Starbucks is betting that “nitro” iced coffee is the next Frappuccino

Starbucks is diving into cold brew.
Starbucks is diving into cold brew.
Image: Reuters/Andrew Winning
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Starbucks is jumping into the hottest segment of the iced coffee world, adding an eye-catching new brewing method known as “nitro cold brew” in several cities.

Cold brew coffee involves steeping coffee grounds for many hours with cold or room temperature water, which creates a smoother, less bitter tasting coffee. It is then infused with nitrogen for storage; when dispensed from a tap, the coffee is filled with nitrogen bubbles, much like a pint of Guinness.

Nitro cold brew will be rolled out in Seattle, Portland, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco this summer. It will be part of a suite of “cold bar” coffee offerings, including cold brew with a ”float” of vanilla-flavored cream, along with traditional iced coffee, espresso, and Frappuccino drinks.

Rival chains Stumptown and Caribou are also selling nitro iced coffee, along with a number of independent coffee shops.