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Coffee Travels: Kansas City

Andrew Pautler

Whenever I visit a new city, I always try to visit as many coffee shops as possible. Not only is it a great way to explore new, delicious coffee, but I’ve found it is one of the best ways to get a sense of the different neighborhoods and culture of a city.

My recent trip to Kansas City was no different. We were only there for three days, but we managed to visit six different coffee spots (which is quite an accomplishment when you have three kids under six along for the ride). Below I share some of my thoughts and some photos about each spot. They are listed in the order we visited them.

Second Best Coffee

We started the trip by grabbing coffee at Second Best. My wife got an iced latte (made with their Prototype Espresso) and I got a pour over of their current natural Ethiopian option. Both were delicious. The shop has a beautiful espresso machine and overall a really neat vibe.

Oddly Correct

We tried Oddly Correct the next morning and it probably came as the runner-up to my favorite. The shop just recently reopened in a beautiful, but slightly quirky space. The owner wood cuts and letterpresses each bag of coffee, which adds a really nice personal touch and hand-crafted feel to them. Their pour over station is super cool too. I tried a pour over of their Colombia Gladys Cruz that uses the lactic process and was so impressed I bought a bag to be able to enjoy and experiment a bit more at home.

Messenger Coffee Co

The next stop was Messenger. This shop was by far my favorite. If I lived in Kansas City, this would be my daily office. They share a space with their sister business, Ibis Bakery, and have a wonderful synergy between the two. It is a three floor space with each floor better than the next. It starts on the first floor with the bakery and the main coffee shop. The second floor is an open space with tables, a second, smaller coffee bar and an open space where they roast the coffee. The third floor is an open rooftop with tables to sit and enjoy amazing views of the city. It really is an amazing space and their coffee was equally as good. I tried their Ethiopian Bombe Natural while there and purchased a bag of Capital Del Mundo from El Salvador and Tulu Gola from Ethiopia. Both are farm direct coffees and both have been excellent as I’ve enjoyed them over the past week or two. As a plus, when it comes to branding, packaging and overall design, you can’t get much better than Messenger.

Made in KC Café

Our next stop was the Made in KC store in the Plaza. It is a beautiful collection of local resellers, but also includes a full bar and cafe. Our friend is one of the owners and creators and gave us an inside look at the awesome work they are doing. In their café they sell local coffee from Second Best, Hammerhand, Super Ego and a few others. I tried the nitro cold brew from Second Best and it was amazing.

Quay Coffee

Our last morning in Kansas City we headed to the River North area to hit Quay Coffee. They don’t roast their own coffee, but sell other local options like the Made in KC Café. I tried a pour over of Tero Farm, a washed Ethiopian from Hammerhand coffee (based in Liberty, Missouri). It was good, but was probably my least favorite of the trip. Quay Coffee is in a really cool area, but the actual coffee shop lacked some of the energy and personality that the others had.

McClain’s Bakery

Our final stop of the trip was to McClain’s Bakery. It’s a really neat spot with a lot of great personality and amazing baked goods. Our friends are the co-owners, so I may be a bit biased, but their almond croissant was one of the best I’ve ever had. They serve both Thou Mayest and Post Coffee Co coffee. We tried the espresso and some drip coffee and both were very good.

The Next Trip

We hit about as many as we could given the trip was only a few days. On our next trip I hope to hit:

  • Monarch
  • Café Equinox
  • Goat Hill
  • Post Coffee Co

Do you have any other suggestions? If so, please share them on Instagram and I’ll add them to my list!

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