Nashville has become more and more abuzz with dozens of coffee shops in the area. A simple Yelp search for Nashville coffee shops yields 40+ results, many of which are that ubiquitous coffee chain with a green and white mermaid logo becoming more and more likened unto a fast food restaurant.
However, I’m pleased to announce that your local, independent coffee shops with unique personalities all their own outnumber that cookie cutter chain in the Nashville area. No real surprise there…this IS Nashville, after all…though it was exciting to verify that fact.
Since Fall is now here, we all benefit from the caffeinated creativity of bustling baristas who crafted their own signature drinks to celebrate the season and serve local alternatives to Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Starting off this season’s line-up is the decadent collection of drinks prepared by each establishment under the Bongo Java Roasting Company umbrella. Here are the 1st and 2nd place results from their company-wide barista competition. Brace yourself.
Brushfire … whiskey caramel, espresso, finished as a cortado then topped with tobacco whipped cream
Butter Beer … olive oil, brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, rum, angostura bitters, finished as a soda Americano
Bongo Java (Belmont)
Rose Cherry … cherry reduction, rosemary, caramel, grenadine, and espresso then finished as latte
Rekindled Flame … latte with bourbon, vanilla, cayenne pepper, espresso
Connie … egg white, pecan, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, butter, espresso, finished as latte
Westerford Raisin … oranges, butter, cardamom, cinnamon, brown sugar, espresso, finished as latte
Hot & Cold
Second Spring … maple, cinnamon, clove, orange flower water, espresso, finished as a latte, garnished with spices
Carrot Top … carrot juice, molasses, spiced pecans, espresso, finished as a cappuccino
Hopping a few blocks up Music Row, our tour stops next at Edgehill Café, serving three special drinks for the season.
Maple Spiced Chai … chai tea with maple spice syrup and steamed milk.
Caramel Apple Cider … hot apple cider mixed with caramel sauce and cinnamon.
Sweet Potato Pie Latte … two shots of espresso, sweet potato purée, cinnamon, brown sugar simple syrup, and steamed milk.
Considered their signature drink by many, Headquarters is serving up their Spicy Mocha, which will clear the sinuses, making it a delicious, multi-purpose seasonal beverage. Extending the Headquarters fall drink line are the Peanut Butter Mocha Latte and Mocha Mint Latte.
Prefer tea instead? You’re still in luck because Headquarters serves a vast selection from High Garden Tea, locally made in East Nashville. Stave off looming sniffles with Get Well, an herbal blend of elderberry and flower, boneset, mullein, elcampane, skullcap, yarrow, echinacea, barberry, peppermint, and lemongrass.
Portland Brew East also serves a custom tea called High Garden Fog made with rose garden earl grey, steamed almond milk, and a dash of simple syrup alongside their staple Autumn Chai including Oregon chai, pumpkin spice, and vanilla.
Red Bicycle presents two selections for the season. One is their own version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte consisting of pumpkin spice syrup, espresso, and steamed milk and also the Pumpkins Spice Chai Latte made with pumpkin spice syrup, house-brewed chai, and steamed milk.
Sam & Zoe’s … Sam and Zoe’s features seasonal drinks year round, including the Great Pumpkin Latte with a house made sauce of real pumpkin and organic spices.
As wonderful as that is, this year the fine folks at Sam & Zoe’s also serve Spiced Chai plus A Warm Hug featuring house made caramel and white chocolate (hint hint…I enjoyed a mug full of A Warm Hug this week, and it took me to a bonfire with it’s toasted marshallowness), A Little Luck and Spice made with Irish Cream and cinnamon and, a reminder of all things good, Peanut Butter and House Made Chocolate. Our feature herbal tea is apple cider.
November 1 brings the perennial favorite Gingerbread Latte and December 1 brings additional decadent drinks to help celebrate the holidays.
How ‘bout all of that? Let’s raise a mug to these neighbors for providing highly-anticipated tempting tastes. Sophisticated comfort food in a mug. Which ones are you gonna try first?
P.S. New on the Nashville coffee scene this year is Thistle Stop Café part of the Thistle Farms family, serving “a story in every cup.” Run by graduates and residents of the Magdalene program (women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction), the Thistle Stop Café is becoming known as THE source for the best latte in town.
When asked what makes their lattes different and better, the Thistle Stop team credits Terry, head barista and graduate of the Magdelene program, who insists on making a perfect cup with love. How’s that for a rich ingredient?
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