The thriving coffee mecca of Kansas City hosts a spring Caffeine Crawl for the ages
BY SADIE RENEE
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Kansas City’s coffee scene continues to boom, and the birthplace of Caffeine Crawl never fails to put on a fantastic, caffeinated weekend. This year’s spring event showcased the city’s flavors and personalities well: doughnuts, tea creations, coffee cocktails and mocktails, juices, and more.
Doughnut Lounge kicked off our Friday night bike route with a shaken espresso-based mocktail, Chemex brews of Messenger Coffee, and of course, totally awesome doughnuts. Blip Roasters hosted us in their new space: After a fire incapacitated their previous roastery and cafe in the West Bottoms, they moved a few blocks over and have continued making great coffee, unfazed! In lieu of house-roasted beans (on hold until their roaster is back up and running), we sipped Broadway Roasting Co. brews and chatted with Ian. Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolates sent Crawlers home with two gorgeous chocolates: an Earl Grey-infused ganache, and a Roasterie coffee-infused caramel, created specially for Caffeine Crawl. Uppers and downers were in full swing at Bier Station, wrapping up the Friday night bike route with coffee beers and big smiles.
We enjoyed a roasting demo at Second Best Coffee, with beans pulled from the roaster at minute intervals for easy color-change observation. Such a great (and deliciously aromatic) experience! Brent’lee welcomed us to McLain’s Bakery and Cafe with a spread of house-made treats and drip brew from Thou Mayest to celebrate 70 years of neighborhood goodness.
Shang Tea took us through a tasty exploration of tea and demystified some commonly misused terms while we sipped delicious samples. We sipped œuppers upstairs at Thou Mayest (a seasonal Peru drip brew) and œdowners downstairs (a great coffee cocktail comprised of house cold brew, Fernet-Branca, Luxardo Amaro, Cointreau, and simple syrup).
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse blew us away with a fantastic spread of house-baked treats and beverages: the pesto stuffed pretzel, coffee chocolates, and, of course, the famous vegan ‘sausage cheddar’ scone were crowd favorites. Health and happiness awaited at the newly open Unbakery and Juicery in the form of fabulous peanut butter protein balls accompanied by a house-made golden milk toddy, and insight from Robin Krause on the up-and-coming Kansas City neighborhood of East Brookside.
Matcha took center stage at Tea Market, but the David Rio chai and several other house-brewed samples were also delightful. Crows Coffee served up four amazing house made cocktails/mocktails: a Grey-Line Panna Cotta, a Berry Roobios Cosmopolitan, a Mango Fool, and an Apple Caraway Espresso Punch, all of which were amazing (and, you can get the recipes here!). We nibbled house-made granola bars and sipped a delicious, fizzy, chai soda in some epic throwback “glassware” at Mildred’s Coffeehouse. Hugo Tea chai never fails to impress, and a special deal on the famous steamed-egg breakfast sandwiches kept Crawlers fueled for the next stops.
We sipped Messenger Coffee French Press brews and a freshly made strawberry apple juice on the patio at The Filling Station, and headed out with sample bags of whole-bean Peru for our home brew bars, as well. The Roasterie took us to ‘cold brew school’ in the cupping lab, with samples of regular and nitro cold brew, and a great explanation of the differences in brewing processes and dilution ratios.
Stacy welcomed us to the patio at One More Cup with a tasty specialty drink: L’Chai-M, a combination of Hugo Tea chai, half-and-half, and LaCroix orange sparkling water. She shared the community focus of the cafe and handed out stamped postcards to write notes to a friend, which we did while nibbling house-made apricot jam bars.
Crawlers headed home with swag bags full of treats from Wholesome Sweeteners, Yelp KC, and more. We couldn’t have asked for a better Spring KC Caffeine Crawl, and can’t wait for the fall edition! Cheers to a city where the beverage scene keeps it coming. We’re proud to call KC home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm, and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Renee is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans that make them. A KCMO native loving life in Fort Collins, Colo., she spends most of her time drinking extravagant amounts of coffee and planning the next Caffeine Crawl for The LAB. When she’s not on a plane to a beverage destination, you can find her conducting research at a local brewery or pouring the occasional latte behind the bar at Everday Joe’s Coffehouse. After she lets her dog take her for a long, vivacious walk around the neighborhood, she likes to soak up some mountain magic and wind down with a good cocktail.