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coffee bar with iced coffee in the foreground
coffee bar with iced coffee in the foreground
Original photo by Lilli Drewes

KC Coffee Shops Ranked by Taste and Atmosphere Pt. 1

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In Kansas City, every local coffee shop has given me serotonin during my first visit, and many of the baristas ask, “Is it for here?” If you say yes, you will get a mug, cup or plate rather than a to-go container. I am here to rank the first round of coffee shops I visited since living in Kansas City. 

For reference, here is the list of coffee shops I have visited so far:

  • The Roasterie
  • Urban Prairie Coffee
  • The Filling Station Coffee
  • Vested Coffee
  • Messenger Coffee Co.
  • Crows Coffee
  • Broadway Café
  • Mother Earth Coffee
  • Transit Coffee

There are two categories for my thoughts: taste and atmosphere.

The Taste

Vested Coffee

I did not get an iced coffee from here however, this place handed me the BEST iced matcha I have ever had. This drink had hints of vanilla and maybe coconut, but I was still able to taste the green tea flavor.

Urban Prairie Coffee

I have never had a bad drink from here except when I tried a drink that was made with cinnamon and honey. The drink just wasn’t sweet enough for me, but that is not their fault. The barista who always makes my drinks knows the coffee-making rules based off of what I have overheard from his conversations and when he was training a new barista on how to make my drink after I ordered.

The Roasterie

Depending on which drink I get from The Roasterie, it is usually great. Every coffee I have gotten has been really good, except when I got the Shatto Mocha and tasted like a straight cup of chocolate milk. A plus to the Brookside location is that there is never a long line and the baristas are always really nice.

Transit coffee

The menu was very simple and so was the iced caramel latte I got. This coffee did not taste bitter and went down smoothly. The caramel taste was very prevalent and had a better flavor than most places.

The Filling Station

Although The Filling Station uses Messenger Coffee when making their drinks, the station baristas know how to make an amazing Iced Caramel latte that doesn’t taste only like milk and is the color of coffee.

Broadway Café

This coffee shop does not play around, this is the best place if you want a straightforward coffee that tastes like coffee with flavor added, go here. The baristas automatically use regular cups no matter if it is hot or iced. I want to come back, do some homework and spend the rest of the weekend hanging out.

Crows Coffee

This was the first coffee shop I went to in K.C. when I visited UMKC for the first time after committing to the school. I can always count on this shop to make me a great iced coffee where I can taste the flavor, milk and coffee combined. The only downside is I feel like they never have any pastries.

Messenger Coffee Co.

For both The Filling Station Coffee and Messenger Coffee Co. you would think they would have the same taste. However, they did not. A point to make is that at both locations, I got an Iced Caramel latte. When getting a coffee from Messenger Coffee, I don’t remember the coffee being spectacular, but I do remember struggling to put my lid on, otherwise, it’s a good place to go if you’re near downtown.

Mother Earth Coffee

I did not have any coffee from here. However, I had a great sandwich for lunch when I went.  

The Atmosphere

Vested Coffee

Although this shop is at the bottom of an apartment building, the barista stand is a mental trailer inside the building. They have large comfy chairs made out of whicker, regular chairs, high-top chairs and tables that went along with each. The tables and chairs are spaced out well and the ceilings are high making it feel less claustrophobic than other coffee shops. This is also such a cute atmosphere to take pictures in. 

The Roasterie

I’ll be referring to The Roasterie on Brookside Blvd. This coffee shop has many different types of seating and table areas to choose from such as hightops, regular tables and chairs, booths, comfy cushioned chairs and a coach. The different areas to sit allow for many choices for how a person wants to study, however, the regular tables seem to be really smushed together. Other than the tables, The Roasterie allows for customers to choose to be close to the windows for sunlight or away to allow for a calmer feeling. 

Urban Prairie

Even though their shop is small, they do not overcrowd with tables and chairs. Throughout the shop, it is filled with artwork from local artists, plants and macrame. It is simple and aesthetic at the same time.

The filling station

The shop I went to was on Johnson drive and it is inside an old car garage. The shop had many plants, wasn’t overcrowded, had artwork on the walls, high-top and low-top chairs and tables. 

Broadway Café

This shop had an old-timey feel that I don’t think you could get anywhere else. While I was walking in, there was a group of older men sitting on the patio outside simply talking about life, which felt heartwarming to me. The menu is written in different colored chalk and the chairs and tables are separated from the ordering area. While I never sat inside, the shop felt very relaxing and family-like. 

Mother Earth Coffee

There are lots of places to sit at this shop, many plants and just enough windows to brighten up the room.

Messenger Coffee Co.

I liked the aesthetic of this shop because there are two floors and a patio. Just on the first floor, there are places to sit at the bartop, in a small living room type area, and at regular tables. 

Crows Coffee

I love this shop when it is dark outside because it seems secluded from the busy area it is in. The walls are brick and they have good seating that isn’t super close together. I don’t think I would study there because the lighting is really dark and there doesn’t seem to be many outlets to plug into if needed.

Transit Coffee

This coffee shop has a simple design and an open concept, but doesn’t have much seating for customers. 

I have yet to visit all of the local coffee shops in Kansas City, but I have not been disappointed by a single one. If you plan to visit KC, I hope that you found my article helpful in your coffee shop decision. You can’t go wrong with any of the choices on this list,  the taste and atmosphere for all of them are wonderful. The experience at each location is different. Find the one that suits you.

Hi Everybody! I am pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on Marketing and an interest area of Organizational Leadership. My hobbies include iced coffee drives, going to farmer's markets/antique shops and working on my podcast "Caffeinated with Ciara."
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