Browsing Category

Javaholic

Javaholic/ Kansas City

Coffeeshop Love: Quay Coffee

January 25, 2020
Coffee Kansas City Quay

When it comes to coffeeshops, quaint and a bit quirky is my sweet spot. Hip, sleek and modern is all very nice, but give me a funky hole-in-the-wall any day. Though it’s gaining a name as one of the mainstay local coffee sources in KC — hardly a hole-in-the-wall — Quay Coffee somehow manages to be both hip and homey. Named for the River Quay, the former name of the River Market, Quay (pronounced “key”) is a cozy, brick-walled spot in the heart of the eclectic River Market district. (If you’re strolling through the Nelson-Atkins Museum and in need of a caffeine fix, they also opened a location in the museum, but I highly recommend visiting the original.) Small but with plenty of seating, the place is always bustling with people working or chatting over a cuppa. In short, it’s a friendly, festive spot. It seems like sometimes it’s difficult to find beautiful latte art and a smile (thus the snobby barista trope), but Quay truly manages to do both. They definitely know their coffee, but I’ve never been greeted by anything less than genuine cheer and friendly banter.

Coffee Kansas City Quay Coffee Kansas City Quay

But of course, the main draw: the coffee is good. Very good. Quay puts fastidious attention into choosing top-notch direct trade roasters, and the coffee never disappoints. With housemade syrups in scrumptious flavors like Old Overholt Caramel and Spice Brown Sugar, inventive seasonal drinks, and fresh local baked goods, the menu is classic but never boring.

Coffee Kansas City Quay

River Market in of itself is worth exploring, and my go-to is fueling myself with a good caffeine dose from Quay as I do my wandering. Then again, it’s worth making a trip there just for the coffee and warm atmosphere. Bring a book, some work, or a friend and settle in with a delicious latte — you won’t want to leave.

Coffee Kansas City Quay

Javaholic/ Travel

Coffeeshop Love: South West Collective

December 26, 2019
Cayman Islands South West Collective coffeeshop

Possibly an unpopular opinion, but I like winter. Crisp air, moody grey skies, a fluttering of snow — it’s magical. That said, as I stomp through the slush of three-day-old snow, I have to admit that a tropical vacation doesn’t sound so bad (this is why spring break was invented, right?). Though I do have a warm locale on the books, that’s not for a couple of months, so I’m looking back to spring break last year and a belated but much-deserved coffeeshop feature: South West Collective in the Cayman Islands. If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, both this little group of islands and this hip coffeeshop are definitely worth a visit. If not, just pretend you can feel the warm tropical sun on your face and a tasty latte on your tongue.

For fruity cocktails and cabanas selling fresh fruit juice, the beach is a pretty sure bet. But this may not be exactly where you’d expect to find a hip coffeeshop. Luckily, South West Collective fills all of the aforementioned needs (and considering the size of the Cayman Islands, it’s pretty easy to make a trip there no matter where you are on the islands). Located in Georgetown, the capital of the largest island, Grand Cayman, this hip, light-filled spot is right in the middle of most of the hustle and bustle going on in the islands. In case you’re (unsurprisingly) not familiar with the Caymans, this tropical paradise is a trio of tiny islands in the Caribbean Sea, just west of Cuba. A British territory, they’re known for their beautiful beaches and abundance of sea turtles. Hardly a wonder, then, that many cruise ships stop off on Grand Cayman. South West Collective is right in the middle of Harbour Place, the bustling, colorful area of Georgetown where the cruise ships come to dock. As you sip your coffee, peek into the many shops nearby, or take a look at the local markets going on most days (trust me, there’s more than enough to look at!).

The coffeeshop itself is on the second floor of a collection of shops and restaurants. With naval-inspired blue and white décor, comfy seating, and stunning ocean views, it’s the perfect place to take a shopping break and watch the magnificent cruise ships glide into port. The menu is stocked with all your favorite hot and cold coffee drinks, plus fresh juices and smoothies and a mouthwatering selection of housemade toasts, sandwiches, soups, salads, and more. There’s even a chill bar and foozball area in back if you’re in need of something stronger than coffee!

