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Smooth Nitro Coffee serves up a variety of cold-brew coffee options from its kiosk in the Huntington building across from Fountain Square downtown. It was founded by Dan Thaler. ADDRESS: 525 Vine Street (45202) / Image: Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 7.13.17

I’ve Never Been More Laser-Focused Than When I Had Smooth Nitro Coffee

Full disclosure: I’m not a coffee drinker, as in I somehow get up each and every day without downing a cup of joe. But…

...if I were a coffee drinker, I’d be 100% in the Smooth Nitro Coffee camp. I first had this cold-brew coffee at B&A Street Kitchen, when I was photographing the OTR eatery for a story. There are two things I noticed after drinking Nitro:

  1. It was hella smooth.
  2. I was unbelievably focused for the rest of the day. (I'm talking laser-focused.)

In times that I have had regular ol’ coffee, I’ve never felt as though the supposed caffeine buzz made a difference. And thus, I didn’t see a need to become a java drinker. Not the case with Smooth Nitro. That stuff is liquid gold. And it’s got a pretty cool backstory.

Which leads us to… 27-year-old Dan Thaler, founder of Smooth Nitro Coffee. Before he knew about nitro and had even contemplated starting a coffee company, he was roasting his own coffee beans in a popcorn popper. This was about 4+ years ago, during his initial years on the job at Nielsen.

Eventually, he caught wind of this thing called “nitro” coffee, but he couldn’t find any in Cincinnati. It had yet to make its way from the coasts to the Midwest. So Thaler took it upon himself to streamline the process and create his own.

Mind you, nitro coffee isn’t easy to brew. “Nitrogen, unlike carbon dioxide, is an inert gas. This means it doesn’t react with many substances without significant force,” explained Thaler. “Infusing a gas into liquid required pressurization and time and it works best when the liquid is as cold as possible.”

Whether you understood the chemistry behind that or not, the fact remains: It’s not easy to do this. Thaler did it anyway.

Fast forward a few years, and Thaler has gone from roasting beans as a side hobby to turning it into his full-time gig. He’s taken a leave of absence from Nielsen in order to pursue his dream, a dream of turning Cincinnati into a city of nitro coffee lovers. And if he’s successful, just think about how much more we’ll be able to accomplish every day. (Kidding. But really. Think about it.)

Alright, if you wanna ditch your sad excuse for office coffee and get a real caffeine buzz, I highly recommend you try Smooth Nitro. It’s available at the kiosk in the Huntington building downtown, which just opened in May 2017. You can also find it on tap at Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, Streetside Brewery, the Growler Stop, Fig Leaf Brewery, and Urbana Cafe.

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The kiosk is open weekdays and is located at 525 Vine Street (45202). For more information about Smooth Nitro Coffee, head to the Facebook page.

One more thing: They now offer three rotating latte flavors, which are all dairy-free and made with real ingredients, as well as two varieties of tea and lemonade.