Ukeg Nitro: Share your Tips and Tricks

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
zapa

#1: Post by zapa » Oct 06, 2019, 10:56 am

Hey Everyone,

I recently received my kickstarter backed Ukeg Nitro from Growlerwerks! Before this I have not had any experience making nitro, but I have made coffee pretty much every other way possible. I have to say I am pretty impressed by the build quality and easy of use. It has a nice clean design that is easy to use. I couldn't find a discussion about the topic so I thought I would start one so we can all share tips and tricks that we have picked up while using the set up.

Here are some of the things I have learned so far (will update as I get more experience)
1st- Make sure the coffee is as cold as you can get it before going to infuse. The colder it is the more dissolved N2O that you can have dissolved into the coffee.
2nd- I have tried the coffee three different days now on allowing for a longer infusion time with each day. The 2nd and 3rd days tasted noticeably smoother and with less acidity that can make cold brew very unpleasing.
3rd I like to brew the coffee outside of the brewer itself. Allows you to have nitro on tap and have a reload waiting instead of having to wait for the coffee to brew then infuse with nitrogen.

Questions I have:
1.What ratios do you make your cold brew at for nitro. I have just make my standard cold brew and used that. Is there anything specific you all do different for nitro?
2. The cartridges that are sent out with the brewer are 16g N2O. Does anyone know of any alternative options or the pros and cons of using a N2 instead of N2O?
3. What pressure do you all find pours the best?
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primacoffee
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#2: Post by primacoffee » Oct 08, 2019, 12:25 pm

I haven't used this product, but to address your questions:

1. Most cold brew recipes should work fine, keeping in mind that stronger (higher TDS) products create and hold more foam but nitro cold brew is also typically drunk straight by the glass. You may want to tweak your recipe to find a balance point between good foam and too much caffeine.

2. N2O seems like a strange choice of gas in this context. N2 is the standard. It is flavorless, it doesn't react with coffee, it is abundant and cheap. N2O has a sweet taste that will be imparted to the beverage, and while it's quite commonly available for cream whippers it's not usually used for kegs. It also generally creates a coarser foam/larger bubbles than N2. My preference would be to use N2, but I don't know if there are compatible cartridges for your device. N2 is sold in 2 gram chargers for whipping siphons, as well as some larger threaded cylinders for wine preservation systems.

3. I've run between 20-50 psi for nitro coffees using N2 and kegs. For a while we were doing much more crash-chilled batch brew rather than cold brew, and having a lower TDS meant we had to bump the pressure up more and agitate the kegs for infusion. Higher TDS often meant lower psi.
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zapa

#3: Post by zapa » Oct 09, 2019, 6:29 pm

Hey thanks for the info. There is no such thing as too much caffeine in my book so I'll try up-dosing my cold brew to see what that does texture wise. I had thought that N2 was the normal gas of choice for nitro cold brew and agree that you can for sure taste an interesting sweetness that is the N2O gas. The bubbles are one the larger side of what I have had a various local coffee shops. I'll have to look into finding a 16g N2 replacement cartridges to see how it works with the Ukeg Nitro system.

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yakster
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#4: Post by yakster » Oct 09, 2019, 8:32 pm

I'd be interested in finding out if it's possible to swap out the tap from the uKeg with the tap from the Nitro uKeg to be able to do cold brew. I inquired before the Kickstarter shipped but didn't get a definitive answer.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

nrh

#5: Post by nrh » Oct 10, 2019, 5:47 am

I've made two batches so far with the uKeg Nitro. I've done the recommended 120 g. of coffee both times using the included mesh bags (I'm hoping they make a stainless steel mesh basket at some point). I've used 48 oz. of water for 20-24 hours, then removed the coffee bags. I've then added more water to the fill line inside the uKeg. Myself and seven of my coworkers have tried the nitro cold brew, and everyone said they liked it. Serving at the 15 PSI mark on the gauge seems like a good starting point to my taste. I'm also curious about N2 vs N2O, but I haven't found anything so far in 16 g. cartridges.
Nick H.

false1001

#6: Post by false1001 » Oct 14, 2019, 12:22 am

yakster wrote:I'd be interested in finding out if it's possible to swap out the tap from the uKeg with the tap from the Nitro uKeg to be able to do cold brew. I inquired before the Kickstarter shipped but didn't get a definitive answer.
Id be interested in this as well. 50 oz is far too small for my use case. Just judging from the pictures the gauge and regulator look slightly different, I wonder if that's to handle the extra pressure of n2.

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yakster
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#7: Post by yakster » Oct 14, 2019, 10:24 pm

I got this reply from GrowlerWerks:
The tap assembly could be interchanged between the uKeg and Nitro, however, the functionality would not be the same. The uKeg Nitro is specifically designed for cold brew and there are various design components that would not be suitable for coffee. For this reason, that option for purchase is not currently available.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

false1001

#8: Post by false1001 » Oct 15, 2019, 3:18 pm

yakster wrote:I got this reply from GrowlerWerks:
Hmmm... I don't buy that if you're making the cold brew outside of the vessel. Sounds to me like they enjoy the high profit margins and price discrimination of the cold brew keg and don't want to cannibalize that market.

KingChiron

#9: Post by KingChiron » Yesterday, 11:15 pm

Hey everyone, new member here.

I was wondering if I was doing something different. The first time I used the Nitro setup, I left it charged at INFUSE overnight. When I woke up giddy to try my first cup of nitro, my results were quite different than what I expected. The taste is great, and I get a lot of foam head on top of the cold brew. However, the microbubble cascade effect was non-existant.

Is this because of the N2O cartridges supplied instead of using N2?
Or should I shake the thing before each pour?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you all!