I know hot coffee isn’t exactly tropical, but even in the heat, it was well worth ordering a latte, in my opinion — it was delicious enough to be worth a little extra sweating. And Cayman may not be the most common tourist destination (though I would argue that equals extra points in its favor), but I would highly recommend adding it to the vacay list. With a surprisingly diverse crowd, gorgeous beaches and water, and lovely hotels and restaurants (and of course, those turtles), it’s definitely worth a stop. And hey, you already know where to get your coffee there.

Food/ Javaholic/ Travel

The Best Paris Coffeeshops

November 29, 2019
Paris coffee coffeeshops

What would a trip to Paris be without le café? Despite Paris’s vibrant café culture, it’s generally accepted that the coffee itself isn’t all that great. But in the past few years, the third-wave coffee movement has hit the city — with vigor — and these days there are legit roasters and more coffeeshops than even I could manage to hit in one trip. That’s not to say I didn’t try — I had a mile-long list going into my trip, and I drank enough coffee to fuel endless trekking around the city (which is a lot). Though I don’t want to think about how much of my trip budget went to coffee breaks, this did leave me with a pretty good sampling of the Paris coffee scene. Unlike years past, it’s pretty easy now to find a good latte or filter coffee in Paris (and the list of places offering alternative milks is also growing), not to mention that there’s a collection of friendly, charming cafés to visit. My list was a good one — I don’t think I drank a bad cup of coffee on my trip. That said, I narrowed it down to my top five picks for the best Paris coffeeshops (though the full list of spots I visited is included as well — all of which I would recommend, honestly). Thankfully, there’s never a need to wander Paris under-caffeinated again!

Boot Café

19 rue du Pont aux Choux

This might just be the tiniest coffeeshop in Paris — it’s also one of the cutest, and serves up delicious coffee to boot (no pun intended). Nestled in an old cordonnerie, or cobbler’s shop, in the Marais, this petite blue café has just enough room inside for the counter and a couple of tables. They manage to fit a lot of charm into a small space, though, with rustic-chic décor, art on the walls, and fresh flowers — plus delicious coffee and pastries, of course. Get a flat white to go as you meander through the Marais, or take a moment to perch on one of the outside seats and enjoy the charming street.

 

Paul et Rimbaud

40 rue Sedaine

Books and coffee — what’s not to love? Near Bastille in the hip 11e, this charming café is stocked floor to ceiling with books and filled with plants. It’s definitely worth taking your coffee to stay here — grab a seat at one of the eclectically mismatched tables or sofas and enjoy the tranquil vibes as you sip your café from a pastel-hued cup and munch on a house-made treat (I highly recommend the carrot cake — it was scrumptious). Though I generally think the rude Parisian stereotype is a myth, it’s also worth noting that the staff here are lovely (not a surly waiter in sight).

Strada Café

24 rue Monge

It should tell you something that I went out of my way to return to this little café several times during my trip. There are actually two locations, though I only checked out the bustling café near the Latin Quarter. This was one of the few places where I found a nearly-American-size latte (which is likely a point against me in javaholic cred but was a plus in my book). In any case, the coffee is delicious and the space lively and inviting.  If you’re feeling peckish, definitely try the brownie, which is essentially death by chocolate and worth every bite. Strada is a little out of the way of the typical tourist spots, but if you’re exploring the Left Bank (which I highly recommend) — especially Jardin des Plantes or the ancient Roman Arènes de Lutèce — it’s definitely worth a stop (or two).

Le Peloton

17 rue du Pont Louis Philippe

You can’t visit Paris without stopping into this friendly spot in the Marais. It’s the sort of place where the patrons are regulars and the baristas chatty. I was barely there a minute before I was chatting about my trip with a fellow patron and the baristas, and the owners themselves are often behind the bar, making drinks and talking to people. With Aussie and New Zealand roots, it’s a favorite gathering spot for the expat crowd in Paris, and for good reason. Don’t miss the delicious waffles with your flat white, and if you’re looking for a little guidance around Paris, they also host bike tours around Paris and Versailles.

