When Did Starbucks Introduce Nitro Cold Brew in Stores?

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Starbucks, the global coffee giant, is known for its innovative and diverse menu that caters to a wide range of coffee lovers’ tastes. Among its many offerings, one drink that has garnered significant attention is the Nitro Cold Brew. But when did Starbucks introduce this unique coffee variant in their stores? Let’s delve into the history, impact, and evolution of Nitro Cold Brew.


Starbucks introduced Nitro Cold Brew in their stores on May 31, 2016. The initial rollout took place in major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, with plans to expand to more than 500 stores across the country by the end of summer 2016.

The Introduction of Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks first introduced Nitro Cold Brew in their stores on May 31, 2016. The beverage infuses Starbucks cold brew with nitrogen, creating a cold, creamy coffee with a texture similar to a dark beer, like Guinness. The initial rollout of Nitro Cold Brew took place in major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, with plans to expand to more than 500 stores across the country by the end of summer 2016.

Impact on Starbucks’ Sales and Popularity

The introduction of Nitro Cold Brew had a significant impact on Starbucks’ overall sales and popularity. In the quarter ended June 27, 2021, Starbucks’ same-store sales rose 10% compared to the same period two years ago, helping the company generate record quarterly revenues of $7.5 billion and net earnings per share of $1.01. Cold beverages, including Nitro Cold Brew, accounted for 74% of total domestic beverage sales during that quarter, a new record and up ten percentage points over the past two years.

Unique Features of Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew stands out with its unique features. The nitrogen infusion results in a velvety-smooth coffee with a subtly sweet flavor and a rich, creamy head of foam. It’s also low in calories and sugar-free, making it a healthier option. The drink’s unique presentation, served without ice to enhance its smooth, creamy finish, adds to its appeal.

Evolution of Nitro Cold Brew

Since its introduction, Nitro Cold Brew has evolved with new innovations and applications. Some nitro coffee machines now offer both nitro and still cold brew from the same tap. Nitro Cold Brew has also inspired the development of home-brewing kits and devices, making it easier for consumers to create their own nitro-infused beverages.

Challenges in Rolling Out Nitro Cold Brew

Starbucks faced several challenges when rolling out Nitro Cold Brew. The requirement for additional space and equipment meant not all locations could offer Nitro Cold Brew. Maintaining the quality and consistency of the Nitro Cold Brew across different stores was another challenge.

Nitro Cold Brew Vs. Other Offerings

While Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew has gained popularity, opinions on it vary compared to similar offerings from other coffee chains. Some reviewers praise its smooth flavor and creamy texture, while others find it lacking in taste or overly sweet.

Ingredients in Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro Cold Brew is made with cold-brewed coffee and nitrogen gas, giving it a cascading, frothy texture, a velvety-smooth feel, and a subtly sweet flavor.

In conclusion, Starbucks’ introduction of Nitro Cold Brew in 2016 marked a significant milestone in its coffee innovation journey. Despite initial challenges, the drink’s unique texture, flavor, and presentation have earned it a loyal following and contributed to Starbucks’ growth and popularity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Nitro Cold Brew served at Starbucks?

Nitro Cold Brew is typically served in a glass without ice at Starbucks to highlight its creamy texture and smooth finish.

What is the caffeine content in Nitro Cold Brew?

A standard serving of Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew contains approximately 280 milligrams of caffeine.

Is Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew available worldwide?

While Starbucks aims to make Nitro Cold Brew available in all its stores, the availability may vary depending on the store location and the country due to the specific equipment and space required for Nitro Cold Brew.

Does Starbucks offer flavored versions of Nitro Cold Brew?

Yes, Starbucks offers flavored versions of Nitro Cold Brew, such as Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew with Salted Honey Cold Foam.

Is Nitro Cold Brew vegan friendly?

The basic Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks is vegan-friendly as it contains only coffee and nitrogen. However, flavored versions may contain dairy or other animal products. Always check the ingredients or ask the barista if you’re unsure.

Can I make Nitro Cold Brew at home?

Yes, you can make Nitro Cold Brew at home, but it requires specific equipment like a nitro cold brew maker and nitrogen cartridges. It may not exactly replicate the Starbucks version but can give you a similar experience.

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