rapidly gaining ground ever since.
It’s part of a global trend towards healthier living. Today’s health-conscious consumers are looking for something that is not only tasty but also beneficial to one’s health. Since nitro tea retains some of the antioxidant properties of traditional tea and does not require quite as many added sugars as carbonated beverages, it has become a great option for many people.
On top of that, the unique creamy texture and frothy top of nitro tea is a novel experience that you cannot get with other forms of tea. This sensory experience has turned many former soda drinkers into nitro tea fans. The fascinating spectacle of nitro tea being dispensed, with it’s effervescence and it’s frothy head, adds a whole new layer of enjoyment to the beverage experience that has not doubt contributed to its booming popularity.
With increasing demand comes increased availability and nitro tea is no exception. Initially, nitro tea could only be found in specialty craft tea shops in big cities. However, due to its rapidly increasing popularity, it has been expanded far beyond.
These days, it can be found in mainstream coffee shops, providing a fantastic option for those looking for something new. It has also been appearing in many cafes and restaurants that cater to clientele seeking healthier options.
Nitro tea has made it’s way into retail stores in the form of a canned beverage. This has all made it accessible to a much broader audience who all can now enjoy this unique drink at their leisure.
Home Brewing Nitro Tea
For the DIY enthusiasts, the opportunity to brew at home is now much more accessible. Many companies offer home brewing kits for nitro beverages. These kits usually include a keg, pressurised cartridges and instructions on how to infuse your favorite tea with nitrogen. This increased availability of affordable equipment for nitrogen infusion has enabled people to create and enjoy their own tea at home.
How to Enjoy Nitro Tea
Nitro tea is served cold, straight from the nozzle. It doesn’t need much added sugar due to the sweetness enhancing nature of the nitrogen. Some people like to experiment with nitro tea by adding fruit slices or herbs to create a more complex flavor profile. It’s a great form of tea for hot days when you need an chilled beverage to cool you down.
Nitro tea is a new take on the time-honoured tradition of drinking tea. Its silky texture combined with it’s interesting flavor profile creates a novel experience that has quickly gained popularity among tea lovers and soda drinkers alike. It’s an experience and a delightful play on the senses with each sip. If you’re a seasoned tea drinker or just a person looking for a healthier alternative to soda beverages, nitro tea is worth exploring.
One sip and you’ll understand why this exciting beverage is causing such a fuss. So the next time you’re at a cafe, if you see nitro tea on a menu, don’t hesitate to try it, you may just find your new favorite drink.