Café Oberkampf

3 rue Neuve Popincourt

If you’re looking for a mean flat white and a tasty bite in the up-and-coming Oberkampf district, look no further than Café Oberkampf. This Aussie-inspired café serves up top-notch coffee and fresh, healthy eats in a bright, friendly setting. It’s another tiny spot, but it’s definitely worth grabbing one of the few tables and staying for brunch or lunch. Their specialty is the tartine (an open-faced sandwich or toast) — a perfect accompaniment to a delicious cup of coffee.

 

There you have it — the best Paris coffeeshops! Here’s the list of all the coffeeshops I visited. Anyone fancy a cuppa?

Café Oberkampf

KB Café

Café Méricourt

Honor Café

Boot Café

Strada Café

Fragments

Ten Belles

Le Peloton

Sylon de Montmartre

Paul et Rimbaud

Matamata

La Caféothèque

Republique of Coffee

Binici

La Recyclerie

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: PT’s Coffee

October 27, 2019
PTs Coffee Kansas City coffeeshop

Well hello there! Yes, I know I’ve been a little AWOL around here — but all in the name of research! (sort of) I’ve been off doing some wandering (grand old Paris, in fact), so you better believe there will be plenty of fresh content coming soon! In the meantime, I thought I’d pop back with a little coffee recommendation closer to home (my hood, actually) to tide you over: PT’s Coffee in Kansas City. Stay tuned!

PT’s Coffee Roasters

310 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, MO

Full confession: I have a type. A coffeeshop type, that is. (What, do normal people mean something else by that?) Well, two types actually — urban hipster and lovably shabby hole-in-the-wall. PT’s Coffee conveniently bridges the two criteria.

Tucked into an old brick building in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts district, the KC outpost of Topeka-based grassroots roasters PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. definitely qualifies as urban and hole-in-the-wall. (Complete with my favorite urban reno hallmark: brick walls and an exposed tin ceiling.) Inside, though, the space is open, airy, and both funky and minimalist. The artsy Crossroads spirit definitely edges in with a young hipster clientele and local art lining the walls, while the open space and minimalist furniture add an retro urban vibe. My favorite touches, though, are the reclaimed wood tables — mod-looking pieces made from over 100 wood pallets that carried coffee to PT’s roasting facility — and the giant marquee “coffee” sign. Very retro, admirably resourceful, and of course, entirely appropriate for true javaholics. Even better: they just opened a brand new location at 1310 Baltimore St. More modern than the funky Crossroads spot, the new outpost is equally charming (and, of course, delicious).

PT’s Coffee Crossroads Kansas City coffeeshop

PT’s is one of those cafes that manages to be bustling without being chaotic. Every time I’ve been in there (yes, the tally is rapidly adding up), it’s been busy enough that finding a table can be a bit of a challenge. It’s a comfortable background din, though, a happy medium fit for chatting with friends or studying (both of which there are always people doing). The last time I was there, a friend and I sat at the bar lining the front windows, providing a perfect view onto the (always colorful) street traffic of downtown Crossroads. Luckily, PT’s doesn’t fall short on this point either — from students to funky artists to the occasional … eccentric urban character, there are all sorts of caffeination-seekers at the cafe. After all, people-watching is a crucial part of the true coffeeshop experience.

Last but most definitely not least: the menu. Obviously, the coffee hits the mark, or I wouldn’t have added it to my regular haunts list. Every time I go there, I plan on trying something new, but I’m afraid I’ve become rather addicted to one particular drink: the lavender-caramel latte. The idea of applying to coffee a scent usually found in soap and soothing eye pillows might seem a bit odd, but trust me on this one: the lavender-caramel syrup is to die for. PT’s makes its own delectable syrups (honey vanilla and lavender caramel are the current options), which I would 100% recommend. On top of that, their latte art game is top-notch (hey, sometimes it’s ok to judge a book by its cover). If you’re feeling peckish, they also have a tasty selection of sandwiches and pastries, as well as smoothies and various teas.

