Kansas has to be the most underrated coffee town I have encountered.
After driving clear across the hilly, grass-covered, farm-sprinkled, breezy state of Kansas we arrived at my friend, Ozzie's crib. He was cooking up a bitchin' Puerto Rican dinner for Shaunte and I. This kid was all about spoiling us and making sure we were more than comfortable. He had over a couple friends, we drank, ate, talked about KC and the coffee happenings within it. By the time we called it a night we were super happy and ready to get to work the next day.
It was the first city that I have never been to and we didn't have a guide since Ozzie & Co took off to Coffee Fest in Chicago. So it was up to Shaunte and I to drop into these new environments unannounced and woo them into filming with us. We decided to start at Quay "Key" Coffee since we were told that the owner is usually there in the mornings. We drove to the end of downtown, right next to the Missouri River, to a part of town called River Market. We found the humble shop, walked in, and were treated and treated really well. When we brought up filming we definitely felt a touch of hesitation, but sure enough when a moment presented itself the owner, Cory, suited up and was an awesome sport.
After that we drove to a different part of KC called the Cross Roads to check out one of the first specialty coffee companies in the city called Oddly Correct. Having heard such great things about them for so long I was a little underwhelmed walking into their roaster. It wasn't your typical "3rd wave" space which is typically sleek, bright, and stern. It was more of a creative work space with an old operating printing press, drum sets, and other miscellaneous things floating around. Yet, it worked so damn well for them and Mike, the roaster, was one of the nicest guys.
We made a quick stop at PTs at the Cross Roads near by to get to know their shop, meet their baristas, and drink an espresso. We continued on to Workbench / About the Coffee / Service Call which is a main staple in the coffee community of the city. The day before on our way into town we bumped into Marty, the owner, in Topeka at PTs College Hill location as he was repairing their espresso machine. So he was excited to show us around and took us through their huge and all inclusive facility. As we stood around talking about stuff, Pete Licata walked up and seemed interested in what was going on. A few minutes later we were interviewing him about his new Project called Roast Ratings.
On our way to the next spot we stopped for some good ol' Kansas City BBQ and headed towards downtown for Thou Mayest. It is a really big space in a beautiful brick building. They have a long bar that serves both coffee and cocktails, and the customers were of all ages and backgrounds. Immediately, I compared this place to Lux in Phoenix, because of its popularity, vibe, service, and layout. We hung out with the owner, Bo, who was such a fun character while he made us a coffee white russain and explained how his store was like a constant house party.