Dan Thaler began his professional life in market research. But his curiosity and patience for experimentation led him to create his own nitro coffee, using a homemade draft system. The result: an ultra smooth cold cup of joe that can be customized with natural flavors. His company, Smooth Nitro Coffee, opened its first brick-and-mortar shop downtown in May.
How did those first experiments go? You know, the first ones weren’t that good. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I literally started roasting coffee beans with an air popcorn popper. I was also doing a little bit of home brewing, and so I saw an opportunity to potentially marry the two.
How is nitro coffee different? The tricky piece is getting nitrogen into a beverage. Nitrogen hates being put into things. Seventy percent of the atmosphere is nitrogen and it’s a little gas that doesn’t like being bottled up. We don’t leave production without something blowing up.
What’s next for Smooth? I see us evolving more as a brewery than a coffee shop. We have growlers. We have individual flavors. We’re constantly experimenting and coming up with new recipes. We’re already in two breweries—Streetside Brewery on Eastern Avenue, and Fig Leaf Brewery in Middletown. We love partnering with them, and it’s cool when they mix their beers with our coffee. And I’d like to can at some point, too.
Smooth Nitro, smoothcincy.com