Bottom line: if you’re ever in downtown Kansas City, definitely stop by PT’s Coffee for a java pick-me-up and a good dose of eclectic KC charm.

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Nomads Coffee & Cocktails

September 20, 2019
nomads coffee kansas city

In my mind, anything that mentions travel, exploration, and/or wandering (obviously) is immediately worth an investigation. A tribute to explorers — literary and literal — worldwide, Nomads Coffee in Kansas City exactly fits that bill. It would be easy to walk straight past it, nestled in a subtle brick shopfront on eclectic 39th Street. It certainly isn’t the most colorful or eye-catching spot on the street. But that would be your loss. This charming café has become my go-to coffeeshop work spot, and it’s safe to say I’m a little obsessed.

Nomads Kansas City Coffee Bar interior

To fully capture the atmosphere of Nomads Coffee, it’s really best to imagine yourself as a slightly disaffected nineteenth-century writer or a gruff world traveler (or at least following in the footsteps of one). The entire café is a bit dim, with dark wood floors and furniture and deep blue walls. Sophisticated, in an ever-so-slightly gloomy way. Take a spot at the dark-wood bar, curl up in a cushy armchair, or pick an intimate café table and get settled in. My spot of choice is at the bar along the front windows, with a perfect view out onto the goings-on of quirky 39th Street.

Nomads Kansas City Coffee bar interior

To complete the travel theme, shelves throughout the café are stocked with books with a global explorer bent (think Jack London, vintage travel memoirs, old issues of National Geographic). The walls are lined with photos of Alaskan dog races, mountain explorations, maps, suitably gruff explorers, and people and places around the globe.

Nomads Kansas City Coffee Interior

Nomads Kansas City Coffee Bar photo wall

It’s the type of place where you might expect to come across a grumpy older Hemingway ordering a cocktail or a grizzled old explorer recounting tales of his latest expedition into the jungle or Arabian deserts (though in reality the clientele is more on the young and hip side, thanks to students from the nearby KU Med Center and the vibrant culture of 39th Street).

All that said, in reality the café isn’t at all gloomy. Despite the somber (if charming) aura, the staff and customers are always friendly, and the café is usually bustling, classic and peppy oldies tunes playing in the background. (Just absorb the old-world vibes and be glad no one there actually acts like a grumpy old mountain man).

Nomads Kansas City Coffee Cocktails

No literary or global enclave would be complete without drinks, of course! The coffee menu here is classic — none of that foufy frappuccino business — but the lattes are delicious. Plus, there’s also a full cocktail/beer/wine menu (this is an extra plus in my book because it means they’re open late, unlike many coffee shops). If you’re feeling peaky, they have a tasty selection of pastries and cookies, plus quiche, classic and hearty sandwiches, and breakfast burritos. Café fare, but the type you actually want to eat.

Full disclosure: I only tested the ham and cheese croissant, but it was scrumptious — buttery and perfectly flaky, with a subtle spike of Dijon mustard inside — and the rest of the menu looks quite tasty. The quiche is definitely next on my list!

So the next time you’re around 39th Street, wander over to Nomads Coffee for a coffee or cocktail — who knows, maybe you’ll actually run into that rugged world explorer I keep expecting to see.

