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The Best Coffee Shops in Kansas City: A Local Guide

The Best Coffee Shops in Kansas City: Our Local Team’s Top Picks

By Jo McClure, CPP on Jun 14, 2024
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At Axcet HR Solutions, we’ve been proud members of the Kansas City community since 1988. More than just your local PEO, we are passionate advocates for local businesses, deeply woven into the fabric of our city. It’s our mission to support and uplift other small and mid-sized businesses in our area—what better way to connect and celebrate our community than over a great cup of coffee?

Driven by our love for all things local, the Axcet team set out on a flavorful quest to discover the best coffee Kansas City has to offer. Our journey was fueled by sips and stories from iconic spots like PT’s Coffee, Parisi Coffee, The Roasterie, Pilgrim Coffee, Messenger Coffee, and McLain’s. With so many vibrant coffeehouses brewing excellence, who will take the crown in our friendly local coffee competition? Stay tuned as our local Kansas City team reveals our top picks!

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A Brief Brewed History of Kansas City Coffee

Kansas City’s relationship with coffee is steeped in history and community. Back in 1908, long before artisan coffee shops dotted the landscape, the Folger’s Coffee Company Plant began its operations at 701 Broadway.

It was here that Frank Atha, a dedicated salesman, helped establish Folger’s roots in the Midwest, spreading their rich aromas from coast to coast. The iconic plant, a landmark for over a century, left a legacy of Kansas City coffee culture when it closed its doors in 2012.

However, the Kansas City coffee scene truly began to redefine itself in 1992 with the opening of Broadway Café by Jon Cates. Known as the pioneer café of Kansas City, Broadway Café not only survived the arrival of a nearby Starbucks but thrived, leading to the closure of the corporate giant’s location—the first such closure in the nation. This victory underscored a community preference for authentic, locally-owned establishments.

Our local Kansas City coffee shops are more than just places to grab a caffeine fix; they are vibrant gathering spots where ideas are exchanged, friendships are formed and the local spirit is celebrated. Let’s percolate through the results of our coffee quest and uncover the top gems Kansas City has to offer!

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The Roasterie: Winner Best Coffee Shops in Kansas City

Crowned as the best coffee in Kansas City, The Roasterie has been a beacon of local flavor and community since its inception in 1993. Danny O'Neill's love for coffee began unexpectedly in 1978 during a high school exchange trip to Costa Rica, where he picked his first coffee cherries. This passion eventually blossomed into The Roasterie, which he started in the basement of his Brookside home.

From these humble beginnings, The Roasterie has grown tremendously. The company first set up shop at 1519 Cherry Street and now boasts seven unique coffee shops in Kansas City. You can enjoy their meticulously crafted brews in Brookside, Stateline Road and I-435, the historic Factory location, Leawood, Woodside Village, and two locations in the vibrant corridors of Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Over the years, Danny O’Neill has not only focused on perfecting the art of roasting but has also built robust partnerships with coffee producers and fostered enduring relationships with customers. Under his leadership, The Roasterie has become synonymous with quality and sustainability.

O’Neill's tenure as president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America further highlights his commitment to enhancing global coffee communities and promoting specialty coffee standards.

At The Roasterie, every cup serves as a testament to their dedication to fast delivery and unforgettable coffee experiences, cementing their status as a leader in the Kansas City coffee scene and the best coffee shops in Kansas City.

McLain’s Bakery + Market: Runner-Up Best Coffee Shops in Kansas City

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Established in 1945 in the Waldo neighborhood, McLain’s carved out a beloved place in Kansas City's community heart, nurtured by the McLain family for over six decades. In 2013, the baton was passed to the Hirleman family, who reimagined and expanded the business with a fresh vision. Today, McLain’s is not just a bakery and cakery but also a bustling Kansas City coffee shop that serves breakfast and lunch, becoming a cornerstone for community gatherings across various Kansas City neighborhoods.

The evolution continued with the creation of Sway Coffee Roasters in 2019, an endeavor that aligns with McLain’s locations to enrich Kansas City’s coffee scene.

In 2022, Sway Coffee Roasters further established their commitment to quality and sustainability by opening a dedicated roasting space at 2700 W 43rd Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. They meticulously source their beans from reputable traders and producers, including a standout house brew from a non-profit in San Lucas, Guatemala. This selection underscores their commitment to supporting small farms and embracing sustainable practices.

Be sure to visit McLain’s Bakery + Markets and experience the warm, inviting atmosphere in their Kansas City coffee shops. With locations in Waldo, Overland Park, Shawnee, Stanley and Lawrence—and an exciting new location in North Kansas City on the horizon—there’s a McLain’s ready to welcome you.

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A Community-First Approach at Axcet HR Solutions

At Axcet HR Solutions, our deep roots in Kansas City do more than just anchor our headquarters; they inspire our every action. Our dedication to this community extends well beyond our comprehensive HR services, which include everything from managing payroll to overseeing benefits and risk management. We’re not only here to support the growth of small to medium sized businesses but also to actively participate in the enrichment of the community that has supported us for so long.

We recognize that our success is intertwined with the vibrancy of local enterprises. That’s why we celebrate and promote Kansas City’s unique culture and commerce at every opportunity. From the steamy cups of the best Kansas City coffee shops to the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our city, we’re committed to nurturing relationships that uplift and sustain our community’s fabric.

Ready to elevate your business with tailored HR solutions? Schedule a consultation with us today. Together, let's make your business thrive.

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Written by Jo McClure, CPP

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