By Kathryn Greene

Through the last several years, coffee shops have popped up across the Kansas City metro, creating a coffee culture that is just as distinctive as our jazz and barbecue scenes. The city features rustic spaces that roast their own beans, shops with minimalist menus and others that focus on sweet specialty drinks. Whether you’re in the mood to curl up and relax in a cozy spot or use your java jolt to get some work done, these places will serve up exactly what you’re looking for—including coffee, of course.

Here are some of the best coffee shops in Kansas City:

The Daily Grind

With large windows that let in plenty of natural light year-round, Crows Coffee is a comfortable, sun-drenched spot whether you need to work or study. Settle into a plush armchair or take up residence at a table at either their UMKC campus shop or in their Waldo location.

Second Best Coffee should be one of your first choices when it comes to nestling into a cozy space for work or recreation. The espresso-centric slow bar grinds and brews your coffee upon ordering, and the recently expanded space has ample seating and a quiet atmosphere.

Quay Coffee (pronounced “key”) is like an extension of your living room that just happens to serve great coffee. With exposed brick walls and soft lighting, Quay Coffee lends itself to the long haul, so grab your laptop and get to work.

If you’re staying at the historic Hotel Phillips, then you’re only steps away from Kilo Charlie, one of Downtown KC’s newest coffee bars. You don’t have to be a guest to imbibe, however; have your choice of seating at the counter to watch the hustle and bustle of Downtown and enjoy one of their handcrafted drinks and draft lattes made with La Colombe Coffee.

Get Equipped

When you want to learn about the craft behind coffee, The Roasterie should be one of your first stops. An original of Kansas City’s coffee scene since it was founded in 1993, Roasterie experts can help improve your at-home brewing by recommending equipment sold at The Factory. Buy a pound of one of their custom blends, take your newfound knowledge and equipment home with you, and put it to the test.

Topeka-based PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. has been roasting coffee since 1997 and touts an outpost in the Crossroads Arts District called PT’s Coffee. Bags of blends line the shelves in the shop alongside Chemex, presses and scales that will help you make a perfect cup at home.

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Named for the Ethiopian goatherder who originally discovered the power of the coffee bean, Kaldi’s Coffee has been sourcing coffee from around the globe since 1994. Stop by the location in the Power & Light District (or three other metro locations) for a cup and Kaldi’s official Brew Log, which will give you expert tips to improve your own brewing game.

Specially Made

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If you’re looking for a little spice in your coffee life, the drinks at Pirate’s Bone are just as daring as the shop’s name. Try the Sweet Misery, a drink made with white chocolate and chili skin that boasts both sweet and spicy flavors, or the Mexican hot brew swirled with organic raw cane sugar, ground cinnamon, and milk.

It’s hard to miss the brightly painted One More Cup in Waldo, but the specialty drinks served inside the café are even more vibrant. Choose from offerings like the Curious George—­made with Shatto chocolate milk, Shatto banana milk and espresso—or a Root Beer Chai, featuring organic Hugo Tea chai and Shatto root beer milk. 

Back to Basics

A laboratory for coffee geeks, Oddly Correct sticks to the most basic elements of espresso. Cream and sweeteners aren’t available in the shop and all drinks are made with local whole milk, so don’t ask for any additions or substitutions. Instead, you are encouraged to experience the flavors of your drink without dilution.

Blip Roasters should be more than just a blip on your radar. Combining coffee and motorcycle culture in an industrial setting, the West Bottoms spot roasts its own beans and eschews specialty drinks, offering a classic menu of coffee, latte, cappuccino, Americano and espresso.

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