 

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Hammerhand Coffee Kansas City

September 1, 2019
Can someone please tell me where the summer went? Scratch that, where the year went? Seriously, I swear it was just January and I was cheering when the temp hit double digits (now I’m just praying it doesn’t hit triple digits). I don’t know about you, but I’m now counting down the days until fall. Crisp air, colorful leaves, Halloween ghoulies? Bring it on. That said, summer is a time of exploration. Granted, any time is an opportunity for exploration in my opinion, but there’s something particularly carefree and wanderlust-filled about summer. I’ve been neglecting my Kansas City coffee expedition a bit, and I needed an excuse again to wander and think/write/drink coffee 24/7 — or at least justify the amount of my budget spent on coffee by saying it’s blog research. So I decided to make up for lost (java) time. This weekend, that meant a little jaunt over to Liberty, Missouri, to check out Hammerhand Coffee. To be fair, at only 25 minutes from downtown KC, Liberty hardly qualifies as a road trip, but I’m fairly clueless when it comes to north of the city, so it felt like an expedition. Particularly when you factor in that I spent the first hour there hunting down a police station, who called a tow company, who battled my stubborn car locks, because I locked my keys, purse, and phone in my car … but that’s another story.
Ok, on to the important stuff. In case you’re (shockingly) unfamiliar with the small towns of Missouri, Liberty is a historic frontier town just northeast of Kansas City, founded in 1822, and now home to William Jewell College. Think stately brick campus, rambling old Victorian homes, and an abundance of kitschy yet charming shops.
Hammerhand Coffee Kansas City Liberty
Hammerhand Coffee Kansas City Liberty cafe interior
Hammerhand is right in the historic town square, across from the Art Deco county courthouse and surrounded by quaint circa-late-1800s storefronts. Considering all this, it’s surprisingly hip and modern, the type of cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn hipsterland. Housed in a narrow turn-of-the-century brick building, the grand wooden staircase, stained glass window accents, and iron fire escape give it an old-world vibe. Yet the decor is crisp, modern, and colorful — mid-century style furniture, bright white walls, succulents, faux vintage lightbulbs, turquoise touches. In a whimsical nod, there’s even a Chemex with a live beta fish swimming around. It feels like a cross between a homey neighborhood joint and a student study crashpad, with both lively chattering groups and tables covered in notebooks and laptops. Liberty doesn’t feel like a college town, but almost everyone there looked to be under 25, so I would guess the students, as usual, gravitate toward the caffeine sources.
Hammerhand Coffee Kansas City Liberty cozy interior
In the art of full disclosure, the coffee had a slightly odd taste. Not bad, just different. I realized, though, that I haven’t actually had regular milk for quite some time (they ran out of almond), so that might have just been me. That being said, my latte was rich and smooth, and they nailed the latte art (yes, it matters!). The rest of the menu features the standard drip, cappuccinos, cold brew, etc., plus seasonal drinks, housemade syrups, and a selection of pastries. About your usual coffeehouse fare, though it all looked scrumptious. They supposedly also carry a rotating selection of beer and wine, though I didn’t see any sign of that (to be fair, it was also a Sunday afternoon).
Hammerhand Coffee Kansas City Liberty latte art
Overall, the chances of most people just passing through Liberty, MO, is about zip, and most large cities probably have dozens of Hammerhand-esque java joints. That said, it has a certain flair, with its 19th-century-frontier/hipster mélange, and the coffee is pretty damn good. If you happen to be in the KC area, it’s definitely worth a stop.
**This post was originally published in August 2018 on beanopiablog.com.**
Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Cafe Equinox

August 24, 2019
coffee cafe equinox kansas city

Cafe Equinox

7036 Nieman Road, Shawnee, KS

If you’re not one of us succulent-crazed millennials — first of all, what are you doing with your life? — you might not quite get the draw of a coffeeshop/plant center combo. But once you step inside Café Equinox, I promise you won’t question the genius of the concept. What could be a better pick-me-up than coffee and a little refreshing greenery? Or as their catchy tagline puts it, “caffeine and chlorophyll” (it’s tastier than it sounds). After Thou Mayest in Crossroads closed this year, owner Bo Nelson and his two brothers opened a new outpost, Café Equinox, inside their family’s nursery, Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee. Trust me, it takes more than a little convincing to get me to venture into the ‘burbs, even for coffee, but this trip was well worth it. Named for the best months to work in a greenhouse — between the fall and spring equinoxes — Café Equinox is a revitalizing spot for leaves and lattes alike.

