You may think you’ve learned all of the coffee lingo you need when ordering from your local coffee shop. But these days the coffee dictionary is adding a few new entries: Cold brew, flat white, and nitrogen-infused coffee.
Cold brewing, a method of brewing coffee over a long period of time without heat, is supposed to offer a smoother beverage with less acidic taste. The flat white features whole milk and two ristretto shots, which are smaller, more concentrated serving of espresso. And nitro is a cold brew coffee—that’s infused with nitrogen gas, making it tastier.
Cold brew, in particular, is a trend that has taken off. Originating roughly five years ago at small outfits like Stumptown Coffee Roasters, it percolated in cities like Seattle and San Francisco, where coffee connoisseurs are drawn to new, supposedly richer coffee.
The trend has since accelerated as big players likeStarbucks SBUX 0.09% and Dunkin’ Brands DNKN 0.45% plotted their own national launches. Just this week, Peet’s Coffee said it would launch a new slate of ready-to-drink drinks, initially addressing the San Francisco market before expanding to other regions down the road.
Starbucks has been especially aggressive in bringing cold brew to market — selling it at grocery stores, as well as the company’s restaurants. It began to tinker with cold brews in 2014 with small test runs in a few cities before expanding that version of coffee across the entire fleet of U.S. stores by the end of last summer. The chain has since introduced a vanilla-flavored cold brew coffee, as well as cold brew infused with nitrogen. Dunkin’ Donuts recently announced it would sell cold brew in restaurants in the New York and Los Angeles metro areas this summer, with a national launched planned later this year.