To understand where the world of nitro drinks might be heading let’s quickly get up to speed with a brief history of the unique 'surge and settle' beverage.
Did you know - the world’s first and most famous Nitro drink was invented back in the 50’s? That’s right, adding nitrogen to beverages is not just a new trend or gimmick, it’s a method that has be used and enjoyed for decades. Click here if you’d like to learn more about Nitro.
It’s tough being the new kid on the block, especially when you’re offering something unique people haven’t tried before – like our cold-brew nitro iced tea! While you can’t place East Forged drinks neatly into one category, we haven’t necessarily ‘re-invented the wheel’ but simply took inspiration from some of the world’s oldest and most popular beverages!
The Great Guinness Accident…
Guinness is a dark coloured beer (or stout) that originated in Ireland back in the 1700’s. The signature dark colour is created by roasting malted barley, similar to how coffee beans are roasted. It’s believed the original recipe was discovered by chance, when a batch was accidentally burned and sold to local dock workers rather than being thrown out.
In the 1950’s the Guinness family hired a mathematician named Michael Ash to help refine the beverage. He began experimenting with nitrogen and discovered that adding nitrogen created the creamy texture, smoother flavour and of course the ‘surge and settle’ effect that Guinness is now famous for.
Because nitrogen dissolves quickly in liquid, pubs and restaurants use a special nitro stout pouring system or kegerator to dispense fresh Guinness properly, by pushing the gas through the tap along with the beer. We have simulated this system at East Forged when canning our iced tea drinks, but have the additional benefit of being convenient and ready to be enjoyed anywhere. To activate the nitro it just needs a quick shake of the can!
The Rise of Cold-Brew Nitro Coffee
The first cold-brew coffee is thought to have originated in Japan as early as the 1600’s – although some claim it was introduced by the Dutch. Also known as ‘Kyoto’ coffee, the beans are left to steep in cold water for as long as 12-15 hours – just like East Forged tea drinks, creating a richer flavour that is un-affected by heat.
Although the process is long, the convenience of being able to produce large amounts of coffee concentrate is what attracts barista’s and coffee lovers and helped to spread the beverage around the world. Once brewed, the concentrate can be stored and enjoyed cold or even reheated at a later point.
The addition of nitrogen to cold brew coffee, however, didn’t happen for many centuries. It’s thought to have been invented as recently as the early-2010’s – to help soften the sharp and bitter coffee flavours.
Just like a Guinness, nitro cold-brew coffee historically needed to be poured through a kegerator to achieve the velvety consistency, smooth flavour and foamy head. Despite the lengthy brewing process and specialist pouring machines, offering both cold-brew and nitro cold-brew coffee, alongside more traditional hot options, has become more common and even the norm. After all coffee has become an art form in our society.
The Future is Cold-Brew Nitro Tea
Like coffee, the beginnings of cold-brew tea can be traced back to Japanese roots, but the Western world did not embrace this method of brewing and sipping their tea in quite the same way. Iced tea on the other hand, grew quickly in popularity since ice was added to hot tea in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St Louis - to help combat the hot Southern weather.
Also known as ‘sweet tea’ – iced tea is traditionally made by pouring hot water over tea leaves first, before allowing it cool down and then adding ice, lots of sugar or honey and a citrus garnish. Many bottled versions found in supermarkets and convenience stores also contain lots of sugar so make sure you check the labels.
However, fast forward to 2020 and we finally arrive at the creation and launch of the East Forged beverages – a non-alcoholic, low sugar and calorie drink, that combines the 12-hour cold brewing method and renowned nitrogen pour, to produce a distinctive, refreshing and healthy cold tea.
While East Forged beverages do share the same rich, silky texture and creamy foam head as an iconic Guinness Stout – tea remains the hero ingredient, and it’s the natural sweetness of exotic fruits like Yuzu, Calamansi and Red Dragonfruit (Pitaya) that have allowed us to produce a more delicate and refined fruity or floral flavour.
So as you can see, we can’t take all the credit for discovering cold-brew nitro goodness, but we are delighted and excited to be part of the continuing evolution and believe that each variation has unique benefits and features that will appeal to a range of different people, lifestyles and tastes.
If you curious to taste the future of tea grab some for yourself here!
Mia Ferreira is a Professional Writer, PR and Social Media Consultant and a dedicated Iyengar Yoga teacher based in Melbourne. She is currently enrolled in the prestigious Professional Writing & Editing course at RMIT - with the dream of becoming a published author on day. Mia is also a self-confessed tea addict!