The City’s 4th Annual Caffeine Crawl Through Great Cafés Proves the Coffee Culture Is Stronger Than Ever
By Sadie Colwell
Veterans of the popular Caffeine Crawl series came together with newcomers in the city that started it all for Kansas City’s 4th annual Caffeine Crawl recently with a caffeinated two-day event that represented the incredible growth of the city’s coffee scene, and delivered on its promise to be every bit as awesome as last year’s installment.
Crawlers started the day at shops around the city with event bags in hand. Goodies from One More Cup, Yelp, and sponsors About The Coffee, Rip van Wafels, and Barista Magazine filled the burlap totes from Wholesome Sweeteners. The Libations iPhone App offered its coffee module for free over the weekend as a Caffeine Crawl perk, and crawlers downloaded it to track crawl tastings on-the-go. Filling Station fueled its first group with fresh-juiced glasses of “Liquid Sunshine,” date-and-nut protein balls, and shots of Broadway Espresso.
Shang Tea presented a traditional tea brewing method using a Gaiwan, and crawlers happily sampled their signature Red and Tangerine Blossom Teas in ancient Chinese fashion. Little Freshie kicked off the Bike Route with Strawberry Rhubarb and Mexican Toddy Snow Cones, and crawlers snacked on soft pretzels while Lindsay explained her passion for real ingredients in their house-made syrups.
Crawlers made their way to Quay Coffee for an exclusive tasting of their new summer drinks, including a Citrus Ginger Coffee Cocktail and a shaken iced latte with an egg white twist prepared by Andrew. A brief history on the River Market area that Quay calls home was rounded out by thoughts from the 2014 South Central Barista Champion, Tyler Rovenstine. At the Elbow Chocolates shop, we sampled Venezuelan Spice chocolates, Coffee Caramels, and liquid chocolate while learning about the chocolate crafting process, and left in a happy chocolate coma.
The newly founded and not-yet-open shop, Crow’s Coffee, rounded out Saturday’s routes with an exclusive sneak peek into their awesome space and an open drink bar with freshly brewed origins from their roaster, Messenger Coffee, as well as made-to-order espresso drinks from their enthusiastic baristas.
Sunday dawned bright and early on the patio of Black Dog Coffee with the first-of-its-kind “After Crawl” brunch. With an open barista bar on Unic’s Stella di Caffe espresso machine, breakfast options from the Smokin’ Fresh Streetside BBQ food truck using Ibis Bakery’s delicious breads, Messenger coffee and cold brew from Alchemy, and a raffle for sweet prizes including crawl posters and a Baratza Virtuoso grinder that benefited Coffee Kids, it’s safe to say it was a complete success. While Saturday’s groups mingled and sipped lattes at their leisure, Sunday’s crawlers headed out in time to make their first stops.
At One More Cup, Stacy sampled out Cali Colas—a refreshing combination of toddy and Mexican Coca Cola, with a side of mini strawberry lemon scones—and explained toddy making at home with a gorgeous hand-drawn handout. Second Best engaged crawlers with a gorgeous presentation of individual coffee flights of Kuma’s 95-scoring Panama Elida Estate three ways – espresso, kyoto, and clever.
A buffet of sampling options awaited us at t.loft, with pomegranate green, white peach, and passion berry black teas complementing a signature house-made juice blend and plethora of gluten free snack choices.
Mud Pie delivered their dependably stunning and scrumptious spread of vegan pastries alongside their “Dirty South”—a chicory coffee and alternative milk iced latte with cinnamon and nutmeg—and a demo of cashew milk in the making. At The Roasterie plant, Jon gave a great talk on coffee processing in Sumatra and we sampled different methods brewed different ways. Thou Mayest rounded out Sunday’s crawl with a preview of their stunning, soon-to-open space, and sampled hot brews and toddy while answering crawlers’ curious questions about the vision behind their company.
After a high energy weekend with plenty of caffeine to go around, we are, again, awe-struck by a coffee community that collaborates and cooperates to make Kansas City a caffeinated metropolis wonder. We can’t wait for KC Session #2 in the fall, and in the meantime, you’ll find us drinking great coffee at a local shop, and loving every second!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Colwell is a completely committed coffee addict who adores coffee shop culture and chocolate. She is currently living the loft life in downtown Kansas City, Mo., with her extraordinary husband, Tyler, and her imaginary dog. When she isn’t advancing her unorthodox latte art skills as a barista at Quay coffee, working on a project for The LAB (creators of Caffeine Crawl), or teaching young prodigies to play the piano and like it, she dives headfirst into blogging and freelance projects with reckless abandon.