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How Much Caffeine Is In A Nitro Cold Brew At Starbucks?

If you tried Nitro Cold Brew, you know this coffee is pretty smooth.

But how much caffeine is in a Nitro Cold Brew?

Don’t worry; I did some research, so you don’t have to.

Short answer: it depends on the type of brew!

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about Nitro Cold Brew and its caffeine content. Plus, I will compare it to other cold brew drinks.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Nitro Brewed Coffee?

Nitro cold brew coffee is a regular cold brew infused with nitrogen gas.

While that might sound strange, plenty of drinks are made by adding gas to them. Sodas, for example.

Beer is another example that has been around for a lot longer than nitrogen-infused coffee.

Guinness is the most popular example of a nitrogen-infused beer. But there are many darker beers that use nitrogen gas.

Using nitrogen gas gives Nitro Cold Brew its signature velvety texture and thick, foamy head.

Honestly, Nitro Cold Brew even looks like a Guinness. It even separates into the dark coffee and the foam.

So, how is Nitro Cold Brew made?

Starbucks coffee shop starts with regular cold brewed coffee. This is the cold brew you would be served if you didn’t want a Nitro brew.

Then they infuse that cold brew with nitrogen gas using a double keg system. Nitro coffee gets run through a tap to the counter and is served to you.

It’s even relatively simple to make your own Nitro Cold Brews at home.

However, you’ll need some special equipment (Nitro cold brew coffee maker or whipped cream dispenser).

I have found that unless you’re dedicated to making kegs of Nitro at home, it’s best to leave it to the professionals and get it at the coffee shop.

Nitro Cold Brew Variations

I’ll admit that straight Nitro Cold Brew can be pretty bitter and bland. After all, it’s just a cold brew infused with nitrogen. There’s no other added flavor.

So, what can you do to spice up a Nitro coffee?

A lot, actually.

The simplest way is to add a pump or two of sweet syrup like vanilla or hazelnut. Adding a pump of syrup will give you a subtle sweetness that cuts into the bitter cold brew flavor.

Another popular way to sweeten the deal is by adding sweet cream to your Nitro. Adding sweet cream is a popular way to add not only sweetness but also some creamy texture. 

Just be careful you don’t add too much and take away from the texture of the nitro.

How Much Caffeine Is In Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew?

starbucks nitro cold brew
Photo from: @richardmorganjee

There are a handful of different drinks you can order with a Nitro Cold Brew base at Starbucks. But the most popular ways to consume the drinks are simply black or served with sweet cream.

After all, those are the only actual Nitro drinks on the menu. The others require customizations or complicated orders.

So, let’s stick to the basic options and look at the caffeine contents:

If you’re not familiar with how much caffeine is typically in coffee, those numbers might not mean much to you.

For reference, a 16 oz medium roast Pike Place coffee at Starbucks has 310mg of caffeine.

So that means that Nitro Cold Brew has less caffeine than regular coffee, at least at Starbucks.

NOTE
Adding sweet cream to your Nitro drops the caffeine level a little bit. A Grande Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew with sweet cream has 265 mg of caffeine instead of the 280mg you’d get without sweat cream.

Does Nitro Cold Brew Have More Caffeine Than Other Cold Brew Coffees At Starbucks?

Nitro Cold Brew doesn’t actually have more caffeine than regular cold brew.

However, Starbucks serves Nitro Cold Brew without ice, which means that the drink will have more caffeine because there is more coffee.

However, with so many variations on cold brews and Nitro Cold Brews, let’s take a closer look.

Regular Nitro Cold Brew vs Other Nitro Cold Brews

This is a tricky one because the caffeine content of the cold brew itself doesn’t change.

Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks always has ~17.5 mg of caffeine per ounce.

The only way to change the amount of caffeine in a Nitro Cold Brew drink is to change the amount of Nitro Cold Brew that’s actually in the drink.

One way to do that is to order a smaller size, like a Tall instead of a Grande. But another way is to put something else in the drink. Something like sweet cream, syrup, or cold foam.

Here are the caffeine contents of some of Starbucks’ most popular Nitro drinks:

TallGrande
Nitro Latte115mg155mg
Cold Foam Cascara Nitro200mg270mg
Salted Cream Nitro200mg270mg
Reserve Nitro Cold Brew280mg400mg
Cold Foam Dark Mocha Nitro Cold Brew215mg290mg

Nitro Cold Brew vs Regular Cold Brew Drinks

As I mentioned, Nitro Cold Brew and regular Starbucks cold brew coffee have nearly identical caffeine counts.

But Nitro Cold Brew generally has more caffeine because they are served without ice.

You can get even less caffeine in a regular cold brew by adding other things like sweet cream, cold foam, or milk.

A regular 16oz cold brew at Starbucks has 205mg of caffeine as opposed to a Nitro, which has 280mg.

For reference, here are some of the most popular cold brew variations and their caffeine contents:

TallGrande
Cold Foam Cold Brew205mg310mg
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew185mg275mg
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew185mg275mg
Irish Cream Cold Brew185mg275mg

FAQ

nitro cold brew

Let’s answer a few last-minute questions about Nitro Cold Brew.

Is Nitro Cold Brew healthy?

Yes! There isn’t anything unhealthy about drinking Nitro Cold Brew. In fact, because the primary ingredient is coffee, there are actually some possible benefits to drinking Nitro.

Is Nitro Cold Brew stronger than espresso?

Espresso has more caffeine per ounce than Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew. However, one serving of Nitro Cold Brew has much more caffeine than one serving of espresso.

What is the most caffeinated drink at Starbucks?

That honor goes to the Venti Blonde Roast filter coffee. It comes in at a whopping 475mg of caffeine.

My Final Thoughts

So, you now know that a regular Nitro Cold Brew has about 280mg of caffeine per 16oz.

That’s pretty similar to non-nitro cold brews.

However, if you want less caffeine in your Nitro Cold Brew cup, you can choose some of the variations, such as Nitro Latte or Cold Foam Cascara Nitro.

But don’t forget, the easiest way to manage your caffeine intake is to lower the amount of coffee you drink!

Don’t want any caffeine in your Starbucks? Check out our article on the best caffeine-free Starbucks drinks!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.