Step inside the front entrance of Family Tree Nursery, and you’ll find yourself in a bright lounge area — welcome to Café Equinox. With a modern yet cozy vibe, the little café hosts a scattering of high-top tables, cushy couches, and even a hanging basket chair for your sipping/lounging pleasure. Or if you’re feeling a need for nature, you can get a little fresh air in the charming patio area, complete with the rusted green locker set from Thou Mayest (or is it only me who has a fondness for that grunge-chic bit of décor?). The space is quiet enough for working or an intimate meeting, but the bustle of the nursery in the background adds a lively hum.

But we’re here for more than cozy — what about that caffeination? Unsurprisingly, Café Equinox’s coffee, made from Thou Mayest’s carefully curated beans, is top-notch. For the bean aficionado, there are a variety of nuanced filter coffee options, plus the classic espresso beverages and teas. If you’re feeling adventurous, the seasonal specials offer a twist (or two). Current specials include the Coconut Lavender Latte, Elderberry Espresso Ginger Tonic, and Caffeine and Chlorophyll (matcha, mint, orange, and yes, chlorophyll). And to keep your java company, try a scrumptious pastry from local Heirloom Bakery & Hearth or Mud Pie Vegan Bakery — everything from scones to homemade pop-tarts. Every Saturday, they even break out the handmade cinnamon rolls. Mouth watering yet?

Once you’re properly caffeinated, venture into the leafy oasis of the greenhouse to peruse vibrant blooms, fragrant herbs, cute pots and planters, and succulents galore. Even if you’re not in the market for a new houseplant or garden tenant (though you will be after stepping in here), it’s worth a wander just for the fun of it. In addition to the vivid greenhouse, Family Tree also boasts over five acres of verdant nursery to explore, plus any plant paraphernalia you could imagine. Or you could just curl up on the couch with your latte. We won’t judge.

**Photos courtesy of Cafe Equinox, @cafeequinox**

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Monarch Coffee

August 11, 2019
coffee shop Kansas City Monarch

Monarch Coffee
3550 Broadway, Kansas City, MO

One of the top benefits of being a notorious javaholic is that people know to inform you immediately about new coffee spots. That’s how, thanks to some highly exclusive intel, Monarch Coffee came onto my radar early on. The petite café had only been open a couple of weeks when it started attracting attention in the KC coffee scene (us trendsetters made it in shortly after opening, of course), and the acclaim has held strong. When we stopped by on a Wednesday afternoon, the place was bustling — so much so that we almost had to chase away a few tea-drinkers for a table (just kidding).

Monarch coffee Kansas City

Anyway, for someone who dreams constantly of Paris (ahem, guilty), it’s hard not to like this café. Monarch has the look of a hip Paris bistro — black and white subway tiles, white molding, dainty café tables, intimate booths. Chill and elegant, with just a bit of cute thrown in (let’s just say there are a few unicorn decor items around). Tucked into the lower level of the regal Art Deco Ambassador apartment building, it seems to fit perfectly into a glamorous 1920s scene, with an added touch of hipster coffeehouse. (If only you could walk out the door and see the Eiffel Tower). Even if you’re not an Art Deco nerd, the bright and airy space is perfect for sipping a leisurely cuppa. That said, it probably doesn’t make for the best workspace. Like I said, it was busy (and chatty) when we were there, at a hubbub level that would have distracted me, and holing up in a dark corner to get work done might be difficult.

