The KC Spring Caffeine Crawl was May 31 and June 1. This weekend full of coffee, tea and chocolate was created by The LAB to teach passionate beverage drinkers about the processes and techniques of local fare. I attended Sunday Route 1, which covered a range of coffee and tea shops.
Our first stop was Second Best Coffee in Waldo. Nathan’s presentation focused on how the three variables of brewing coffee affects the final product: pressure, time, and temperature. The Panamanian bean (which earned a 95) was served as an espresso, a kyoto, and a cold brew alongside a house-made jalapeno cheddar scone. It was enlightening trying the same coffee prepared three different ways and I have to say, the espresso was mind-blowing-ly awesome. In addition to great coffee, Second Best also makes their own syrups (Lavender Honey? yes), in order to enhance the flavor of coffee, instead of cover it, and you can attend cuppings every Wednesday at one.
Second on our route was t.Loft, a tea and juice bar on State Line Road. The shop, one of three locations, is gluten-free, organic, with clean-eating snacks, like their delicious Peanut Butter Protein Balls.
Megan’s presentation focused on the teas and juices served as samples. The Fast Focus Juice, which has passion berry black tea in it, is a favorite among customers with its fresh-pressed fruits. The other loose leaf teas included the White Peach Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea, and Passion Berry Black Tea. One thing I liked was how the tea is never brewed for you – its given to you in a to-go cup with a filtered lid so that the leaves can be reused and brewed to your own taste.
The third stop was the incredibly cute One More Cup, also in Waldo. This family oriented shop has great outdoor seating and some awesomely unique options. Stacy provided fresh Strawberry Lemon Biscuits, Cali-Cola, and super-handy DIY handouts on how to brew toddy. Cali-Cola is a combination of Mexican Coke and cold-brewed toddy. It’s amazing, and perfect for summer.
I was particularly excited about this stop on our route, as Thou Mayest hasn’t even opened yet. Located in the Crossroads Arts District next to Grinders, these roasters have taken their passion of locally made products, horticulture, and having a good time has resulted in a seriously awesome space with delicious coffee. A fully stocked bar, two floors of space, and a patio overlooking the Crossroads KC stage means this place will undoubtedly be packed once they open the doors.
Bo offered two hot coffees and fresh toddy, proving he and his crew doesn’t need a lot of marketing because the great tasting coffee combined with a great space really speaks for itself.
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse was the fifth stop for our route, at 39th street. These incredibly friendly vegans provided a large selection of gluten-free and vegan snacks – all of which were moist, flavorful, and completely delicious. In addition to snacks, the guys prepared their signature Dirty South drink – a coffee based drink with “milk.” Mud Pie makes all of its milks (i.e. cashew, almond, hemp, etc.) and provides organic soy among loads of other drinks like their new Tea Spritzers with green coffee extract. I tried the Earth Balance Dirty South coffee drink and loved the smooth, creamy flavor, especially compared to the Coconut Dirty South, which was light and refreshing.
Our final stop was a great, high-energy presentation at The Roasterie, which focused on the different hulling and drying processes of coffee berries and how that affects the end flavor. I appreciated the comparison of coffee to peanuts in terms of explaining the difference between wet and dry hulling and the straight-forward discussion about the drying process. Even though I’ve been on a tour at The Roasterie factory, I felt this added a new layer of understanding and appreciation. I also really enjoyed how they provided the same coffees brewed different methods in order to compare and contrast flavors and texture changes.
Despite my “newness” to the coffee world, I felt included and welcomed at all of the locations along our route, and I think The LAB has done a really great thing providing informative tour guides, easy-to-follow routes, and time and location options. I’m already looking forward to October’s Fall Crawl!