It’s October. You know what time it is.
It’s pumpkin spice season!
Some people love it, while others hate it.
Pumpkin spice lovers are often the brunt of jokes. But that’s OK. Because if you like it, you’re willing to take that hit.
Every single coffee shop in town, whether chain or locally owned, has spice-something on the menu.
Red Bicycle Murfreesboro owner Jason Day isn’t ashamed to fall into the trend (pun intended).
“It’s a coffee shop,” Day admitted. “You can’t not have fall drinks at a coffee shop.”
He’s got a “Latte Love for Fall” menu featuring five hand-crafted drinks prepared with house-made syrups, spice blends and two shots of espresso each — except for the non-caffeinated Caramel Apple Spice.
The Daily News Journal’s intern, Darby McCarthy, joined me recently as we sampled an array of autumn-themed beverages at Red Bicycle Murfreesboro (1733 St. Andrew’s Drive).
Traditionally served chilled, this drink tastes like blended apple pie filling poured over ice, with the consistency of a cider. Icing on the drink is a drizzle of caramel. Definitely a must-try.
Brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon carry the flavor profile on this solid winter espresso drink. Although pretty when served, the heavy dusting of cinnamon is best mixed well into the drink. We had this one served over ice, but you can get it hot.
If you like hot, spicy foods, Bon Fire is the one to try. Espresso is blended with dark chocolate for a robust base, followed by cinnamon and finally, a kick of cayenne at the back of your tongue. I was not a fan, but my coffee-testing cohort said the flavor wasn’t sacrificed by the spicy kick.
Of all the pumpkin spice drinks I’ve sampled, this one is the mildest. Day said he wanted the coffee to be the star of the show, and it is. Blended with brown sugar and cinnamon, I think even pumpkin spice haters would like it.
Both of us chose this as our favorite. The rich mocha with marshmallow is not overpoweringly sweet. It’s topped with a cloud of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, topped with graham cracker crumbles, and it tastes just like a liquid s’more.
To accompany his fall drinks, Day is introducing two new food items. Pumpkin French Toast is drizzled with house-made pumpkin cream cheese glaze.
Of course, Red Bicycle is known for crepes. So Day added one cooked in cinnamon and butter, smothered in apples cooked in butter, cinnamon, caramel, walnuts and topped with caramel drizzle.
Along with putting new items on the menu, Day is adding a second Murfreesboro location for Red Bicycle. He’s renovated the space at 13 S. Public Square, formerly Bink’s Outfitters, and hopes to have it open around Thanksgiving. Along with having a cafe, he’s building a roastery in the adjacent space. Follow his progress on Facebook and Instagram.
Here are some other locally-owned coffee cafes in Rutherford County where you can find delicious pumpkin spice drinks.
‘Latte’ more news: Red Bicycle to open second Murfreesboro location this summer
900 Grammar Lane, Suite 220
Focus of Bella Vista is fair-trade coffee and fresh, made-from-scratch local products. So fall is the perfect time to try them. Follow on Instagram and Facebook.
The PSL Elevated, the cafe’s version of the classic pumpkin spice latte, is drizzled with house-made pumpkin syrup.
Le Cocossette is inspired by a traditional Venezuelan wafer with vanilla and coconut filling. This latte made of white chocolate, coconut and hazelnut syrup.
Warm Hug is a latte with house-made brown sugar-cinnamon syrup.
Amai matchaa, or sweet matcha in Japanese, is the shop’s signature, organic matcha that is made to order.
Masala Chai latte is made with masala chai, a spiced tea. The aromatic spices are hand-blended and freshly ground for a unique and vivid taste.
115 Front St., Smyrna
If you want a good cup of coffee in Smyrna, including a traditional pumpkin spice latte, Carpe Cafe is a good place to find one. Carpe Cafe even offers an iced version made with the same espresso and flavoring, topped with whipped cream.
If you’re not in the mood for the strong flavor of espresso, Carpe Cafe offers pumpkin spice brewed coffee from a local roaster. It’s only offered during the fall.
Follow on Instagram and Facebook.
Just Love Coffee, Murfreesboro
1440 Medical Center Parkway; 129 MTCS Road; 2863 Old Fort Parkway
Coffee is not an afterthought at Just Love. It’s the primary focus. Espresso is blended with scratch-made pumpkin puree. It’s not an overpowering pumpkin taste, but you can request a few pumps of pumpkin syrup. Visit justlovecoffeecafe.com/ to check out info at each location.
410 E. Lytle St.
You’ll find small batch coffee roasted on site at Brass Horn. Owner Jeremy Florida has also created a fall drink menu.
Fall foliage is a pumpkin spice latte with house-made vanilla whip. Razzle-dazzle is a white chocolate-raspberry latte. On the third Thursday, Brass Horn will serve up cranberry iced coffee soda, a refreshing alternative to hot lattes.
Follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Reach reporter Nancy DeGennaro at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up with restaurant news by joining Good Eats in the ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and follow Murfreesboro Eats on TikTok. Darby McCarthy contributed to this report.
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