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Behind the Bruin: Volleyball’s Kailee Bass on her quest for the quintessential coffee shop

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

When in search of your next favorite coffee shop, Kailee Bass has got your back.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect cup of joe or the optimum table size and lighting for a productive study session, Bass’ Instagram report cards break down the factors of some of the most popular — and many lesser-visited — coffee spots in Nashville.

The junior and her friends rate cafes around town, bringing together her obsession with java and her desire to explore Music City.

“I started with a couple of my teammates,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, let’s get out of the dorm and let’s go do something.’”

And off they went. Bass’ Instagram highlight reels now hold over a dozen report cards dedicated to coffee shops in the Nashville area.

Giving her Belmont followers something they didn’t know they needed, people message Bass asking for her recommendations — something that initially caught her off-guard, she said.

“I didn’t realize you were actually looking at these. They were just a funny joke that we were doing,” she said.

Inside or outside the borders of Tennessee, Bass is always looking for the next diamond in the rough, and located right near Belmont’s campus on Lindell Avenue, she found one.

“One place no one knows about is The Loading Dock,” she said. “It’s been my hidden gem and I love that place.”

Breaking her grading system down to six categories — table size, lighting, coffee, vibes, plants and productivity — Bass feels like she and her crew of friends are covering the basics while including some of flair in their review, she said.

“Plants,” she said. “We’ve always laughed about that part.”

Rating plants, among other things, and checking off shop after shop, Bass has barely made a dent in her list with over 70 coffee spots left to explore.

“There’s still so many places I want to go to and even sometimes when I’m out of this state, I try to highlight some great ones I’ve been to,” she said.

Volleyball teammates Izzy Shauer and Ally Peterson are some of those featured on Bass’ account, and together they nail down the details in their reviews.

Combining quality time with friends, fun coffee adventures and sometimes even getting a little homework done in the process, what drives Bass to keep reviewing has nothing to do with views, likes or money.

“I just keep doing it because I’ve noticed people really enjoy it,” Bass said.

The excitement of entering a coffee shop and smelling the roast of the beans, getting a sense of the feeling of the shop and the happiness that comes from doing something simply out of joy is what it’s about, she said.

So when in doubt about your early morning espresso or if you need a cozy cafe to focus on your studying, check out Bass’ report cards. You just might just find your new regular spot.

PHOTO: Kailee Bass’ review of The Loading Dock alongside a snap of Bass (right) and teammate Izzy Shauer at Barista Parlor in Germantown. Kailee Bass / Instagram

This article was written by Braden Simmons. Contributory writing by Jessica Mattsson.

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