The relationship between cycling and coffee goes back decades. In the 1960s, an Italian espresso machine company actually sponsored a pro cycling team, and in the 1980s it became trendy for riders in the Tour de France to down java before stages of the race. It seems cyclists have always known that a jolt of caffeine provides great fuel for a ride. If you plan a cycling tour of Kentucky, you can map out stops at several coffee shops that are very welcoming to riders.
We asked cyclists to share some of their favorite Kentucky coffee shops, ranging from the flatter terrain in the western part of the state, with its lakes and country roads, to the high, beautiful Appalachian Mountains in the east.
Etcetera Coffeehouse in Paducah offers excellent fair trade organic coffee in two locations— Lower Town and downtown. The menu offers many standard options, such as fancy coffee and tea drinks and yerba mate, but it also includes bubble tea, smoothies, shakes, hot chocolates, Blue Sky sodas and even locally sourced apple cider. If you really want to spice up your morning ride, try the Mayan Mocha, a latte with dark chocolate, honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. At the downtown Sixth Street store, you can also get the Bike Fuel blend produced by Just Coffee Cooperative in Madison, Wisc. It combines coffees from Ethiopia and Uganda with Just Coffee’s Sumatran coffee to create a sweet blend with citrus and floral notes. For added fuel, the shop also serves bagels, oatmeal, yogurt bowls, and even quiche.
The Cabin Coffee & Cafe
Housed in a historic log cabin, The Cabin Coffee & Cafe in Cadiz offers traditional coffee offerings, along with homemade hot breakfasts, lunches and desserts. The Cabin’s mocha shakes will perk you up, or they’re available without espresso. Another favorite is the Artisan Grilled Cheese Sandwich, which includes four types of cheeses, and you can add bacon or tomato. If you ride with a big group, this is good destination, as they actually like serving large parties.
Red Hot Roasters
After a calorie-burning ride, indulge in the delicious coffee drinks at Red Hot Roasters, which has two locations in Louisville. After your ride, take a seat on the large deck and sip on a Breeders’ Cup Mocharetto, which blends dark chocolate and Amaretto and is topped with Amaretto whipped cream. Another tasty treat is the Derby Mint Julep Mocha, which has mint and chocolate topped with bourbon whipped cream. The Main Street location is near Waterfront Park, which connects to the Louisville Loop, a paved trail that circles the city.
Fresh Coffee Pastries and More
One of Kentucky’s main cycling events is the Old Kentucky Home Tour, in which cyclists ride from Louisville to Bardstown and back. When you’re in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World, you’ll naturally want to take a distillery tour or two. But, for coffee you should check out Fresh Coffee, Pastries and More in the heart of historic downtown. It serves Good Folks Coffee, which is based in Louisville, and the menu, which changes daily, includes pastries and sandwiches.
Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe
[Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe](Kentuckycoffeetree.com) in Frankfort offers organic coffee, teas, beer, wine, cocktails and food, and its listening room draws nationally touring music artists. It’s a great destination for cyclists competing in the Horsey Hundred, the annual 100-mile ride across four Kentucky counties. At Kentucky Coffeetree you can order homemade and Kentucky Proud soups, salads, paninis, bratwurst, nachos and more. When you’re there, try the Southwestern Black Bean Corn and Salsa Wrap.
Stop by Broomwagon in Lexington to tune up your bike and fuel your body. This combination bike shop and cafe sells all types of bikes and offers a full range of parts, equipment and services. The cafe serves just about any coffee or tea drink you can imagine, and the menu includes brunch offerings, sandwiches, wraps, milkshakes and smoothies, all day. Try a BLT, with bacon, spinach, tomato, grilled onion, sriracha mayo grilled on sourdough or as a wrap. Or a Breakfast Wrap with two fried local eggs, tomato, mozzarella grilled in a flour tortilla. In the evening, the Broomwagon hosts live music, live comedy and trivia.
Located in an old train station in far eastern Kentucky, Roasted Appalachia is right across from the University of Pikeville. It serves coffee from Sunergos, a micro roastery in Louisville, and the menu includes breakfast and lunch. Try the Italian Panini with smoked ham, salami, tomato pesto, Italian dressing, provolone cheese, romaine leaves and sliced tomatoes on sundried tomato swirl bread. Check out the sweets selection, including German roasted pecans, old fashioned kettle fudge and baklava.
Written by Lisa Hornung for RootsRated Media in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.
Featured image provided by Ruth Außenhofer