Post Coffee Company
If you enter Post Coffee Company at any given time of any given day, you will likely see me sitting in the corner at one of the industrial wood tabletops, caffeinating with one of the cafe’s signature potted plants hanging overhead. I have personally been attending Post at least once a day for two of its three years serving the developing suburb of Lee’s Summit, and it is my absolute favorite coffee spot in the city. Innocuously nestled in a strip mall, the minimalist shop echoes just as much with rap music and the laughter of parishioners from the neighboring church as it is teens from the adjacent skatepark alike. Each table holds fresh cut flowers and a blackboard on the wall sports encouraging, funny, or downright bizarre messages to brighten the day (“HUSTLE & MOTIVATE” or “A DAY WITHOUT COFFEE IS LIKE… JUST KIDDING, I HAVE NO IDEA” for example). While obviously known for a small traditionalist menu including housemade seasonal syrups and artisanally roasted pour overs, Post’s brand far exceeds coffee alone, with breakfast and lunch offerings branded under the Pantry (as well as some pastries and foodstuffs provided by local fooderies). Logo-bearing shirts and coffee supplies are also sold. My usual is an iced oat milk latte with a DASH of whatever the homemade seasonal syrup is (past seasonals carry such dreamy titles as springflower or honeycloud), but Post has a killer classic macchiato. Finally, little known to non-regulars, at any given time Post is also serving an unadvertised signature drink, usually only briefly publicized via the shop’s Instagram. Be sure to ask your barista for the signature of the moment if you’re up for a surprise.
Decidedly more quaint and quiet, Goat Hill makes an interesting younger sibling to Post, and while the shops share a staff and ownership, it must be emphasized they are more sisters than twins. The overall eccentric, intimate feel of the shop varies from the spacious minimalism of Post, while maintaining some beloved trademarks such as potted plants and a smaller version of the famous Post message board (which read “HIGH FIVES / FIST BUMPS / JAZZ HANDS / PUNK ROCK” at my most recent visit). The Westside shopfront opened a year and a half ago in a space previously beloved to Kansas Citians as Little Freshie and continues to serve the sodas and snow cones its predecessor was known for. When I visit the shop, I love sitting down at the coffee bar nestled up to the counter sipping a cappuccino and chatting with the barista family. The Barista Special, ___, is also highly commendable. If you’re looking for a non-coffee, there’s no more relaxing way to pass an afternoon than sitting in the sunny window seat with a snow-cone in hand peoplewatching the streets of this vibrant corner of the City.
“Colony is many things” reads the shop’s Instagram bio. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Conjoined with the intimate and inarguably cool performance venue the Rino, Colony sports 2 bars — a long espresso bar to the right serves the expected variety of coffees and pastries across from a bookshelf overflowing with well-worn board games, and in the very back of the shop, a separate bar serves beer. Colony is native to Northtowne KC and proud of it, airing the ambiance of a self-proclaimed cultural bastion. While a latte with housemade seasonal syrups are wonderfully floral around the spring (much to my liking), a year-round reliable pick is the guest roaster pour over, supplied by roasters from both the local and national scene. The scones are also delicious; I would recommend strawberry rose.
The first thing you notice as you walk up to the landmark headquarters in KC’s Crossroads Art District is that it stands three stories tall. The second thing you will notice is the line that pours ever-present out the door and round the street corner. Messenger, which occupies its impressive compound in conjunction with Ibis Bakery, emanates a New York chicness. The ground level, exposed on its front and side by sweeping floor to ceiling windows, houses the coffee bar, open kitchen, and multiple table through which baristas and waiters weave with trays of avocado toast and drip coffees. This is where you join the line. While the line is long, the wait is almost welcome in lieu of the merchandise and pastry samples running the length of your wait (and, no, they won’t get mad if you insist on trying every sample). After receiving your order, feel free to venture up to the second floor, wherein lies an impressive and fragrant coffee roasting apparatus. Or, hit the topmost third floor to enjoy your latte and cherry almond galette on the open rooftop overlooking the aerial cityscape of Downtown KC.
