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Food recs: Kansas City's best coffee shops and cafes

A hand pours creamy foam into an iced coffee.
Kinship Cafe
Kinship Cafe is a Black-owned shop in Kansas City, Kansas, with colorful art, lush plants, and plenty of natural light — an ideal spot to sip a cold brew or scarf down a perfectly bronzed breakfast burrito, food writer Liz Cook says.

Whether you’re looking for a pour-over, a latte or a cold brew, Kansas City’s rich and robust coffee shop scene has something for everyone. These are some of the best spots in the metro to get your caffeine fix — and grab a bite, too.

Kansas City has no shortage of locally-owned coffee shops and cafes. The region is also home to a robust roasting community, which helps distill a unique Kansas City taste.

“We like that fruity, that’s kind of spicy or sharp when you drink it,” says David Horn, creator of the popular Instagram account Coffee Kansas City.

Freelance food writer Liz Cook heads to family-owned Café Ollama, a cozy shop on Southwest Boulevard, to hangout and drink café de olla, a traditional Mexican spiced coffee made with cinnamon and raw dark sugar.

“It's expanded really rapidly over the past few years and we've gotten a lot more unique options that are reflecting different cultural backgrounds, which I'm really excited about,” Cook told KCUR’s Up To Date.

Below Cook, Horn, and freelance writer Natalie Torres Gallagher recommend their favorite spots to grab a coffee and a bite in Kansas City.

Natalie Torres Gallagher:

  • Filling Station Westport is one of the busiest drive-thru coffee huts in town, and with good reason. Beans are sourced from Messenger Coffee and pastries are from Ibis Bakery. The staff is so cool, and the drive-thru loves meeting pets riding in your car. They’re so prepared, they even stock cat treats.
  • Café Corazón is a family-run operation that highlights the Latin American cultures where so much of the world’s coffee is grown. The drink menu is extensive, and don’t overlook the pastry case showcasing goods from local Argentine Patagonian bakers Pan Caliente KC.
  • The Wild Way Coffee Camper is a mobile coffee shop, but don’t be fooled by the lack of real estate. This woman-owned operation dreams up delicious creations like the She’s Passionate, featuring a poppy passion fruit caramel made by Novel’s Jessica Armstrong added to their steeped nitro cold brew.

  • Bisou owner Cait Marie has an eye for details, including two tall shelves stocked with a beautiful curated selection of coffee table books and literary classics. French vibes on point. Coffee is from Lenexa’s Maps Coffee & Chocolate and pastries come from Black Hole Bakery
  • Café Cà Phê is Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop. Beans are sourced from Vietnam and drinks feature flavors Kansas City doesn’t often see in coffee, like pandan, ube and lychee. Check out the Paris by Night, a latte featuring sesame milk, cayenne syrup and mocha syrup.

  • Two Sugars is owned by Victoria Rickart-Pontin and is maybe the best kept coffee secret in KC. There’s a fabulous patio and even more impressive pastries and desserts from scratch. Breakfast sandwiches, croissants and some of the best cinnamon rolls around. 
  • Mildred’s has great coffee roasted by Marcell wholesalers, but this bustling Crossroads spot specializes in breakfast, lunch and brunch. Try the breakfast sandwich made with steamed eggs, craveable all year round. 

Liz Cook: 

  • Café Ollama has a cozy living room vibe and drinks you won’t find anywhere else. The café de olla is the essential order, but don’t skip the specialty beverages, like the Mama Ines, a deceptively simple latte made with sweetened condensed milk.
  • Kinship Cafe is a Black-owned shop with colorful art, lush plants, and lots of natural light — an ideal spot to sip cold brew or scarf down a perfectly bronzed breakfast burrito. Meat-eaters have plenty of options. I prefer the vegan Breakfast Scrambler.  
  • Front Range is so many things at once: A bookstore, ice cream shop and bar that looks like it was designed by millennial John Muir. Opened by Made in KC, it has summer-camp vibes, plenty of room to spread out and coffee available until 10 p.m.
  • Take Care by Oleo has only improved on the atmosphere of the former Thou Mayest. The shop has great beans from Marcell Coffee, impeccable vibes, and offers light, medium, dark and decaf drip. They’re no-tip and service is always attentive.
  • Broadway Roasting Co. is a few blocks north of buzzy Broadway Cafe, a place of peace with a sunny patio and some of the most knowledgeable baristas in the city. Broadway also has my favorite locally-roasted beans, including in decaf. 
  • Waterbird Coffee Co. has an outstanding drip coffee. They source beans from Lawrence’s Repetition Coffee, and they offer fun, seasonally rotating specialty drinks, like a pistachio rose latte with housemade syrup. 
  • Sister Anne’s Records and Coffee is the place to feed your withering crust punk soul. Inside, find a full-service coffee shop brewing beans from Broadway Roasters, and an ever-changing case of coffee cakes and scones. Sister Anne’s has a couple tables, but half the fun is browsing the record collection with a drink in hand.

David Horn:

  • Chingu Coffee is local restaurateur Keeyoung Kim’s latest concept. Chingu, which means “friend” in Korean, roasts on-site and produces some of the tastiest coffees. They serve an array of breakfast bites and pastries. Baristas are super friendly, too.   
  • Café Equinox is inside Family Tree Nursery on Nieman Road. This branch of Thou Mayest Coffee is perfect during the winter months, when the seating area is housed in the enclosed, heated greenhouse. During the summer, enjoy the outdoor areas. 
  • Oddly Correct embodies the essence of Kansas City's vibrant coffee culture. With expertly crafted espressos and attentive pour-overs, they've been instrumental in shaping how coffee is enjoyed here. The espresso and pour-overs are must-try.
  • Goat Hill Coffee & Soda is cute and quaint and offers house-made syrups and Post Coffee. I stop in for the Seasonal Espresso Tonic or Latte on their frequently refreshed menu. Their house-made sodas won’t disappoint.
  • Splitlog Coffee opened in 2017 in Strawberry Hill. They have two rooftop patios for enjoying great weather and stunning views of downtown. They also have a drive-thru for those on the go!
  • Blip Roasters is a motorcycle coffee shop in the West Bottoms, but don't let the motorcycles scare you away. They’re super nice people and offer a basic menu with classic drinks you're sure to love.
  • Hand in Glove, in Downtown Lee’s Summit, serves coffee and some of the best coffee cocktails around. Try their Bourbon Vanilla Latte or Espresso Martini.

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
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