Why quest for Cold Brew Nitro in the first place? If you read my post about Verve you may have gotten to the end thinking that I’m being really obsessive on what seems to be a gimmick. Nitro offers a good creamy feeling without having any milk added and is generally served without ice. Right off the bat this is good for those who dislike or can’t have milk, and want something “creamy” and for any who dislike ice. I’ve also found that nitro tends to be far thicker than most cold brews. Finally, not only does Cold Brew have a higher concentration of caffeine than most coffee due to a longer contact time, I’ve been told that nitro has to be more concentrated, 30% more, in order to come out well. To date, nothing will wake you up like nitro. Nothing I’d recommend at least.
One thing that always interested me though, is an area that most cafes, even Stumptown, rarely explore. Different coffees taste better, or different, different ways. You know how spicy food is different cold? It’s like that. In 2014 I had the Stumptown Ethiopia Mordecoffe as espresso and as nitro. For those of you with time machines, I highly recommend both. The espresso was basically a more nicely balanced Ethiopian espresso with not only fruitiness but some chocolate as well, aka my definition of heaven. Yet in Nitro, the chocolate shone through mixing with the nitro to make me think I was drinking some kind of cold melted chocolate.
This brings me to ABC Coffee Club in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo found by my friend at Hello Nihon. ABC seems to have the concept of using a rotation of three types of beans often from different roasters, hence the A, B, & C. I’ve only been there a few times but it seems so far to be mostly based around Single Origins, which is a huge plus for me as well as serving up Cold Brew Nitro using one of these single origins.
Bearing in mind that it is constantly changing and that I’ve only really experienced nitro at the two shops in question twice respectively, I’ve found ABC’s nitro to be better than Verve. Even though my biggest issue with Verve, ice, is something you could ask to be removed to make your experience almost perfect, ABC still wins ideologically. While ABC does have the tendency to run out of Nitro more than its competitor, the variety of the shop facilitates what I’ve always loved and found most interesting about espresso: Single Origin Espresso. The speed at which they seem to change beans means that it’s useless to get in depth about their espresso, but also means that it will always be an experience unlike the last and unlike my own. When well extracted frequently varying espresso is Plan B, you’re on a good track.
My first time at ABC I was able to score Takamura Roasters coffee beans, an old favorite as well as beans from Mel, another Osaka roaster I hadn’t yet heard of. Considering the alternative of taking an 8 hour highway bus (or $200 train), this is what sets ABC above the level of any sort of gimmicky cafe. There are very few cafes that get beans from so far away in Japan, and especially fewer that would actually import to Tokyo from another city.