By Becky Streeter
Nitrogen? In coffee? Trust Katy Stevens. She will make you a believer.
When traveling to California, Stevens’ brother introduced her to cold-brew nitro coffee. She will be forever grateful to her sibling. “It was creamy, chocolaty, and looked very cool,” says Stevens. “It was coffee that poured from a tap, and it cascaded beautifully in my cup. When I got back to home I wanted to tell everyone about Nitro Coffee. I talked to coffee shops, friends, and family. Most people had never heard of it —it was so new! I was struck by this and thought, ‘Hey, people need to experience this in my town!’”
The setup for brewing nitro coffee looks a lot like home brewing of beer. You fill a keg with cold brew coffee, purge the oxygen, and pressurize it with food-grade nitrogen. The coffee is then poured out of a beer tap with a stout faucet and cascades just like beer. Stevens suggests: “Think Guinness.”
After a few months of researching and experimenting with the process, Stevens launched N7 Café in February 2016. Nitrogen (N) is the seventh element of the periodic table, so Stevens saw it fitting to name her business after the element used to make her coffee.
Besides spreading the love of coffee, N7 offers several types of eco-friendly products including reusable stainless steel and silicone straws. “We are striving towards being a more sustainable business by reducing plastic use, starting with straws,” Stevens says. It is estimated that Americans use over 500 million plastic straws per day (1). Plastic straws are not biodegradable, and many of them wind up in the ocean causing major issues for fish and other ocean wildlife.
Stevens loves to share her coffee, but she also wants to leave as small of a carbon footprint as possible. She feels this is a very important concern for many people in the Chippewa Valley. “It just takes one small step to step-up your eco-friendly game,” she says. “Whether switching to reusable straws or composting, it does make a difference.”
N7 can be found in bottled cold brew at Just Local Foods, Eau Claire Cheese and Deli, and Festival Foods. If local, you can order anything on from the website (https://www.n7cafe.com/) and choose local pick-up to save on shipping.