I was happy, but a little surprised, to find an Intelligentsia wholesale client in Kansas City. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have been given that Take Five reached out to Zoka in Washington state. Certainly, getting your coffee from Chicago isn’t all that different than Latteland getting their coffee from Kaldi’s in St. Louis. I guess I was simply surprised that more cafe, like Black Dog, didn’t get their coffee from a high-end roaster like P.T’s coffee, much closer in Topeka. It seems that cafes in Kansas City aren’t afraid to go cosmopolitan.
You’ll find Crossroads in a small strip mall surrounded by a handful of small businesses in an area that appears to be still up and coming. Inside the cafe is spacious and well lit despite having only one wall of windows. The one brick wall and airiness goes a long way to offsetting the less appealing design choices like the forest green tables and wooden chairs. And there is the added bonus that Coffeehouse bakes its own pastries and provides a lunch menu, given that there’s not a lot else around here for food.
As I mentioned the coffee comes from Intelligentsia. The barista pulls shots of Black Cat on a La Marzocco Linea while filter coffee consists of a rotating coffee (that day was a single origin) brewed on their Fetco and stored in an airpot. Although it’s not on the menu, staff will also brew your choice of coffees in a Chemex. You can also buy your choice of 4-5 different beans (including the El Diablo, which is fitting at the Crossroads for you Robert Johnson fans), but I noted that most were at least 2 weeks and sometimes up to a month past the roast date.
My shot of Black Cat wasn’t exceptional, but solidly good. Despite a few bubbles, the crema was enduring and appropriately reddish in color and the espresso itself was sweet and juicy, slightly syrupy and thick. I noted blackberry, milk chocolate and lime with a slightly acrid aftertaste (3+).
For filter coffee, I went with a Chemex of of the Guatemala (I failed to note which one but this was several months ago so it’s likely no longer available). The coffee was quite good with notes of cocoa, black tea, grapes, and nectarine. It was a clean, slightly sharp, bright coffee with mild floral notes which was well-brewed and certainly better than the brief sip of the Fetco-brewed coffee I tasted (3+).
Overall, Crossroads may not be the best Intelligentsia coffee you’ve had but it does well by Kansas City coffee standards and deserves a spot towards the top of your list when visiting.