Circling around Wornall and 82nd Street for 15 minutes, my friend and I couldn’t seem to find the infamous Second Best Coffee. This espresso-centric coffee house was hard to spot if you don’t know what you were looking for (which was the case). No big banner or sign, just an eagle holding a coffee painted on to the window in a deep orange.
Opening up the doors, the hidden coffee shop didn’t hide any personality in the modern decor inside. Wooden walls with accents of orange flower pots and pictures of bikers on the wall complemented the tall steel tables and glistening white coffee cups of every size in the hands of the many customers.
For Second Best’s humble size, it was packed with customers. Almost every wooden booth and steel bar table was occupied. There were two open seats at a metallic bar open which we claimed.
When we went up to the barista we asked him for the best sellers. I’d consider myself an amateur coffee drinker and he recommended the cappuccino for me. My friend, a black coffee drinker, was recommended the Ethiopian blend. He immediately asked if we were from East and said that he has gotten a lot of business from kids at our school. The barista was friendly, relaxed and added to the down-to-earth Sunday morning feel.
Ordering wasn’t a hard task considering they had a very limited coffee menu, which is what they are known for. The purpose of this coffee shop is to have the “second best coffee”, literally. Unlike coffee businesses like Starbucks, they are aiming to create a cup of coffee that never gets old and tires out their customers. I, for one, don’t get tired of the frothy, sugar-high drinks Starbucks has to offer (with whipped cream added please).
Second Best also sells breakfast food like breakfast burritos and muffins. The apple cinnamon muffin behind the glass wall of the counter caught my eye with its huge size and cinnamon crumbles all over it, I needed to try it. Their special burrito of the day included lamb, so my friend and I decided to order both on a whim.
We sat down and waited for the slow-brewing coffee. The coffee took almost as long to make as it took to find the place. Ten minutes later, the cutest baby cup of coffee arrived at our table. It was my cappuccino. The chestnut color of the drink was complemented with a white foam design on top; totally Instagram worthy. My friend’s Ethiopian blend came out on a metal pan and was served in two cups, a white coffee cup like mine and a glass pitcher containing the blend. The presentation was an A+.
At about the same time the warmed muffin, which smelled like an apple cinnamon bundle of goodness, arrived in front of me. A breakfast burrito, which was wrapped in a white paper and tied with a vintage rope knot, also came out to my friend.
We cautiously sipped on our steaming coffees. Wow, that’s bitter, I thought. I’m not used to this strong of coffee.
I took a quick bite of my apple cinnamon muffin , which was extremely delicious with its warm center and little specs of cinnamon throughout it. The only way for me to approach this cappuccino was sip of coffee, bite of muffin, sip of coffee, bite of muffin.
I thought mine was bitter until I took a sip of the Ethiopian blend; that was a whole other level of bitterness. I’m not hard-core enough to drink that coffee, but if you’re looking for a rustically modern coffee house with insanely strong coffee, Second Best has your name written all over (just like a Starbucks coffee cup).
Although I didn’t particularly enjoy the coffee, my muffin was amazing and I highly recommend it. The lamb breakfast burrito was interestingly delicious, which was surprising to me considering how nervous It’s contents made me feel while I was ordering it.
The presentation was perfect. I was really impressed. Truly an ideal place to spend a morning on the weekend. If I was a hard-core coffee enthusiast and could handle their strong blends, I would go all the time, but since I’m not I’ll go with a Starbucks double chocolate chip frappuccino for now.