In the heart of Bardstown lies The Java Joint, a refueling station where hungry patrons can stock up on sandwiches, soups, quiches, and coffee. The menu unfolds to reveal a long list of sandwiches, such as the 3rd Street club—a trio of roast beef, bacon, and provolone topped with veggies and blue cheese. Between bites of quiche or spoonfuls of soup, diners sip on freshly roasted Heine Brothers coffee, made from organic beans that were fairly traded for a rare baseball card. Plaid tablecloths, wooden chairs, and a wall of pottery make one part of The Java Joint's interior as rustic as a tree fort's breakfast nook; this look is starkly contrasted by a bright mélange of colors at the front of the eatery, where purple, green, and yellow walls sprout from a black-and-white checkered floor.
Recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, Through the Looking Glass caters to the tea crowd with a blend of whole leaf teas, tea accessories, and gifts. Brew sippers can combat lip freeze by slurping green teas, black teas, oolong teas, white teas, tea blends, and herbal tisane. Menu offerings let lunchers languish over elegant treats including the croissant with brie or chocolate ($3.50), the red knight chili ($6.50), and the Cheshire cheese plate, a pairing of two cheeses such as brie, rosemary asiago, lacy swiss, bavarian boy blue, and Babybel resting on a tuffet of water crackers and fruit ($6.50).
Bluegrass Java concocts a bevy of barista beverages, smoothies, and pastries inside of its compact, double-drive-thru coffee-stop quarters. Specialty drinks, such as mochaccinos ($3.75) and lattes ($3.60), please taste buds, and easily can be paired with fresh muffin selections ($1.50). With multitasking talents, the coffee specialists at Bluegrass Java accommodate drivers and walkers with signature "animal kingdom" drinks, named after their appearance, such as the chocolate-and-caramel-sauce Cheetah and the white-chocolate-and-caramel-sauce Giraffe. All drinks are made to order, and all orderly citizens are welcome to hitchhike along the highway of super information courtesy of Bluegrass Java's complimentary WiFi.
Nicolette Spears used to think green tea tasted like bad, stale grass-clippings. So when she began studying the importance of brewing temperature, it was a revelation. “Green tea is like a vegetable: if you burn the leaves, it tastes really bitter. That was sort of an eye-opener to me.”
Now, at Louisville Tea Company, Ms. Spears brews more than a hundred tea varieties according to strict standards, paying attention to each brew’s optimal brewing temperature, steep time, and leaf-to-water ratio. She also considers her tea’s origins: she sources Japanese green tea directly from a small tea farm in Japan, and the Kenyan Ajiri Tea employs Kenyan women and funds orphan education in West Kenya.
Additionally, Ms. Spears strives to educate newbies about tea. At the tasting bar, she brews fresh pots of the shop’s tea of the day. During the shop’s classes and tea tastings, tea experts delve not only into tea origins and flavors, but the positive effects on human health and boring water.
Helmed by Connie Young and her two daughters, Lori and Kelly, Sisters Tea Parlor Boutique transports visitors to simpler times, when taking tea was a daily ritual. Before settling at tables for afternoon tea, guests are invited to visit the boutique's dress-up vanity area and don festive hats, wraps, costume jewelry, and gloves. Traditional tea service includes scones with tart lemon curd, tea sandwiches, and a sweets tray lined with decadent desserts—plus, of course, bottomless pots of loose-leaf tea.