Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 4.00.59 PM co-founder, First Tiger, editor, and creative director Zachary Carlsen recently attended the Kansas City Caffeine Crawl. He survived – just barely – and this is his true story. 

We crawled all over Kansas City and visited some of the best coffee, tea, and chocolate shops in the Midwest. Next time you’re in Kansas City, do yourself a favor and go to all of these places:

Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard (9421 Mission Rd Leawood)


You know the deal? Foo’s opened in 1988 and is a Kansas City suburb institution.

What’s hot: Frozen custard affogatos. This off-the-menu treat features Foo’s famous custard. Impossibly smooth and pairs ridiculously well with a rotating selection of espresso from the Roasterie and Oddly Correct. Topped with a Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolate truffle.


One More Cup (7408 Wornall Road)


You know the deal? Husband and wife team Jeremy and Stacey (pictured below) opened up this multi-roaster cafe five years ago in the Waldo neighborhood. The warm and homey environment is a sight to be seen. “It’s an extension of our house,” says Stacey.

What’s hot: Steamed Toddy with milk and assorted nuts. Smooth, creamy, and delightful.

Stacey and

Oddly Correct (3940 Main St.)


You know the deal? Oddly Correct boasts a quickly rotating selection of coffees at their cafe space that’s barely approaching it’s first year in business. Five baristas run the show, including the just crowned South Central Barista Champion Tyler Rovenstine.

What’s hot: Have yourself a hand-made pour-over of coffee and take home some fine leather crafts.


Shang Tea (2450 Grand Blvd)


You know the deal? Shang (pictured above) spends up to ninety days in China each year (April and September) to keep an eye on the harvests of the single farm Shang Tea sources from. The shop has been open since 2007 and is revered in Kansas City. This is high quality tea, friends.

What’s hot: Tangerine Blossom Red Tea.

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Quay Coffee (412 Delaware)


You know the deal? Quay (pronounced “key”) opened up in June 2012 and serves Oddly Correct and Four Barrel Coffee. Cory and Tanner (pictured above) served us three Chemex coffees brewed with three different filters (including this Etsy sock we’d never seen before.)

What’s hot: Ask your barista if they’ve got something special.

Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse (1615 W. 39th St)


You know the deal? MPVC opened two and a half years ago, and owners Sharon Hughes and Michael & Ashley Valverde whip out amazing in-house baked goods and vegan drinks. Barista Leo Harrysson told us, “We’re family. Mud Pie doesn’t feel like work, it feels like home.” P.S. The kids room (pictured below) might be haunted. Ask Michael to tell you some stories.

What’s hot: London Smog – Earl Grey tea, homemade coconut milk, and chocolate.

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About The Coffee & PT’s Coffee (3185 Terrace St)


You know the deal? About The Coffee is run by Tootie and Marty (pictured above.) “They are the Mom and Dad of specialty coffee in Kansas City,” LatteLand barista Laura Clark tells us. On the Caffeine Crawl, Topeka’s PT’s Coffee brought Slayer Espresso’s Scott Baldwin (pictured below) and pulled shots of Natural Panama Elida Estate, while baristas outside brewed it in a Chemex and Marty inside brewed it in a Kyoto Dripper.

What’s hot: Go to ATC for glass-blown tampers, gram scales in secret CD jewel cases, and friendly banter with Tootie and Marty.


Broadway Cafe & Roasting Company (4012 Washington)


You know the deal? Broadway Cafe has been around since 1992. It’s a Kansas City institution. The company began roasting in 1998, with John Cates (pictured above) at the helm. “John was banging out tapered spouts on milk pitchers before latte art was even a thing,” a Kansas City coffee pro told us.

What’s hot: Get a cappuccino. They’ve been doing it right for around twenty years.

The Filling Station (2980 McGee Trfwy)

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You know the deal? Filling Station has been around for nine years – and serves KC in five locations. Baristas like Portland transplant Danny Mills (pictured below) pulls shots of Broadway Espresso and makes pour overs of Oddly Correct, while slinging specialized juices and a full lunchtime menu. Also, your mom drinks decaf.

What’s hot: Go here for lunch and get everything. They have a sweet potato juice and if you ask nicely you might get a sample of their bourbon Toddy (it’s made with bourbon instead of water.)


