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.
Since April, 2003, the chefs at North End Caf? have championed a focus on local, seasonal ingredients with a healthy approach to cooking. North End Caf?'s menu features traditional meals from around the world, ranging from grass-fed beef burgers and flatiron steaks to grilled fish and scallops to stir-fry and cakes. For sharing, chefs build eclectic small plates such as crab cakes, fried goat-cheese ravioli, and almond-crusted brie. They also prepare a range of vegan and gluten-free dishes, taking care to avoid the pyrotechnics that result when steak and tofu touch.
To accompany these meals, bartenders pour American and international wines, and blend cocktails from fruit and old-fashioned ingredients. At the Highlands location, a brand-new tap system spouts 23 craft beers, including imperial IPAs and peppery black porters. In warmer months, the aromas of cooking and laughter of clientele also fill the Highlands location's outdoor deck, an expansive wooden patio surrounded by vines and flowers.
The menu at Funmi’s Café swims with the names of West African dishes, tangles of unfamiliar syllables. Kachumbari, asaro, and kelewele may sound intimidating initially, but they conceal a cuisine characterized by warmth and gentle spice. Kachumbari is an African spin on coleslaw, asaro is a goldenrod-hued yam porridge, and kelewele is a snack of fried plantains.
In the kitchen, chefs stir pots of stew and sauce, often eschewing meat and dairy to fill Funmi’s menu with vegan options. Beneath murals of circular huts on a colorful savannah, fair-trade organic coffee imported from Africa pours forth steam like a robot trying to understand the end of Of Mice and Men.
At Derby City Espresso, the espresso drinks are derived from either a single or double shot of its espresso, which is made from its La Marzocco Linea espresso machine. A Cubano, which is just a sweetened version of espresso, runs $2 for a single and $3 for a double. DCE’s beer menu appeals to the senses of a beer lover's suds-soaked dreams, with premium craft beers that fall within the affordable price range of ($4–$8). An expansive menu of more than 50 loose-leaf teas completes the selection.