Filling Station Coffee Garage
Of all the coffee spots I’ve been to internationally, the Filling Station locations have to be the most unique. Each of the three KC locations have a distinct personality, largely attributable to the unique choice in real estate. my favorite being their smallest shop in Westport. The tiny, solitary building (so small it usually requires only one barista to ably handle the counter and drive thru) was once a photo lab and the cafe chose to maintain the hallmarks of the building’s prior usage, a photo drop off slat still in the front door and a “DANGER: PHOTOGRAPHIC CHEMICALS” sign fixed on the dark room turned kitchen, while old school cameras litter the shelves alongside hip merchandise. The Overland Park location, a former auto garage is slightly larger and more industrial. The most recent addition to the Filling Station shop series is a chic location in midtown, which reinvents the garage aesthetic of the OP location in a more modern way with an expansive patio. The Filling Station not only has a shop for every mood, but a menu equally as diverse. While the shop has an amazing variety of coffee beverages, the Filling Station rests its laurels largely on their coffee.
Hiding in plain sight in an eclectic building too large to be a shop but too small to be a strip mall, this vegan coffee shop wears deep Mexican roots and a flair for social justice with pride. With a literal skull-and-crossbones flag waving outside the door, Pirate’s Bone is the perfect place to start your day with a caper bagel sandwich or activated charcoal waffle accompanied by one of their specialty drinks; I personally love the Sweet Misery, a latte with cocoa and guajillo chili skin. While you devour your Latin-influenced beverages and Whole Foods-esque eats, you will notice that the snug shop is a finger on the pulse of the latest political movements, carrying pro-woman, pro-immigrant merchandise in its back corner. This is the spot for good food, great coffee, and incredible conversation.
I largely have Crow’s to credit for my current love for the KC coffee scene. At 14, I visited Crow’s after school one day at its original South Plaza location and fell in love immediately. It was my first visit to a third wave coffee shop, and I was immediately charmed by the ill-lit cafe that gave me a sophisticated and bookish vibe. The shop has three location, but I prefer South Plaza, which is practically on-campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and thus constantly overrun with college students and professors hard at work. If you find yourself stuck while gazing at the extensive menu, which is written in sharpie and hangs on brown packaging paper on the wall behind the bar, feel free to ask the remarkably friendly staff for their suggestions. I would personally recommend enjoying a white mocha and one of their failsafe delicious cookies at one of the window seats or on the well-worn couch. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the bathroom…
Boasting “midwestern modesty” and “a commitment to relentless improvement”, Second Best Coffee takes care of you. You order your beverage and snack, pick your perch of choice from the expansive sunlit seating, are served your order, and watch your table bussed upon finishing. From its side street in Waldo, you look through a wall-length window into the shop at a massive string art eagle on the wall, the shop’s logo and mascot. While the coffee and pastry selections of this mid-century modern-esque shop are clearly to die for, the true gem of the shop is its boisterous seasonal mocktails with names like “Bloody Delicious” or “Carnival” (the latter comes topped with a striped straw and a massive nest of cotton candy on top). Basically, if you want to feel like you’re visiting your cooler eccentric friend’s apartment for a coffee date, go to Second Best.
Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse
If you have even considered being vegan in Kansas City, you already know Mud Pie. In KC proper, what can only be described as the absolute cutest yellow house you’ve ever seen is a haven for anyone attempting a vegan lifestyle. If that applies to you, you’re used to vegan options being limited, bland afterthoughts to otherwise well-considered menus. At Mud Pie, this is not the case. More pastries than I can count overwhelm the senses the moment one steps through the front door, all crafted fresh daily. Also made fresh daily are almost all the milk alternatives. I wish I could give you a pastry recommendation, but I try a new treat every time I attend, and I can wholeheartedly say that each item tested is an exhibit of plant-based perfection. Regarding drinks however, I would advise ordering a hammerhead (espresso and coffee) or a dirty south with a touch of a syrup of your choice (a dirty south is chicory/coffee au lait and the syrups rotate) and sneaking off to one of the peaceful side rooms of the small, art-covered home.
Impossible to miss on Main Street, KC, Oddly Correct is the barista hangout of the city. Another shop with that “my cool friend’s apartment” aesthetic, Oddly Correct is intimate and casual with effortless ambiance. On a beautiful day, the shop’s door will remain propped, opening its art-filled brick walls to the public. You walk up to the bar and see the shops logo, an octopus in a coffee cup, muraled massively across the wall behind the helpful baristas, who will happily advise you on a black coffee from the rotating brew bar to suit your taste. Yes, that’s right, black coffee, because that’s all the purists at Oddly Correct serve. No milk, no cream, no sugar, nothing that can dilute the natural flavors of the beverage. This shop is the test of the true coffee lover, and if you’re a black coffee fanatic like myself, you’ll love sitting at the street view window to people watch in the shop that is the pinnacle fixture of the Kansas City coffee scene. juice selection.