Coffee lovers in Comber behind novel flavours of refreshing cold brews

The novel drinks, which are cold brewed and infused with nitrogen for a refreshing taste, are oat milk based mint chocolate and chocolate orange
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Aaron (AP) and Lucia Beattie, an enterprising husband and wife team in Comber, Co Down, have recently launched two delicious flavours of cold brew coffee drinks under the Nitro Coffee brand they created from a holiday in Vancouver and the Rockies back in 2017.

The novel drinks, which are cold brewed and infused with nitrogen for a refreshing taste, are oat milk based mint chocolate and chocolate orange. These join the small company’s original cold brew drink and all are now available for consumers in 330ml recyclable glass bottles.

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The new flavours were developed with expert support from the Business Support Centre (BSC) at the North West Regional College (NWRC) in Londonderry, a hub of food creativity and skilled support in the north west and further afield through its unique Foodovation unit on the campus.

Lucia pouring cold brew coffee from a kegLucia pouring cold brew coffee from a keg
Lucia pouring cold brew coffee from a keg

The couple began exploring small business opportunities following their return from Canada and initially set up ‘Little Ridge Coffee’ in May 2017 before deciding on heading down the nitro chilling route for something deliciously and refreshingly different.

An accountant by profession, AP is passionate about cold brew nitro coffee because “it’s much more refreshing and has a much richer flavour”.

“We had originally tasted the coffee served cold straight from the tap, just like a cold beer,” he explains.

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“Cold brew coffee offers a frothy, adult-beverage feeling with the carbonation and beer-like head from the nitrogen. We are now offering our range in bottles for convenience.

AP Beattie has created novel cold brew coffee drinks with wife Lucia under the Nitro Coffee brandAP Beattie has created novel cold brew coffee drinks with wife Lucia under the Nitro Coffee brand
AP Beattie has created novel cold brew coffee drinks with wife Lucia under the Nitro Coffee brand

“It’s cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen and kegged initially for sale on draught in coffee shops. This process gives it a thicker, creamier texture and chocolatey taste. The drink also has a cascading effect which is all down to the fact that nitrogen doesn’t dissolve well in water. It’s like pouring a non-alcoholic stout.”

The couple wanted to launch an original product – a low-calorie chocolate mint coffee drink – made with its specialised cold brew coffee and oat milk.

To assist with the development of their concept for the market, Nitro Coffee Co was supported by NWRC’s BSC through the InnovateUs programme, which is funded by the Department for the Economy, in developing the new cold brew coffee drinks.

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Help towards the costs of the project came from a £5,000 Innovation Voucher grant from Invest NI, the business development agency.

The Nitro Coffee range of cold brew coffee flavoursThe Nitro Coffee range of cold brew coffee flavours
The Nitro Coffee range of cold brew coffee flavours

NWRC beverage technical consultant, Linda McClean, provided upskilling support in sourcing ingredients and costings, recipe development and defining target taste, as well as shelf life test set up, organoleptic assessment and product labelling recommendations.

On completion, the small company, a Food NI member, successfully developed the low-calorie and vegan-friendly chocolate drinks using specialised cold brew coffee and oat milk which appeals especially to new customers looking for sweeter and flavoured coffee drinks.

“We were absolutely delighted with the support we received from Linda McClean,” says AP. “Linda took us through the application process and was on hand throughout the entire process, helping us to focus in on the important issues and providing expert guidance and practical support to assist us in taking our product from concept through testing, to bottling and marketing.

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“Product development is never straightforward, but thanks to Foodovation and Linda, we were able to ask the correct questions and to be confident that all important aspects of the process have been properly addressed. We would have no hesitation in recommending NWRC Foodovation as a project partner for any small business here seeking to pursue the InnovateUs programme.”

Nitro’s range of cold brew drinks are now on sale through its recently launched website shop as well as many delis. In addition, AP and Lucia, a teacher, are busy showing the drinks at food markets. Another coffee drink is also being developed with Twisted Kettle Craft Brewery in Donaghadee.

The growing popularity of his coffees led AP to give up his career to focus on the business. One of the keys to the rich taste is his choice of the very best coffee from local roasters.

“I knew from Vancouver that the very best coffee is essential for great tasting nitro. I think that this is what sets my coffee apart in what is becoming a very competitive marketplace,” he explains.

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Nitro coffee, he continues, also offers a number of positive advantages.

“Ingredients used to enhance the texture or taste of regular coffee - such as milk or cream – are not necessary in nitro coffee,” he says. “This may help to reduce sugar consumption, because nitrogen adds a hint of sweetness, rendering additional sugar unnecessary. Adding sugar, as many people are now aware, increases the calorie count of ordinary coffee and possibly leads to weight gain. Nitro coffee is also less acidic than regular coffee.”

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