Local java company hopes to bring nitro coffee to market with help from fans

by | Jan 28, 2016 | POLITICS

Nitro coffee is the newest brew on the market and one local company is hoping to bring it to RVA, but they need your help.


Nitro coffee is the newest brew on the market and one local company is hoping to bring it to RVA, but they need your help.

Clay Gilbert, Owner and President of Black Hand Coffee Co., has had a love affair with java since he left the craft beer business and took over the shop in 2009. Since then, he’s turned the local brew spot into a community pillar for fresh cups as well as delish grounds.

As for new ventures, they’d been roasting beans at the Patterson Ave location for some time, shipping them out to local shops and restaurants, building their own brand and hoping to provide quality joe to everyone in town.

“We try not to over complicated out coffees – it’s more for the masses,” said Gilbert, who praised his company’s diverse bean sources (origins) as well.

As time went on, and the roasting business grew, Gilbert started looking for new ways to grow RVA’s love of coffee – that’s where nitro coffee comes in.

Nitro coffee is a form of iced coffee, but it’s a little different, and the process is a lot more intense. First off, it’s infused with nitrogen which adds a number of qualities. The final product is also served under pressure, like a beer. They were even selling it on draught over at Triple Crossing Brewing for a bit.

According to Gilbert adding the nitrogen “softens [the coffee] up – gives it more of body and mouth feel. Also, for whatever reason, it insinuates the coffee; the origins, sweetness, chocolate flavors, come out better.”

It also usually packs a bit more of a caffine punch – whether that’s from the water ratio or increased absobtion rates from the nitrogen, who knows, but as Buzzfeed points out, the final product is beautiful and pours more like a stout:

“I love it, and I don’t even love iced coffee that much,” said Gilbert. “There’s room in this market for a couple different version of it. We’re trying to get people to understand what it is.”

There’s a been a few test runs of the Black Hand’s Nitro Coffee made so far, with Gilbert working with local canners Dominion Canning to help get some samples in the mix.

Channeling his former craft-beer exp, Gilbert said it’s like canning beer, but not with a beer product.

“It’s a unique way to serve coffee,” he said. “It’s another way to show how our coffee is formed, but it parallels a lot of what’s going on in the beer industry.”

As you can imagine, such an undertaking – building the custom equipment to brew, can, package and deliver – is not going to be cheap. Gilbert said he thought he’d give the crowd funding service kickstarter a chance to see if those in the community were interested in even seeing it on the shelves.

“It’s something we want the community involved with,” he said. “To say ‘we helped get it to market and we’re behind it.’ It’s a way to gage peoples knowledge of it and our own willingness to put it out there.”

He jokingly called it a spit-ball idea, saying “some of them stick, some of them don’t. But if we can get a few things to stick, I think this will be a product a lot of people will enjoy.”

The campaign has gotten off to a rough start, but for coffee fans looking for a new flavor, this might be just the thing to roast your beans.

Head on over to the kickstarter here to find out more.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




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