Monarch coffee Kansas City café

Monarch coffee Kansas City interior

Despite the newborn café, the Monarch owners are no coffee neophytes. Owner Tyler Roverstine, a Q-grade barista (think sommelier for coffee) has worked at the Roasterie, Oddly Correct, and Quay coffeeshops in KC and has won awards at several barista competitions. Monarch sources and roasts its own coffee, which is also sold in the café and online. All of this should add up to some pretty good coffee, right? And luckily, Monarch doesn’t disappoint. An iced and a regular latte (complete with lovely latte art, of course) both checked out. My iced latte was made with oat milk — which apparently they’re moving toward using exclusively — which was a new one for me. I think I prefer my usual almond milk, though the latte was still quite tasty. Unlike most coffeeshops, Monarch serves most of its drinks dine-in and hand-delivered to your table — part of a philosophy of “intentional service” focused more on the customer. One area that could use improvement (and would no doubt cause any true Parisian to frown) was the food. The food options were pretty limited, and though that’s hardly an anomaly for coffeeshops, the “berry” scone (it wasn’t berry, it was bacon and cheese) was a little dry and clearly had some identity issues.*

monarch coffee Kansas city

You might have noticed that I had a lot more to say about the Monarch space than the coffee itself. Take that as a clue. The coffee is good, but I wouldn’t deem it KC’s best latte, and I’m not sure I’d come back regularly for the coffee alone. For the charming space and opportunity to pretend I’m in a Paris cafe? Definitely.

 

*Since opening, Monarch has paired with 1900 Barker in Lawrence for baked goods, and it has been a while since I’ve been by, so to be fair, they might very well have upped their nosh game by now.

**This post originally appeared on my coffee blog, Beanopia, in July 2017.

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Our Daily Nada

August 1, 2019
Coffeeshop exploration Our Daily Nada in Kansas City

 

Our Daily Nada

304 Delaware Street, KCMO

When I first heard about a bookstore/café opening in Kansas City, I knew this was going to become my spot. It’s basically my favorite things all in one charming package: coffee, books, cozy urban hideaways. Spoiler alert: that turned out to be a very accurate prediction. After peeking hopefully in the windows almost daily for months, I happily made it my coffee haunt/workspace of choice to the point where the baristas knew my order the minute I stepped through the door (we’ll credit that to their attentiveness rather than my boring predictability/coffee addiction). In the art of full disclosure, I should mention that I now work at Our Daily Nada — so clearly I’m wholly unbiased here — but hey, that’s how much I love it! You could say I strategically wheedled my way into the behind-the-scenes of the place.

A self-proclaimed “boozy bookstore” — they get points there for both the genius of the idea and the alliteration — Our Daily Nada is nestled in KC’s historic River Market neighborhood in a late-19th/early-20th-century brick building. Think exposed brick walls, wood floors, and tall loft ceilings. The cozy space is decorated with a smattering of colorful vintage furniture, Art Deco-esque globe lights, and cheeky touches (one of my favorite bits is a Frida Kahlo pillow on the couch). There’s even a grand piano in the corner — feel free to sit down and tap out a tune.

The name “Our Daily Nada” is a nod to a Hemingway short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted Place,” which the owners say is “a story in part about everyone needing a place to escape.” And that’s what ODN is. It’s the type of place where drinks come in real cups and the modus operandi is browsing, meandering, gathering together and chatting with friends. Take a moment to thumb through the carefully curated selection of tomes — fiction, nonfiction, used, classics, local authors. Settle into a rose-pink armchair or the increasingly Instagram-famous emerald green couch and lose yourself in conversation or another world (or both). There’s an air of cozy camaraderie and whimsy that feels rare in most places these days. People come in to work or study at the little tables, meet up with friends over lattes (or just as often, a glass of wine or cocktail), or gather for a book club discussion. Come on a Tuesday night, and you can join in on game night —games from Monopoly to Trivial Pursuit are there for the playing. Every weekend they host a kids’ story time, and for Halloween a suitably spooky Edgar Allen Poe reading went down. You never know what the owners — two lovably kooky KC women who are usually around overseeing the shop — might cook up next.

