Just to preface, I think you should know that I love coffee. I had my first cup of joe at the young age of 13 and haven’t turned back since. This is partially because of the withdrawal headaches I get when I don’t have my daily dose, and partially due to it’s bittersweet taste I have come to love. When my nose isn’t buried in my chemistry textbook or honors algebra 2 practice problems, there’s a good chance you can find me lounging in one of KC’s many coffee shops. My black Volvo takes me to cafes anywhere from Waldo to Westport to Brookside, and even Midtown and the West Bottoms when I’m up for a drive. So when I heard of the newly opened Made In KC Cafe in downtown Kansas City, I knew I had to add it to my list.
A few days later I found myself making the 25 minute trek from the East area to the cafe, which is located in the heart of downtown Kansas City. The cafe, which is also a combined retail space, had a vintage Brooklyn vibe that made the drive worth it. The green dangling plants behind the coffee bar and earthy tones of the tile added a homey feel, while the black and white photos of artistic people and modern architecture contributed to a big city atmosphere similar to that of New York City. My favorite piece of decor was a light-up sign reading “meet me for coffee” –– yes please!
After reading over the short and sweet menu and sampling a few pastries, I was ready to order. Wanting to branch out, I decided to try the iced vanilla latte rather than my regular hot caramel latte. I added a ham and cheese croissant, which they order from Heirloom bakery, to my purchase. Unfortunately, I was shocked to learn that my total at the register was $10 for only a coffee and a pastry rather than my usual $5 Starbucks runs.
After ordering, I made my way back to the seating area, which also doubled as the retail area that holds goods from various Kansas City based retailers – hence the name “Made in KC”.
Sifting through the dozens of local-made products on the shelves surrounding me was an entertaining pastime while we waited for our order. The shelves were lined with goods ranging from Kansas City themed coloring books to seasoned nuts. If it wasn’t for my coffee-damaged bank account, I would’ve come home with a new pair of Made in KC socks and homemade soap.
It was hard to pull away from the shelves of trinkets when my order was ready. I took a seat at a vintage marble-top table next the the speakers softly playing alternative music and dug into my breakfast.
Because of the price and knowledge that the coffee is from Messenger Coffee Co., one of my favorite coffee shops, I set a high standard for my latte. But I was disappointed. Maybe it was the vanilla syrup, but it was overly sweet and ended with an nutty taste I had never experienced. I kept sipping, hoping for the taste to improve, but to no avail. While the taste wasn’t amazing, the appearance was. The top half of the cup was filled with white cream and vanilla, while the middle of it started to blend with the dark coffee at the bottom. I snapped a few photos for Snapchat and moved on to the warm ham and cheese croissant that awaited me on the teal ceramic plate.
The warm buttery croissant was the highlight of my order. It was like the traditional, golden brown croissant, but it was slightly less flaky and stuffed with ham and cheese. I was hooked after one bite of the savory pastry and quickly ate the rest.
Looking back, the coffee and food experience was decent, but it was the atmosphere and unique component of including so many local retailer’s products that set this cafe apart from others in Kansas City. It was gratifying knowing that everything from the coffee and croissants to the candles and chapstick on the shelves were made by local business owners. The modern, city-like vibe combined with cozyness of warm green succulents and relaxing music created an environment that anybody can be comfortable in. It’s safe to say I’ll be back to Baltimore Street soon. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll take home those socks.