This time of year, gift guides are a dime a dozen, so to do something different, how about a guide supporting local Kansas City businesses? This is all stuff you can find here in the City of Fountains (or darn close by) and for you out-of-towners, you can probably buy a lot of these items online. Coffee people are easy to buy for because you can always buy them a few bags of coffee.
There are TONS of great cafés and roasters in the area and some of my favorites like PT’s and Parisi aren’t even on the list below. I love a lot of places that I didn’t include on the list below and that is NOT a reflection of these companies or what I think of them.
There are a LOT of coffee roasters in Kansas City and I learn about new ones all the time, so this isn’t a comprehensive list. Paying in the $13-$17 range for a 12-ounce-ish bag of coffee is about right as far as prices go. Keep in mind that a 12 oz bag of coffee is good for quite a few cups of Joe (at least 11, if you brew like me, and potentially twice that many depending on how your person does it). This is for premium, high grade coffee. Compare that to what a great bottle of wine costs and the value is clear.
Oddly Correct (Midtown) – Oddly Correct have been on the front end of the exploding coffee scene in Kansas City for good reason. Everything for sale in their shop is fresh and they roast a couple doors down, so it doesn’t get much better than that. I have never had a bad coffee from here and their tasting descriptions are pretty spot-on, so ask for help if you don’t know which of 2-3 choices that are usually available at the time. I am a big fan of their Ethiopia naturals. They also print their own woodblock prints, often coffee-related, so there are some other gift ideas you’ll see there.
Second Best (Waldo) – Just started roasting their own coffee within the past 1-2 months and they’re doing a good job of it. These guys put their hearts into their shop and their products. They will steer you in the right direction, so just ask for help and they’ll tell you about the choices they have available. They also carry a small selection of some really awesome coffee from away, so you may see something that you’re interested and that’s OK, too, even if it isn’t from Kansas City! 🙂
Benetti’s (Raytown) – I haven’t gotten the chance to visit this Raytown shop yet but I have yet to hear anyone say anything bad about them and I’ve had some of their coffee and it’s great. I saw some smaller sample bags (which are awesome for gifts) at About the Coffee recently, so you may find a selection at that small Midtown shop (more on About the Coffee below). If you can get Benetti’s Adado, do so.
Messenger – A relatively new roaster in Kansas City, but one who is making big moves. They recently bought the Filling Station business, so you can find Messenger Coffee at those locations, online, and probably at some of the shops who brew their coffee like Black Dog in Overland Park and Homer’s (downtown OP). I love their Adado.
Red Headed Philosopher (Waldo) – Weird name, great coffee, that’s all you need to know! He sources all organic beans and sells them in from their Waldo shop. I like the way he roasts Mexican coffees.
Not everyone wants more STUFF, even if it is consumable like coffee, so if you and your giftee are more experience-based, read on!
Thou Mayest – I love this place. It’s in the Crossroads Arts District and it has an awesome interior built by our local boys, Utilitarian Workshop. It’s a bar as well as a coffee roaster/cafe, so you can get top notch coffee any time of day and coffee-based cocktails or any other type of drink your heart desires after about 10AM or so, I think! They have coffee and merch available, too. I love my TM hobo mug.
The Roasterie – This is a BIG local company and you can find their coffee everywhere in Kansas City. They offer tours of their roasting and packaging facility (have you seen the big airplane in the Midtown skyline? That’s the place!) that are supposed to be fun.
Broadway Cafe – Simply the best people-watching in Kansas City, during regular hours (staying until close at the Cigar Box, then going to Chubby’s is THE best, if you really want to know, but who can stay out until 2-3AM anymore?). Broadway has good coffee, a nice selection of bagged beans, and is simply a fun place to camp out and people-watch. Best in the warmer times of year when you can sit on the row of chairs in front of the shop and see everybody’s tattoos, but I love Broadway any time of the year.
Quay Coffee – This is a cool little café in the River Market area. The interior is awesome and they use a couple of different coffee brands. I like this place best when it is kind of a dark and murky morning. It has that kind of feel to it. Hit Quay and then walk around the River Market and finish with breakfast at the Farmhouse (?????) for Kansas City’s answer to the played-out “brunch scene” so many towns try to prop up.
Maps Coffee – Vince, owner of Maps and Velo+ bike shop, is a modern Renaissance man. If your giftee is a bike geek, too, just bypass all these other places and come straight here. Vince will help you spend your money on the coolest stuff ever! He roasts coffee right in the shop, sells it at a great price, and also offers guest roasting experiences where you and your coffee geek can actually come to the shop, blend and roast your own coffee (with Vince’s help, of course). Talk about a great gift idea! And you can bag and give out your coffee as gifts, promotional ideas, or just get the ultimate buzz by drinking all of it (preferably in at least two sittings! LOL)
Kaldi’s (Country Club Plaza) – While not technically a KC company because Kaldi’s is based out of St. Louis, they have six cafés here in town and they give a lot of jobs to Kansas Citians, so they get a pass because we’ve adopted them. Thanksgiving and beyond in KC means the Plaza lights go on. I can’t think of any holiday tradition that is more Kansas City than walking the Plaza and enjoying the lights. Hit Kaldi’s for a medium Brown Sugar Rosemary Latte and then have a stroll. You’ll love it, even if you do feel like a tourist. It’s a classic experience for a reason, so don’t be too cool for school.
About the Coffee – This is your place to go if you’re looking for something more permanent to give. They have cool stuff and unless you’re a coffee junkie you probably won’t know what 75% of it even is for, but they will help you out. If your giftee has an espresso machine at home that they use a lot, you can get a SWEET Reg Barber tamper (don’t worry about the price. It will last forever), you can get a complete pourouver brewing setup like a Chemex or Hario V60 or NotNeutral Gino, with the filters, etc. Not the easiest place in the world to find and they don’t even have a sign, but worth the visit and they carry a nice selection of small sample sized bags of coffee that run in the $5-$6 range, so you can buy a bunch and try them all out without breaking the bank or feeling guilty about having 10 bags of coffee open and dying on the counter!