I recently “met” Laura Clark on Twitter and Instagram, and it turns out she is a barista and a trainer for Kaldi’s. This St. Louis based coffee roaster and cafe moved into the Kansas City market in a big way earlier this year by buying six Latteland locations throughout the city and converting them to Kaldi’s-branded shops. This was my first visit to one, for their holiday season signature drink, the Brown Sugar Rosemary Latte that Laura turned me on to. For many people the *$ PSL hitting menus means the holidays are here, but from now on Kaldi’s BSR will be the signal for me!
A little bit about the location itself… Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza is a high-end outdoor shopping area and it has been a mainstay of KC society since it opened in 1922 as the first shopping destination catering to automobiles. It’s modeled after the architecture of Seville, Spain and it’s pretty posh. I hit the Kaldi’s on the Plaza because that’s where I happened to be and it gets CRAZY down there from Thanksgiving until the new year because of the holiday lights (which really are beautiful!).
As you’d expect, the interior of the Plaza shop is pretty nice. It had a modern, but comfortable interior decked out in black and white and most of the baristas were sporting all-black attire. Even the sweet enamel mug I took home with me is black and white (I’m such a sucker for mugs and cups)! I ponied up to the small sitting area at the bar so I could get a good look behind the La Marzocco espresso machine and watch the baristas work.
In the 20 minutes or so I sat there I don’t think they served anything except for lattes (mostly vanilla, at that), except for one chai latte. LOL That’s probably pretty typical of Saturdays at a coffee shop like Kaldi’s, especially one located where it is. My small Brown Sugar Rosemary was $3.75 and it was probably around 8 ounces, if I had to guess, which is plenty! I don’t mind milk drinks but I am definitely a small cappuccino/cortado/Gibraltar/macchiato kind of guy, so a 20oz latte was definitely not on the menu for me that day.
I was REALLY surprised about how strong the rosemary flavor was, but I like rosemary, so it worked for me. It had nice sweetness both from the well-steamed milk as well as the syrup itself, but after 8oz I didn’t have a sugar goober or feel like it was too much. That small is the perfect size for this type of drink, as far as I’m concerned. I have a big sweet tooth and I feel like this had a nice balance between the savory flavor of the rosemary and the sweetness inherent to the drink. The texture was great and Laura definitely steered me in the right direction. I would caution people who aren’t sure about rosemary or aren’t huge fans of it to tread lightly with this drink because the rosemary is very forward and stays prominent throughout the cup, but for me this hit all the right spots! BSR>PSL any day of the week!