The 6th Caffeine Crawl Through Kansas City Proves There’s Still Plenty to See ”Er, Taste
By Sadie Cowell
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
The coffee, the people, that familiar royal blue. . . Caffeine Crawls in Kansas City are a whole different kind of magic as we watch Crawlers connect with their beverage heroes in the city where much of specialty-coffee’s story began. The Roasterie kicked off the caffeinated weekend with a Friday night latte art throwdown at its roasting space, and we sipped coffee and beer as baristas poured their way to victory.
2014 United States Latte Art Champion Simeon Bricker took first place and a Baratza Encore Grinder, with Ashtin Bryde coming in a close second. On the Crawl, Mike and Ashtin served up savory coffee pairings: peanut butter pretzels with a Kenyan pourover, aged gouda with a Guatemalan french press, and fudge brownies with a drip-brewed Sumatran.
Parisi’s pairing game was also on point, and we trustingly followed Kate’s instructions to don blindfolds and focus on flavor: Rwanda with fig newtons and raisinettes preceded Ethiopia with Juicy Fruit gum for a deliciously nostalgic experience.
As thunderclouds rolled in overhead, Crawlers gathered under the garage door on the edge of Blip Coffee Roasters‘ eclectic space in the West Bottoms. To the backdrop of motorcycles and exposed brick, we sipped Guatemala pourovers from Regal cups, and cold brew from Alchemy Coffee in Lawrence, while Ian and Conrad shared the cultural pull that brought them to the West Bottoms.
Thou Mayest pulled out all the stops by sharing a limited-release whiskey barrel-aged coffee, and Torn Label Cafe Dubbel paired with espresso. Blurring the lines between a.m. and p.m. was never more delicious.
At the soon-to-open roasting space and cafe of Messenger Coffee, we were ushered into a freight elevator and lifted between floors as we sipped cold brew and absorbed the captivating potential of the old building. The Filling Station served up Messenger’s espresso as ristretto shots over soy coconut ice cream for a delicious affogato.
Community is the focus at One More Cup, and we munched granola on the patio with iced chai to wash it down as Stacy shared stories, and Tyler from Hugo Tea talked chai recipes. Second Best served up its latest offering: nitro cold brew! It fizzed refreshingly into our cups and we sipped and savored the unique flavors.
Crows Coffee took its house-made chai to a new level with a DIY take-home chai bar: We sniffed, scooped, and blended, and left with baggies filled with spicy-sweet mixtures to brew in the future.
Playing true or false at Shang Tea over pours of oolong and house-made chai left us all a little wiser in the art of the ancient beverage, and the calming atmosphere of the tea house was a welcome reprieve. Mud Pie served an impressive array of delicious pastry samples, paired with pourovers and their signature Dirty South chicory au laits with cashew and hemp milk.
The famed Caffeine Crawl chocolate fix inclusion was certainly up to snuff in Kansas City: Elbow Chocolate served house-made mochas with its signature drinking chocolate and samples of coffee ganache. At Andre’s, we received a tour of the production room and mochas to sip with foil-wrapped chocolate hearts on the side. Crawlers, now caffeinated, took home Yelp KC tote bags with copies of Barista Magazine, KC Crawl sleeves from Sleeve A Message, Roasterie posters, and coupons from Parisi and One More Cup to keep the buzz going through next week. A big shoutout to Unic, Midwest Coffee Traders, and the other awesome sponsors: You help make the magic possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Colwell is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans behind them. Recently relocated from KCMO to Fort Collins, Colorado, you can find her behind the bar of Harbinger Coffee or hunkered down with a cappuccino, fervently planning the next Caffeine Crawl or blogging for The LAB. When she isn’t traveling to caffeinated cities, she drinks a lot of local beer and lets her dog take her for long, vivacious walks through City Park.