Heads Up: Newly-Launched Svami Nitro Coffee Is A Cold Brew For Adults
Cafes across Mumbai have, over the past couple of months, been offering cold brewed coffee. It’s popular among coffee nerds as the process of cold brewing knocks the acidic edge off the beverage and the result is a strong yet cooling drink for summer. In other words, it’s cold coffee for adults. Khar roastery Koinonia, for instance, sells its cold brews in pint bottles. This month, an even more adult version of cold brewed coffee, which is shot through with nitrogen, was launched in the city. Known as nitro coffee or simply nitro, it looks like stout.
The treatment gives the drink a creamy ‘mouthfeel’, which is how baristas like to describe the texture. When it’s poured out of a keg, the coffee settles in a pretty cascade and has a head of foam like Guinness. In Mumbai, nitro is currently being sold by two companies: city-based Svami and Delhi-headquartered Blue Tokai, which serves nitro, priced at Rs180 per 250ml pour, at its Bandra outlet (though it has been unavailable this past week) and will shortly start offering it at the Mahalaxmi outpost.
Svami is in the business of making non-alcoholic beverages for adults. The company was started in 2016 by Sahil Jatana, who between 2011 and 2014 retailed coffee online under the label Coffee Coach; his brother-in-law Aneesh Bhasin, who runs alcohol-focused app Hipcask; and Rahul Mehra, one of the partners at Gateway Brewing Co.. Their nitro is made with a blend of Arabica coffees from Chikmagalur roasted two ways, medium and dark. Jatana said it took him nearly six months to arrive at the blend.
The coffee is steeped in water for 12 to 15 hours at room temperature at a plant in Bhiwandi. The concentrate is then transferred to a high pressure tank, diluted with water and subjected to nitrogen for two to three hours. It’s cooled to two to four degrees, transferred to kegs and sent to cafés. Presently, Svami nitro, priced between Rs160 and Rs180 per 180ml pour, is available on tap at The Pantry in Colaba, Woodside Inn, La Folie Lab and 212 All Good in Lower Parel, and the Sweetish House Mafia chain of cookie shops. It will soon be on the menu at Eddie’s Bistro, Pack-a-Pav and Bombay Salad Company in Bandra.
Svami’s nitro is indeed more full-bodied than ordinary iced coffee; it’s strong yet has a mild sweetness. This is because they add 1.5 to 2 grams of sugar per 100 ml of coffee in order to appeal to people unused to drinking black coffee. Jatana told us that they might do an unsweetened batch in the near future. Also on Svami’s agenda for the year are nitro teas and nitro tonic water as well as bottled cold brew coffees in flavours like coconut and molasses, hazelnut and black.