When I travel, I prefer to visit local coffeehouses because they offer a taste of local culture and history — and the best coffee this side of Seattle. Kansas City, Missouri, is home to dozens of local coffee shops, each using its own method to create outstanding coffee with the perfect balance of water and coffee beans.
And KC coffee prep is a far cry from opening a plastic container and dumping grounds into a filter; on the contrary, you’ll see baristas create your drink with the care and attention to detail you’d expect from a chef or an artist. In some cases, your coffee is a work of art.
While I could rate each of these coffee shops as the best in the City of Fountains, I’ll leave that distinction up to you. In no particular order, here’s a look at some of the best local coffeehouses in Kansas City.
1. Monarch Coffee
Coffee And Inclusion
Monarch Coffee in the Valentine neighborhood offers a clean, friendly, and inviting atmosphere. Surrounded by restaurants featuring Ethiopian, Caribbean, and Asian cuisine, Monarch Coffee seeks to be an inclusive environment, welcoming BIPOC, LGBTQIA, as well as other neighbors.
With comfortable booths, small tables with white marble tops, and spaces for people to work on laptops or just socialize, Monarch Coffee fulfills the dream the owners had of creating an airy and artsy spot with great coffee and food. Blue tables outside give off a Parisian street cafe vibe. Enjoy a cup of Americano or your favorite flavored latte along with a giant pastry.
Monarch also operates a coffee bar in the corporate office building at 2345 Grand Avenue.
2. Filling Station Coffee Garage
An Old Gas Station Living On As Coffee Shop
Tracing its roots to a former gas station, Filling Station Coffee Garage embraces that history with buildings that resemble vintage auto garages. The atmosphere is welcoming, great for sharing coffee with friends or spending the day working on a laptop. Partnering with Messenger Coffee, the Filling Station uses locally-roasted coffee beans to create mild-tasting flavors.
Also serving freshly-made sandwiches, Filling Station Coffee Garage is an excellent spot for breakfast or lunch. The coffee shop has locations in some of the Kansas City area’s most interesting neighborhoods: Midtown’s Union Hill, Westport, and the city of Overland Park on the Kansas side of the border.
3. Cafe Ca Phe
KC’s First Vietnamese Coffee Shop
The city’s first Vietnamese coffee shop, Cafe Cà Phê, got its start during the early days of the pandemic. After losing her gig as part of a touring musical company, Jackie Nguyen found herself in Kansas City searching for something to do. Realizing the Vietnamese community needed a quality coffee shop, she opened Cafe Cà Phê in a trailer in the Crossroads Arts District.
Using Nguyen Coffee Supply, a Brooklyn-based roaster, Cafe Cà Phê seeks to create an environment that embraces Vietnam’s familial culture, where people use coffee as part of the community. While I prefer my coffee hot (regardless of the season), Cafe Cà Phê serves an iced coffee that won me over. Baristas use a phin filter (metal filter) for pour-overs, helping create a unique taste.
The coffee shop is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Columbus Park, near River Market, after using space at RE:, formerly Restoration Emporium.
4. Oddly Correct
Mixing Art With Great Coffee
Perfectly named for its ambiance, Oddly Correct roasts its coffee on site using vintage presses to stamp bags. After more than 8 years at 39th and Main, Oddly Correct relocated to near 29th and Troost Avenue in 2021. The building, with its black exterior, seems like a metaphor for the hot, black brew awaiting your taste buds.
Foregoing reusable cups more than 2 years ago, expect your coffee in a mason jar (inside a koozie for your hand’s wellbeing) for takeout requests or an oversized cup when enjoying your drink in house.
No matter the style of coffee — including its signature bourbon vanilla latte — you’ll enjoy your visit to Oddly Correct. Owner Gregory Kolsto’s art adorns the coffeehouse’s walls, adding to the uniqueness of this Kansas City shop.
5. Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters
River Market’s Local Coffeehouse
Roasting in small batches, Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters offers a flavorful cup of java. With four locations around the Kansas City area (including Café Equinox in Shawnee), I’m partial to the River Market spot. With a comfortable seating area that rivals Central Perk on the television series Friends, customers can sit back and visit with each other, or grab a table and work away on laptops. Besides drinks ranging from Americano, latte, and cappuccino to cold brews, steamed drinks, and hot teas, Thou Mayest also sells alcohol during the afternoon and evening.
Consider getting your coffee to go and relaxing in a courtyard near the brick building or enjoy it while you browse the City Market, visiting vendors like Cristina’s Produce, Al Habashi Mart, or KC Soda Company. The farmers market is also a fun place to enjoy a drink as you check out the stands.
