In case you haven’t noticed, I’m usually tired. I subsist on a steady diet of coffee and stress, but, because I’m fancy I only have the finest of both*. I spend a lot of my time in coffee shops to read, to write, to be around other humans so I don’t become a weird recluse. Each place serves a different purpose for me, and for you...here are my favorites (and why):
One More Cup is hands down one of my favorite places in general, not just coffee related. It’s cozy, the baristas are amazingly friendly and committed to their customers, and their rotating cookie selection is regularly by Sunday breakfast. But, real talk, we’re here for coffee. OMC uses Shatto Milk for their concoctions including a Root Beer Chai and, my favorite, a Curious George (banana and chocolate milk latte) but the real kicker is YOU CAN GET A SPRINKLE RIM on your latte. