So we are a family of coffee lovers. Not sure it is the best parenting move, but our 16 yr old uses our Rancilio Sylvia to make herself a double shot espresso every day before school. The kids have been part of making espresso coffee shots since they were super tiny toddlers. We have two pound bags of freshly roasted beans from The Roasterie delivered to our front door every week. That’s 104 lbs a year. So it isn’t too far of a stretch to know that this year Lily and I decided to try out as many locally owned Kansas City Coffee shops as we could find and figure out our favorites. We always got the same drink – a latte in a ceramic cup. Milk for Lily and soy/almond or oat for me. We had a rating system including Taste, Atmosphere, Art (the design in the froth of the milk or milk substitute) and Clientele (we like a good diverse crowd of culture, age, hipsters and not, and just in general good people.) This was such a fun way for us to explore Kansas City and visit local businesses that we hadn’t discovered and most importantly a great way to spend time with my kid! What’s next? Maybe a donut tour with the 13yr old? hmmmm.
Our top five are listed first – then the rest in no particular order. We revisited our top five and added a few extra categories including feeling from barista, smoothness/taste, aftertaste and overall experience.
Messenger Coffee Company
We had to delay our visit to this new space a couple weeks as several times we drove by it had a line DOWN THE STREET! But oh, once we got in we were in love. What a gorgeous space! The coffee was perfection and the pastry/breads from Ibis Bakery were amazing. Walking through this space I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be to have a wedding here! In fact, if there are any coffee lovers that DO figure out a way to have their wedding here I will give a serious discount on your film if you call me!!!! Average 20/20
Second visit: Still amazing! Such tasty coffee with a smoothness that we both loved, and perhaps the best croissant outside of Paris that I have ever tasted. We can’t seem to walk out of here without a few loaves of bread and Lily splurged on some whole beans to grind at home!
This place is just adorable. The baristas are also adorable. It is tiny and just adorable. We are probably very lucky that we don’t live closer to this one as I am pretty sure I would live here.
Second visit: We got overly excited when we saw an Ibis bakery truck parked outside. We learned there is a bakery around the corner but they were out of loaves that weren’t full of nuts. Not sure where the Ibis people were, but that truck was a tease. Once we had our coffee and were sitting in this sweet space we recovered quickly. 🙂 Another adorable puppy to love on – this one’s name was Juno and we fell in love. I really love the neighborhood in Westside and Lily and I both loved talking with the barista here and getting to know Juno and her person. They did a great job with art and Oat milk as well. I am finding that I prefer it to Soy and Almond milk.
Broadway roasting company
I’ve loved this shop for years. I remember coming here when I was in high school. It has a wonderful vibe and a pretty amazing group of regulars and patrons. I love the diversity of this place and can always count on some interesting characters and great people watching.
Average ~ 18/20
Second visit: This visit started off with a visit from the sweetest Great Dane ever. We waited outside with him while his person ran in to get a cup of coffee for his walk back. Gotta love a coffee shop where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger and then hang out with their dog for 10 minutes with their full trust. The coffee was amazing of course! One of my favorite things about this shop is that they were able to withstand a Starbucks that opened several doors down a few years back. Starbucks is now gone and Broadway Roasting is going strong!
Average ~ 24.25/25
This is another new space downtown and we are in love. The coffee bar is in the center of the large room and surrounded by the most beautiful light. The tile floor is one of my most favorites and of course the coffee was perfection! Another one that I could see a special little wedding ceremony taking place. It is odd I want people to get married in my favorite coffee shops?
Second visit: Love the open feel of this shop and great strong coffee! It is a little stronger than Messenger on the first sip, which I like.
I love this little shop. What a great place to start off a tour of City Market or meet a client or do some work! The coffee was wonderful and the baristas super easy going.
Second visit: Still love Quay! Both visits were at the River Market shop – they just opened a new space inside the Nelson-Atkins but we were working on staying consistent so did our second visit back at River Market. Great coffee and wonderful art even with the soy milk! Can’t wait to check out the shop at the Nelson soon!
