If you’re going to survive the summer in Kansas City, you need to get familiar with cold brew coffee. It goes by many names: cold press, Toddy (a brew system that allows coffee grounds to soak in cold water) or Kyoto (a tall, often hour glass shaped drip-style coffee maker).
For those who’ve never tasted it, cold brew coffee is exactly as it sounds. Coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for a long period of time (often at least 12 hours). The result is a coffee concentrate that is said to be lower in acid and contains stronger flavors than its hot-brewed counterpart. [Here’s a guide to making your own cold brew at home.]
If you need a gateway introduction, stop by One More Cup (7408 Wornall) in Waldo and say these words: ‘Cali-Cola, please.’ They’ll deliver you a Mexican Coke with a shot of toddy concentrate. It’s a wild drink that’s taste’s like a mocha’s cousin. After you’ve leveled up your mouth, here are five places to score a proper bit of cold brew coffee in Kansas City.
5. Cold Front — PT’s at the Crossroads (310 Southwest Boulevard). Available by the glass or growler, cold brew coffee is one of the signatures of the Topeka-based roaster. They sell so much, they had to name it. They’re also beginning to dabble with cold brew barista creations. Go here if you want to push your comfort zone a bit.
4. Cold brew — Alchemy Coffee (1901 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence). If you had any question about whether they were serious about cold brew in Lawrence, just look to the right of the front door where a set of cold brew towers are on the wall in a case that appears fit for trophies. Alchemy, true to its name, is delightfully experimental with cold brew coffee. They’ll offer you it straight up or cut with chocolate almond milk — an earthy concoction with a rich sweetness in the finish. If they’ve got cake on the counter, indulge in a slice. Owner Benjamin Farmer was also one of the first area shops to bottle its brew (growlers are coming soon). Take a couple home as drinkable mementos. This one is for those with a bit of a sweet coffee tooth.
3. Barrel-conditioned Coffee — Parisi Cafe (30 W Pershing Road & 5245 W 116th Place, Leawood). Parisi is one of the few shops in the country that is using green coffee that has been aged in bourbon barrels (read about the process here). Ask for the Kyoto version (it’s also available hot). It’s a rich, thick cup of coffee that has some sweetness, even some chocolate and cherry notes. Don’t let milk touch it, just as you wouldn’t add a splash to that whiskey you’re sipping on the rocks.
2. Toddy — Broadway Cafe and Roasting Company (4012 Washington). Head over to the cafe in the roasting headquarters (a block from the shop you’re thinking of in Westport). There they usually have time to give you cold brew and a lesson (if you want it, they’re not pushy) about what you’re drinking and how it was made. [In the spirit of learning, The Kansas City Business Journal had an interesting piece last month featuring Broadway co-owner Jon Cates talking about the issue of coffee leaf rust.]
1. Hop Toddy — Oddly Correct (3940 Main Street). It comes in a brown bottle and they’ll brown bag it if you’re taking it to go. This is the one you work toward because it’s complex and bold, in part because of the hops added during the cold brew process. In some ways this is the new age version of the dark black, spoon-straightening coffee you think of cowboys sipping out of tin mugs around a fire. It’s a test of strength that may make you reach for the ice or half-and-half. Or it may make you reach for another.
Where do you go for a great glass of cold brew?