Top Tips for Specifying Coffee On Tap
Just last year, the National Coffee Association (NCA) reported an all-time high in coffee consumption for Americans. In their Spring 2022 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report, the NCA notes that 66 percent of Americans tend to drink coffee every day.
According to the New York Times, in the summer of 2022, Starbucks reported that cold drinks made up about 75 percent of their sales, indicating the massive shift to iced/cold beverages in the coffee world. With such high consumption rates and a clear trend toward a refreshing drink, it is no surprise that the industry has begun to tap into new ways to enjoy coffee.
What is Coffee on Tap?
Simply put, coffee on tap is a way of serving cold coffee drinks through a draft system using nitrogen. When it comes to coffee on tap, there are two options: cold brew and nitro cold brew.
Cold brew coffee, which is brewed by slowly steeping coarse coffee grounds for 12 to 24 hours before straining, is pushed through the tap system with nitrogen. Nitro cold brew, on the other hand, is cold brew infused with nitrogen, resulting in a smooth, rich, cascading foamy head reminiscent of a Guinness®. Since its recent rise in popularity, both beverages have made it past the café counter and onto various bar and restaurant menus in creative beverages, like the fan-favorite Espresso Martini.
What gas is required?
"Nitrogen is the gas that should be used for coffee on tap systems,” says Kris Byrd, Micro Matic’s Director of National Accounts, “anything else, like CO2, is going to oxidize the coffee.” Nitrogen is an inert gas, meaning it won’t hinder the quality of the drink. Inside the keg is a layer of nitrogen gas that prevents the drink from oxidizing and helps push the product out of the keg, into the draft line, and out the tap.
What equipment is needed to dispense coffee?
To start pouring coffee on tap, you’ll need a few key items: refrigeration, nitrogen infusion technology, and the right components.
To get the perfect pour, coffee on tap must be stored at the right temperature using the right refrigeration system and dispensing equipment. Like other beverages on tap, both cold and nitro cold brew should be served at 38 degrees. With an adequate refrigeration system, the nitrogen will stay in the coffee solution and maintain the beverage’s quality.
If you are looking for a plug-n-play solution, the Americano Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Kegerator is a perfect choice. This fully NSF-certifed system is a self-contained refrigerator outfitted with our Nitrogen Infusion Module®, capable of dispensing BOTH still and nitro cold brew out of one keg, delivering the ideal nitro consistency your customers deserve! The Americano comes in both a slim 18" wide option or standard kegerator size.
Because of coffee’s high acidity, using quality components, specifically 304-grade stainless steel faucets and parts, is critical. This material is easy to clean and won't deteriorate overtime.
When dispensing coffee through traditional draft systems, it’s important to use BarrierMaster Flavourlock™ tubing instead of vinyl. Barrier tubing elimates O2 ingress, allowing the beverage to stay fresh for a long time while preventing unwelcome flavors from permeating into the tubing itself.
With the right durable materials and equipment for your space, you can expect coffee that retains its quality with every pour.
Nitrogen Infusion Technology
To get your cold brew infused with nitrogen, use our Nitrogen Infusion Module® (NIM®), which allows the gas to enter the coffee solution. Byrd notes that as the nitro cold brew is dispensed through a stout faucet, “the patented technology on our NIM® keeps that head retention” to produce a beautiful and creamy cascade effect in the glass. The NIM® is extremely flexible, capable of dispensing still or nitrogenized cold brew out of one keg, providing a consistent product, cup after cup, with no downtime or recovery. This technology is available as part of our Americano line of equipment or can be retrofitted into existing direct draw or long draw applications.
How can Micro Matic help simplify coffee on tap?
At Micro Matic, we try to make serving delicious drinks as easy as possible while using the best equipment on the market. Whether you’re interested in selling coffee on tap at a large stadium or a small coffee shop, we can specify our products to help you craft a refreshing drink. As Byrd says, “we can always help [operators] make the best choice for equipment based on the package that they’re going to use.
”Byrd recommends contacting your Micro Matic representative to help determine “what makes the most sense operationally, whether that be [having the kegerator] right there in the front of the house or the back of the house.”
Your Micro Matic representative will help you find the right solutions, including:
- Nitrogen tanks or generators
- Undercounter refrigeration fitted to your space, including standard and ADA sizing
- NIMs and stout faucets
- Barrier tubing to prevent oxygen permeation
Enjoy Coffee on Tap
These days, it’s easy to get tired of the same thing over and over again. Serving coffee on tap provides customers with a new experience while enjoying a drink they know and love.
Cost Effective - With cold brew concentrate, you can have up to 5x more products than standard ready-to-drink options.
More Caffeine - Deliver nitro cold brew with a higher caffeine content to give your customers the kick they want from a cup of coffee without the typical additives and calories of most energy drinks.
Simple Maintenance - Micro Matic NIMs and Americano dispensing systems are fully certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), so you can trust us to “give the coffee the cleanest and best path through the system,” says Byrd.
Easy-to-Use - You won’t need to spend time brewing and crafting a complex drink order; just dispense straight from the keg to the glass.
Ahead of the Trend - “We’re seeing people drink differently,” Byrd notes, “we’re staying ahead of the times of what consumers want when drinking cold versus hot coffee.”
Hop on the Coffee on Tap Bandwagon
It’s clear that we don’t drink coffee the same way that we used to. The nitrogenated coffee market is expected to become worth more than $51.1 million by 2025, thanks to its ever-growing popularity. With the right refrigeration, nitrogen infusion technology, and associated components, you can craft the perfect refreshing drink with a well-designed coffee on tap system.
EVERYTHING ON TAP
For over 60 years, Micro Matic has been recognized as one of the world’s leading suppliers of draft beverage equipment. We specialize in keg-to-glass technology and offer a total solution for meeting beverage equipment needs. Our dedication to customer service is supported by four regional sales and distribution centers, the Micro Matic Dispense Institute for training and education, and a Certified Installer Network for installations. Want to speak with a “perfect pour” expert? Contact Micro Matic today.