Coffee With A Caribbean Vibe
You’ll wonder if you’re in Kansas City or a Caribbean paradise when visiting Hitides. Designed to create a relaxing tropical atmosphere, Hitides’s drinks go the extra step, too. Not quite your parents’ coffee shop, Hitides takes coffee to the next level, with drinks featuring housemade whipped topping in the middle of a flavored latte with chocolate drizzled over the top. Of course, you can always order a basic hot coffee, latte, or cold brew.
Check out Hitides’ ice cream menu for a frozen treat. Add a bagel or delicious donut as a side, and you’re set for a great time in the Crossroads.
7. Cafe Ollama
Honoring Its Latino Heritage
Another Crossroads hit, Cafe Ollama took over a former music store and created an intimate, comfortable atmosphere where friends can enjoy a hot drink and talk about the day’s events or maybe a fútbol match. Promoting its Latino heritage, Café Ollama (pronounced Oyama) includes art featuring Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Outside, tables and chairs offer visitors the chance to enjoy their drinks with a sidewalk view.
Speaking of drinks, Ollama’s signature drink — Café de Olla — is a must! Slowly blended with cinnamon, spices, and piloncillo (refined sugar cone), the coffee includes a sweet foam topping with a Mexican cookie on top.
Unsure of what to try? How about a flight of their most popular menu items, ranging from a sample of black coffee to Chocoflan, an espresso with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate syrup, and vanilla extract.
8. Messenger Coffeehouse
Kansas City Staple Offering A Bird-Eye View Of Downtown
I prefer to check out original locations as often as possible when visiting coffeehouses with multiple outlets.
Messenger Coffeehouse’s first location at 1624 Grandview stands out for so many reasons. An amazing coffeehouse, Messenger features an artisan bakery on the first floor, and the aroma of freshly-baked pastries wafts through the building. Once you order a drink, you can enjoy it at a counter, in the seating area, or head upstairs to the second floor with a more wide-open seating space. If the sun is shining, head to the roof to enjoy your coffee. The view of Kansas City is one of the best you’ll find. And, if you’re like me, you may try to engage in conversation with any of the birds fluttering about, looking for scraps.
Oh, the coffee is simply amazing! Messenger works directly with producers in Latin America and Africa to ensure its coffee beans are sourced fairly. From a cup of Americano to a latte, espresso, or cold brew, you’ll enjoy the taste, as well as the view.
9. Mother Earth Coffee
An Eco-Friendly Coffee House
Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Mother Earth Coffee embraces an organic, Earth-loving environment. Sourcing beans from reliable farms, Mother Earth Coffee roasts its beans locally, serving outstanding drinks, including lattes, espresso, cappuccino, and cold brew.
Mother Earth Coffee features a large, open area with plenty of tables and chairs, as well as sofas, and is a great spot for business meetings, a break, or lunch with friends.
10. Cafe Corazon
Celebrating Kansas City’s Latino Community
Café Corazon is the story of a family’s love for each other and its community. From the beautiful murals that embrace the Latinx community of Kansas City to the hands-on construction of the coffeehouse’s décor, the Castagna-Herrera family created Café Corazon to celebrate local Latino heritage.
Working with Latin American coffee farmers, Café Corazon ensures the beans it uses are responsibly sourced. They have impressive drinks, including tasty espressos, lattes, and teas, and Café Corazon’s menu has something for everyone. With a variety of Yerba Mate teas from four South American nations, Café Corazon is one of a handful of coffeehouses across the United States that offers the drink featuring coffee’s strength combined with tea’s health benefits and the delicious flavor of chocolate.
Cafe Corazon has two locations, in the Crossroads and Westport.
11. The Roasterie Coffee Company
Proudly Working With Direct Trade Farms
With its iconic DC-3 airplane welcoming visitors, The Roasterie Coffee Company has long believed in direct trade, responsibly sourcing coffee from Latin American and African outlets. From the first time its founder picked coffee beans in the late 1970s to its opening in 1993, The Roasterie has been one of Kansas City’s most popular coffee shops.
The Roasterie has several locations around town. During your visit to The Roasterie Factory Cafe, take a tour of the warehouse, where you’ll learn the history of The Roasterie and see its roasting process up close. Then, stop at the counter and order your favorite coffee for a flavorful visit. And with its beans and grounds sold regionally, you can enjoy The Roasterie long after your visit.