Chow Town

This week a big one for coffee, tea in Kansas City

Updated: 2013-10-31T03:14:07Z

By ANNE BROCKHOFF

It’s a big week for coffee and tea in Kansas City.

First there’s the Caffeine Crawl this weekend, perhaps the best consumer overview of local coffee and tea shops you could ask for.

Didn’t get around to buying tickets? No worries, Kansas City Coffee & Tea Week has you covered. The event runs Friday through Nov. 8 and features all kinds of tasty things.

They so far include a mystery drink with bourbon, toddy and coconut affogato at the Filling Station; a Hugo Tea sampling at One More Cup on Nov. 5, plus daily drink specials; single origin coffees from San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee at Quay Coffee; Beatrix Potter Cream Teas and a Glenburn Estate Tea Tasting at Queen’s Pantry in Leavenworth; Cuban-style coffees at YJ’s Snackbar and a week’s worth of drink specials at Coffee Girl’s Café.

The folks at Oddly Correct might also be in a celebratory mood this week after Tyler Rovenstine won the South Central Barista Championship. It’s no easy feat. The competition, which is sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild of America, requires contestants to prepare four shots of espresso, four cappuccinos and four servings of their signature drinks within 15 minutes.

Rovenstine used Oddly Correct’s Finca El Roble Espresso from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. (In a side note, the coffee was imported by Kansas City native Tim O’Brien, who now runs Cafétin Roasting Co. in Maryland.)

For his signature drink, Rovenstine combined it with an orange oleo saccharum (a citrusy, sugary, syrupy cocktail staple), panela (an unrefined cane sugar) and fresh sage.

The drink must have been delicious, and certainly Rovenstine’s performance impressed judges. Self-described coffee culture clearinghouse Sprudge described him as a “deliberate, methodical competitor on stage, effortless in his station maintenance and composure.”

It’s especially cool to see Rovenstine win, given that he was a finalist in last year’s competition — the one Parisi’s Pete Licata won before going to capture the U.S. and then the World Barista Championship titles.

Licata’s is a unique perspective, and one that you can hear more about on Monday during Barista Nation KC at About the Coffee. His take on connecting coffee communities caps a day’s worth of seminars on everything from latte art and coffee milkshakes to coffee macroeconomics and the coffee culture of Rwanda. If you want to take in all that, note that registration ends Thursday.

And the best part? After all the hubbub dies down, we still get to live and drink in what Jason Burton of The Lab, which is helping facilitate many of the week’s activities, insists is one of the top beverage cities in the country. I’ll raise my cup to that.

Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ life.wordpress.com .

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