Three Brothers: Best coffee in Music City


Brady Jordan, Staff Writer

Three Brothers smells like the start of a great day. 

The staff is incredibly friendly and personable. 

My travels have brought me to many places. The routine is always the same. Get coffee, Take photos and write a few notes about what makes a place unique.

I review coffee shops because they are something special to me as a creative, and as a fellow man. I don’t spend $5 on a coffee just for the heck of it, I’m here for the experience. I’m a firm believer that a coffee shop can be a cultural intersection. No matter what walk of life, class, creed or orientation, a coffee shop can bring them all together under one roof. 

Those of you who have seen my previous coffee columns will know that this is something I constantly emphasize with any shop. It’s my yardstick of quality, as any shop can make good coffee, but not every shop can make a good community. 

Seeing as this was the final print issue of the Flor-Ala for the semester, I wanted to put a little more character into my caffeinated recommendations. So, I hopped in the car and drove 2 hours north up to Nashville (while adhering to all CDC guidelines, and then some folks, so don’t yell at me). 

The destination: my favorite shop in the Music City, Three Brothers Coffee. Located just down the road from Vanderbilt University, the shop plays host to a variety of demographics from busy college students, to hungry city executives and artists. 

The shop itself is quite large and offers a variety of socially distanced tables and bar seats by the front window. As you enter, you are greeted by the smell of coffee, apple butter and good vibes. There’s really no way to describe it, Three Brothers just smells like the start of a great day. 

The atmosphere is welcoming enough to ease the nerves of even the most stressed out college student. Studying for a test? Grab a table and study. Working on Homework? Come get an Americano. Just completely bombed said test? You know what to do. 

The shop itself is in a pretty nice part of town, and even offers free customer parking out back in an area where numerous hungry tow trucks are on the prowl for their next victim. It’s also both adjacent and connected to a popular local outdoor supply store, Cumberland Gap (which is also a must to check out after you finish your coffee). The welcoming atmosphere at Three Brothers also extends to their menu, which isn’t overly complex to the point of overwhelming, but also not lacking in any matter of options. 

When asked for a personal recommendation, the cashier (Matt was his name), recommended a Columbian Asoagroambiente Americano (coffee sourced from a local roaster, Stay Golden). 

An Americano is a great drink to try at a shop for the first time for a variety of reasons. It’s taste is always smooth, and not nearly as harsh as a regular black coffee. An Americano is simply one or two espresso shots diluted with water, so it leaves a very pleasant “tea-like” aftertaste. It’s simplicity also allows you to taste all of the different special undertones of a coffee blend. Mine had hints of fruit and fudge, which made for an especially good aftertaste. If you really want to taste the character of a shop, order a locally-sourced Americano as your first drink (Don’t forget to also get water! Hydrate or “Die”-drate!). 

There is also free guest wifi provided for those who need it (the password is on the receipt, so don’t forget to ask for it!) However, Three Brothers doesn’t just specialize in coffee, they also offer a simple, yet solid menu of food items. My personal favorite was the breakfast sandwich, which was perhaps the best food item I’ve ever had from any coffee shop. Period. 

It contains the usual toppings, with sausage and eggs between what appears to be a typical English Muffin. However, when you add a small serving of Sriracha sauce and apple butter, the sandwich erupts to life in your taste buds. When combined with the aforementioned Americano, it provided an excellent-tasting energize to kickstart my day in Nashville (If you’re reading this, thanks for the recommendations Matt!).

Even during the pandemic, the shop feels nothing short of welcoming. Numerous health measures are in place. From the hand sanitizer at the counter and all the masked employees, down to the spaced out seating area and mask requirement until customers reach their table. In a state where mask orders are slightly shaky, Three Brothers Coffee stands firm in the protection of their customers.

Everything aesthetically is also well thought out. The handcrafted wooden tables and pipe frame supports pair well with the overhead lights to create an industrial, yet hickory feel to the space. Some might be surprised to find a vintage bicycle suspended in mid air above them as they order. The walls are also adorned with the work of local artists on sale, providing another pillar of support to a local vibrant community. There is also a long corridor adorned with various markings outside the front entrance to the shop. Often times the mural itself has proved more popular than the shop, with it’s #adornment proving to be a gateway of discovery for those who stumble into a wonderful coffee space right next to it. 

Having read all of this praise, it might surprise you to learn that I’ve only visited this shop twice, but the wonderful customer experience I’ve gotten is like no other shop within 180 miles, so twice is plenty to cement it as my go-to any time I’m going through the 615.

All in all, Three brothers takes southern hospitality, excels at it, and then some.