Here are the rest of the shops we visited in no particular order – other than putting Thou Mayest first b/c that is really one of my most favorites. Hey, its my list, I can do what I want.
Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters
I really like this spot – I am not sure why it didn’t score higher. You get the feeling like you have walked into a scene from a Wes Anderson film. Very cozy, cool space. Sam and I have been back over the holiday for a living room style concert with The Blackbird Review and their cocktails are also amazing!
Filling Station Coffee (midtown)
We both really liked this place – there are several locations with one not too far from us on Johnson Drive. I am pretty sure each of them have once been a gas station in a previous life. 🙂 This is one of Lily’s favorites to go to for some away from home studytime.
This is a super sweet little Vegan coffee shop – their Oat milk was so good that even Lily didn’t even notice that it wasn’t real milk. It is pretty tiny inside but they have a super cute little patio in the back that we sat in and loved that space.
Great little bustling shop with a great atmosphere to meet with friends or do some work – great food here too! Love the feeling inside – so cozy!
We both REALLY LOVE McLain’s. The food is amazing and the coffee really good – I’m not sure what went wrong on this day – I think perhaps there was an issue with the latte art? It is a great place to go when you want a good cup of coffee and also are starving. Double chocolate cookie is my most favorite. The cinnamon rolls look AMAZING.
Another Waldo shop near my old studio – This used to be a Coffee Girls which I visited often when I was working over there. Still a cool space.
We were at the Union Hill location for this visit. What a pretty restaurant! Really lovely and would be a great place for brunch or a nice lunch/dinner.
This is a sweet little shop in the West Bottoms that we visited on a Sunday Morning and it was full of regulars and many looked like they were getting ready for a motorcycle ride. The shop is really HUGE and caters to motorcyclists, with gear and interesting merch and they roast their own beans. We loved the shop dog, Shantelle who was super friendly and just wandered through the place looking for pats.
One More Cup
I’ve always loved this little shop – it is right down the street from my old Waldo studio. It is full of locals and I think we heard two people get their “regular” when they ordered. So sweet. Love community shops like this. One other big plus – Hana’s donuts.
Second Best Coffee
This is a great space with cool simple design in South Waldo. It is on the East side of Wornal and although it has been there for several years, I never saw it from the street. Lots of cool cycling stuff and a super cool old-school road bike that Sam recognized when I sent him a pic.
Love this little coffee shop – super tiny and adorable. Great coffee and just so cozy with just a few tables. We ended this visit with a trip to Hana’s Donuts in KCK. Such good donuts and Hana was super sweet to make sure that my donuts weren’t sitting next to any evil nuts! 🙂
We didn’t make it to this tiny little shop until a very frigid day and didn’t feel right giving them a score when we couldn’t drink it there. It has great coffee and is perfect for a quick stop or to sit outside when the weather is nice. It is the size of a child’s play house but perhaps the cutest little space ever. Plus Annedore’s chocolate is pretty much next door.
NOTE: We didn’t review The Roasterie here mostly because we have such a love affair with their beans. We HAVE been to all their locations in Kansas City and they never disappoint! Their shop is always bustling and full of great folks. We drink their coffee every morning and perhaps I am completely spoiled by my own barista husband who has my two shots poured and waiting for me to ice down every morning.
ANOTHER NOTE: We stuck to coffee shops mostly in the mid/downtown Kansas City MO area. I know there are a bunch of great locally owned shops in Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa and surrounding areas as well. Part of this adventure was exploring our city together and we focused on the urban part of KC. Perhaps this Spring we will add to our list with some of the suburban shops too as I know there are lots more good cups of coffee waiting for us here too!
Hope this list gives you a few ideas of great little spots to try a good cuppa coffee in Kansas City other than Starbucks! Kansas City has a pretty amazing Coffee culture and you owe it to yourself to get out there and try some of them!