And speaking of cooking, there’s plenty of that literally as well. In addition to coffee and cocktails, Our Daily Nada offers a small but tasty menu of bites and nibbles. Toasts are the main feature — avocado, prosciutto, smoked salmon, or ham and cheese — plus a killer Cobb salad and other small bites. Handmade to order, these aren’t for anyone in a hurry, but they’re carefully crafted and as pretty as they are delicious. (Shoutout to our amazing cooks, Stephan, Tori, and Elana!) And then, of course, there’s the main focus for many: the drinks. Coffee and lattes from local Broadway Roasters, and for happy hour (every night, by the way) and beyond, a good selection of wines and beers and an inventive cocktail menu. Half-Blood Prince, anyone? Yes, drink themes include Harry Potter andGame of Thrones. Cheers!

Ok, so I’m hardly an impartial party here. But really, a book wonderland, tasty coffee and booze, yummy homemade bites, cozy colorful charm, a local woman-owned business — what’s not to like? Come in on a Wednesday or Friday, and you can even say hi to little ol’ me!

Javaholic

Coffeeshop Love: Goat Hill Coffee

July 27, 2019
Coffeeshop exploration Goat Hill in Kansas City

 

Goat Hill Coffee & Soda

811 W. 17th Street, Kansas City, MO


Let’s talk about goats and mochas. What, isn’t that a typical topic of conversation for everyone? Ok, bear with me here. It perplexed me a bit at first that goats seemed to be a theme for coffee shops — the Laughing Goat, Kaldi’s, Goat Hill, etc. As a java nerd, I should have known better. In case you haven’t brushed up on your coffee history, Kaldi was a ninth-century Ethiopian goatherd who noticed his goats bursting with energy after eating some little red berries — and voilà, the discovery of coffee! Or so the legend goes. I don’t know if this was actually the inspiration for Goat Hill Coffee, but I’m going to officially declare the goat the official javaholic mascot in any case (and there’s your history lesson for the day).

Anyway, my mom and I were wandering around KC’s Westside neighborhood — an eclectic area of quirky shops, tiny indie restaurants, and shabby Victorian houses — and stumbled upon an irresistibly seafoam green coffee shop. Well, more like a coffee hole-in-the-wall. Of course, I can never resist a new coffee shop, let alone anything seafoam green, so we had to check it out.

Keeping with the neighborhood’s vibe, Goat Hill is tiny, charming, and quirky. Case in point: pressed tin ceiling, seafoam green details, vintage snow cone maker. Worn wooden shelves lined with vintage tchotsckes (and old-school lollipops for sale) add a rustic look. And when I say tiny, I really mean tiny. The shop consists of a window cove of retro metal chairs at a wraparound bar, plus a few seats overlooking the counter/kitchen area. It probably fits nine people max, plus the baristas. Luckily, that only adds to the charm.

On to the important stuff! Chocolate + coffee = bliss (amirite?) You would think that with a zealous love for chocolate and coffee (ahem), a mocha would be a sure bet for me. Perhaps surprisingly, though, I’m not really a mocha person. Or at least, I didn’t think I was. But this time I wanted something other than your standard latte, so I decided to give the mocha another chance. Spoiler alert: great choice. Not only was my mocha topped with a lovely rosetta latte art (hey, I’m susceptible to a good presentation), it was also delicious — rich, sweet, creamy, and perfectly chocolatey. Goat Hill has mostly basic offerings — you won’t find a frou-frou turtle-butterfinger-marshmallow fluff latte here — but their coffee is top-notch. They also serve Little Freshies snow cones, locally made icy treats in funky flavors like Blackberry Lavender, Spicy Ginger Fizz, and Blood Orange Rosemary. And if you want something sweet to accompany your java, they have a small but mouth-watering selection of scrumptious homemade donuts and pop-tarts. My only complaint is that they have only 8- and 12-oz. latte sizes. Yes, a massive latte is a java afficionado faux pas, but I wanted more mocha — that must be a good sign, right? I suppose I’ll just have to go back…

This post was originally published on my coffee blog, Beanopia, on March 6, 2017.