Benetti’s Coffee Experience (4106 Broadway)


You know the deal? Benetti’s Coffee Experience has been open for near seven years. Its owner, Ben Helt, runs the roasting operation with two other folks. The cafe is built inside a remodeled 1930s home. There coffees are extraordinary – and on the day we visited, Dibyo (pictured below) was present to speak about quality coffees from Sumatra.

What’s hot: The drip coffees off the Fetco are delightful – and the espresso off the Linea is sublime.


Annedore’s Fine Chocolate & Hi Hat Coffee (5006 State Line)


You know the deal? Hi Hat is situated in a tiny brick house next to Annedore’s Fine Chocolates. Come to Hi Hat for out of this world Pumpkin Spice Lattes and outdoor seating with a pleasant view of the park. Annedores’s, making candies for over twenty-five years, specializes in quality confectionery (Dark Imperials are like biting into a drinking chocolate.)

What’s hot: The Aztec Hot Chocolate from Hi Hat paired with a Zebra-Print Chocolate Pump (pictured below)


Crossroads Coffeehouse (310 Southwest Blvd.)


You know the deal? Crossroads carries PT’s Coffee and Intelligentsia. While we were there a group of ten illustrators were gathered while thirty Caffeine Crawlers took the space – but it didn’t matter because Crossroads is enormous. A stage to the left for live concerts, a full menu of foods, and a groovy gravy vibe make this place perfect for chilling out.

What’s hot: The Boulevard Ale Cheddar Soup with pretzel bread and a cup of Caramel Apple Cider.

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Homer’s Coffee House & E.F. Hobbs Coffee (7126 W 80th St Overland Park)


You know the deal? Homer’s is the jumping off ground for a lot of KC baristas. It’s another Crossroads like place – enormous, live music, a full ice cream freezer – serving E.F. Hobbes (that’s roaster Stubby pictured above). The cafe has been around for twelve years and is a not-for-profit company with a Christian edge.

What’s hot: We paired E.F. Hobbes coffees with house made scones.

Parisi Artisan Coffee (5245 W 116th Pl Leawood)


You know the deal? Parisi has been brewing since 2011. The owners put Kate Blackman to task at designing the company’s beverage and food program – and it’s truly impressive. From the perfect coffees to a curated wine list – Parisi even has batch-made cocktails. Put Parisi is on our list of top five favorite places in Kansas City.

What’s hot: The coffee is great – but the Dark & Stormy blew our minds.

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RevoCup Coffee (11030 Quivira Overland Park)


You know the deal? Habte Mesfin (pictured above) donates ten cents of every cup of coffee sold at his Overland Park cafe to the RevoCup Foundation, responsible for building out 40 libraries in Ethiopia to date. Mesfin roasts coffee on site, and focuses on small lots of Ethiopian coffees.

What’s hot: Order a single origin shot of espresso.

Lattleand & Kaldi’s Coffee (5006 State Line, Westwood Hills)

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You know the deal? LatteLand opened up in 1992 and now have five locations in the KC area. LatteLands will be converting to St. Louis-based Kaldi’s Coffee stores over the next year – but little about these Kansas City shops will change. Save for a fresh remodel and facelift, LatteLands will continue to serve quality coffees and foodstuffs from the same crew of dedicated baristas.

What’s hot: While their coffee drinks are superb, we were particularly fond of their Toddy Blended Beverage. Ain’t gonna lie.


The Roasterie (1204 West 27th St)


You know the deal? You can’t really miss the Roasterie – it’s got a seventy-year-old DC-3 on top of the brand new headquarters and cafe space. The cafe is huge and offers nearly two outlets per chair. No foolies. Bloggers can get all the work done there while drinking hand-poured coffees.

What’s hot: Jon Ferguson. Formally of Dogwood Coffee in Minneapolis, coffee genius and magician Mr. Ferguson (pictured below) will be managing the coffee side of things at the Roasterie.


Black Dog Coffeehouse (12815 W 87th St Lenexa)


You know the deal? Blackdog Coffee recently went under new ownership. The new owners brought Benetti’s Coffee and one of our favorite things – a toast bar. Inspired by Tartine and The Mill in San Francisco, this toast bar features nut butters, jars of honey, preserves, and homemade bread.

What’s hot: Toast. Eat all of it.

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