So tell me, what’s your type? Do you go for dark and handsome? Or perhaps you prefer a more flavorful, even-tempered variety. Unpredictable and light?
Well, whichever flavor makes your heart sing, I have a few coffee shop recommendations throughout Kansas City that will guarantee you find a soul-mate cup o' joe.
Before we start a little journey, I just want to lament the paucity of dark roast coffee. And then there are all the fancy brewing techniques that make a world of difference in flavor. But let’s begin with the flavor basics.
There are three roasts, light, medium, and dark. Light roasts boast a plethora of flavors, anywhere from a crisp lemon to a more buttery essence. The flavors are light in profile, but lighter roasts can elicit a wide variety, and you will glean every delightful to despicable note that each little bean has to offer.
Second in line is the medium roast. This is the standard, run-of-the mill, acidic, floral, and/or fruity coffee that most coffee shops keep brewed. Let me say, there are some great medium roasts in this world, and it is hard to go wrong with a true, well-brewed medium roast (unless you dislike lighter or darker roasts, and the medium roast leans in either direction).
Lastly, there’s the bold, poppin' dark roast, the rare unicorn of the bunch. A pool of flat black deliciousness, bitter charred tones, or deep chocolate and berries, a good dark roast is quite the accomplishment, as finding one in Kansas City can be.
There are many coffee shops around Kansas City, and most will brew 1-2 roasts in a standard brewer, a larger, automated version of what many of you may keep at home. When you ask for “drip” or brewed coffee, this is the standard cup o’ joe that they will offer.
A few coffee shops will choose to take these flavors to the next by doing individual pour-overs. Perhaps they offer great, single-origin coffee, or they have a funky house blend that they would like you to try (or they are just really cool people and want to take that time and effort), whatever the reason is—do it. Embrace the cup of character that you now hold in your hands.
A pour-over makes each note pop with intensity, and the technique is often done with medium roast coffees. If you are a Kansas City local, Oddly Correct Coffee boasts the best pour-overs, and Quay Coffee does them impeccably as well (both use Oddly Correct Coffee beans).
A quick disclaimer on Starbucks pour-overs: these come out very different from those of other coffee shops, perhaps because they carry a lot of darker roasts, and most of their medium roast beans lean darker. You may be surprised at the flat, extremely dark, and often bitter cup that a Starbucks pour-over yields, but note that this will please some dark roast lovers.
Starbucks and The Roasterie are two of the only coffee shops in Kansas City that almost always offer dark roast coffee in any form, and City Market Coffee occasionally brews some darker beans as well.
I personally am not a fan of light roasts, but for them local blondie lovers, Starbucks offers a blonde pour-over that is quite popular, and Blip Coffee Roasters carries a few single-origin, lighter beans (peeps further South in Kansas City can check out One More Cup, which regularly brews the light-to-medium Brazil from Blip’s).
Whichever flavor, brewing technique, or location is right for you, don’t be afraid to take risks. Who knows, you may stumble upon the perfect bean.