Cincinnati can sometimes feel behind the times, but our coffee scene is on par with larger metropolises.
Our coffee tastemakers aren’t afraid to experiment with new flavor profiles, particularly when it comes to iced coffee. Instead of ordering tasteless iced coffee or the slightly better cold brew, opt for one of these innovative iced drinks, which are made from locally or nationally renowned roasters.
Once you try a kegged latte, you’ll never crave a regular iced latte again.
M5 Espresso Lab: The most cutting edge — yet still approachable — coffee shop in Cincinnati, Hyde Park Square’s M5 Espresso is a craft coffee lover’s dream come true, mainly because it's one of the only shops in the country with iced lattes on draft.
“It came from necessity,” said Alex Evans, M5’s director of coffee. “With summer coming up, we’re serving iced lattes all the time.”
The kegged facet cuts down on wait time, and it avoids watering down the drink. Using almond milk sweetened with cane sugar, the latte is rested, meaning it’s prepared hot and then refrigerated for 24 hours.
M5 is also experimenting with making a line of mocktails, influenced by Portland’s Either/Or program. A Cold Fashioned takes cold brew and adds simple syrup and orange bitters to it, and the Ponyboy — named after a character from "The Outsiders" — is M5 “trying to make the flavor of an IPA-style beer with coffee,” Evans said. Spirit Tea’s Golden Lily Oolong, simple syrup, cold brew, ginger, rose water and seltzer water form a somewhat hoppy cold drink.
All of M5's iced drinks are served in a glass and presented on top of a compressed bamboo tray. Here, presentation is everything. 2717 Erie Ave.
Deeper Roots: The local roaster opened its flagship café last year in Oakley and has since offered a rotating lineup of seasonal coffee drinks. It has cold brew and nitro coffee (nitrogen-infused coffee; think Guinness) on tap year-round, but Deeper Roots also produces specialty iced coffee drinks. Currently, try the Sakura iced coffee, made with a dash of sweet cherry blossom essence, or the espresso version called the Sakura Shakerato: chilled and shaken espresso, cherry blossom essence and cream, served with a lime wedge. For something with effervescence, the Spring Berry contains Deeper Roots' Bloom roast in nitro form mixed with a berry reduction, vanilla and frothed cream. 3056 Madison Road
Rohs Street Café: Deeper Roots provides Clifton coffeehouse Rohs Street with a kegged iced coffee system, featuring nitro, and Japanese iced coffee on tap. The Japanese method, aka Kyoto coffee, is a method where hot coffee is poured through a V60 dripper into a Hario glass stacked with ice cubes. The process tempers the ice and generates a flavor similar to iced tea. Besides iced coffees, Rohs Street also brews pourover blends from Arkansas roaster Onyx, Deeper Roots and Los Angeles roaster Compelling and Rich. 245 W. McMillan St.
Collective Espresso: A tall hourglass-like contraption called a Yama Tower dominates Collective Espresso's Over-the-Rhine shop. The slow-drip method involves pouring ice water in the top chamber, with coffee grounds placed underneath. The concentrate drips once per second, taking about 10 hours to complete the cycle. The result is worth the painstaking wait: a clean cup of iced coffee with the complexity of a cocktail. In summer, Collective breaks out Japanese iced coffee, and sometimes the shop offers espresso and lemonade mixed together — it tastes better than you would think. 207 Woodward St.; other locations in Northside and inside the Contemporary Arts Center.
Other Places to Get Your Cold Coffee Fix
Pho Lang Thang / Quan Hapa: The Vietnamese iced coffee method entails using a drip filter contraption called a cà phê phin. Hot water is poured over sealed grounds that slowly drip into a cup partially filled with condensed milk and ice. At both restaurants, order it either hot or iced. Pho Lang Thang: 114 W. Elder St.; Quan Hapa: 1331 Vine St.
Urbana Café: The newly opened dog-friendly Pendleton shop (and Findlay Market stall) specializes in Italian coffee drinks such as a Caffè Shakerato (a double shot of hot espresso, sugar, ice and mint, shaken), Caffé Frizzante (espresso inundated with San Pellegrino) and an affogato (espresso poured over gelato). Eventually, Urbana will transform its cold brew into nitro on tap. 1206 Broadway St.
Braxton Brewing Co.: Probably the strongest nitro coffee in town, Braxton’s Starter is a coffee collaboration with Newport’s Carabello Coffee roaster. Come for the beer, and stay for the coffee. 27 W. Seventh St., Covington
Maverick Chocolate Co.: For this Findlay Market bean-to-bar shop, hot chocolate makes sense, but Maverick also serves Deeper Roots nitro coffee. 129 W. Elder St.
Cheapside Café: It was one of the first places in town to have Deeper Roots nitro on draft, and Cheapside is the only one that offers a Chinotto: espresso with housemade tonic. The cinchona bark can be hard to find, though, so it’s not always available. But if you happen to be at Cheapside when the Chinotto is available, you’re in for a bitter treat. 326 E. Eighth St.