The Food Issue

Kaldi’s Coffee is making drip coffee hip again

Alexis Provenghi prepares coffee using the pour-over method at Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Co. on the Country Club Plaza.
Alexis Provenghi prepares coffee using the pour-over method at Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Co. on the Country Club Plaza. The Kansas City Star

Mr. Coffee machines killed drip coffee’s cool factor. The insanely successful appliance was seen as the fast and cheap method of the masses. Its mediocrity spawned the gourmet coffee culture and in-home espresso machines.

Lost in the leap to lattes was the very honorable heritage of the European drip brewing method known as a “pour over” or a “hand pour.” The low-tech devices involved were a simple porcelain Melitta funnel, the choice of legions of college students, and the gorgeous glass-and-wood Chemex used by Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Both involved pouring boiling water by hand slowly over freshly ground coffee in a paper filter.

Now Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co. is putting the hip back into drip. The St. Louis-based chain, which bought out Latteland and took over its six Kansas City metro locations, offers pour-over preparation of all its roasted coffees, as well as traditional espressos and lattes.

Kaldi’s wanted to expand into Kansas City because coffee culture here is more advanced than in St. Louis. “The coffee market here is really sophisticated compared to other cities. It’s one of the best in the country,” co-owner Josh Ferguson says, sipping a hot pour over at the Jefferson Street location on the Plaza.

Kaldi’s, named after a sixth-century Ethiopian goat herder who noticed the stimulating effect munching on coffee berries had on his flock, just netted a big prize: the Gold Seal at the Good Food Awards in January 2015 for its Ethiopian Dama, a fair-trade, organic, heirloom Yirgacheffe from Gedeo.

Kaldi’s Coffee: Six area locations including 4771 Jefferson St., Kansas City; 816-931-7577; kaldiscoffee.com; Facebook; Twitter @kaldis_coffee and Instagram @kaldis_coffee.

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