For as long as I can remember I’ve been a coffee drinker. Latte, cappuccino, espresso: you name it, I like it. Beans from Guatemala, Tennessee, Italy, Indonesia and Brazil? No problem – I’ve brought them back from all these destinations to grind and brew in my own French press. Suffice to say, I’m a coffee lover.
That’s why my obvious first stop to Omni Nashville Hotel was Bongo Java, a favorite, beloved Nashville coffee shop that now houses its sixth location inside the hotel. Bongo Java is known around town for supplying 100 percent organic coffee that’s mostly bought directly from small-scale producers and for [likely] purchasing more organic and regional produce, meats and cheeses than any other restaurant group in town. Their beans are imported from around the world but shipped to Bongo Java’s very own roasting company located in the Gulch, an urban neighborhood in downtown Nashville. From there, the coffee is delivered to their cafes, each of which has their own identity, flavor and flair.
As I sat down for coffee talk with Bongo Java’s Manager Brandon Ross, I couldn’t help but think what a perfect partnership this was for both brands. Bongo Java is committed to being local and relevant, as is Omni. The hotel brand is known for showcasing and highlighting the local flavor of the destination in which it’s located, which is why it made perfect sense for them to bring in Bongo Java as a local partner.
As for their coffee beverages, I learned from Ross that all drinks are handmade – something unusual in this day and age. “Nobody is pushing a button and walking away,” said Ross. “The wait for drinks at our shop might be bit, but to get that delicious, hand crafted drink that tastes good and is made with fresh, quality ingredients, it’s going to take a little while.”
Ross went on to explain that throughout the year, two to three specialty drinks are permanently offered on the menu. When I was there “Five Points,” “West End” and “Broadway” were spotlighted. Each drink was incredibly innovative and made with ingredients you might not normally associate with your morning Joe, i.e., local honey and Whisper Creek Sipping Cream.
Seasonal beverages are chosen based on fun, light hearted in-house competitions between baristas. “In front of a judging panel, participating baristas present their concoctions and the three winning drinks are displayed throughout the season,” Ross explained. “For example, this past summer we offered a cucumber latte, available hot or cold, and a sage and ginger coffee made with espresso and club soda.”
As our conversation came to an end my eyes wandered around the shop and the art displayed on the walls. I had an instant favorite – three panels that read “I love you like biscuits and gravy,” “You’re the cream in my coffee” and “Keep on the sunny side.” It struck me again how locally-relevant and like-minded this brand was to Omni. Everything from the ingredients that go into their drinks to the art displayed is local and a true reflection of Nashville culture. The same could be said about Omni Nashville Hotel and the culturally relevant experiences they offer guests and customers. Bongo Java is just one of many examples.
|Written by Molly Phillips, Omni Hotels & Resorts.
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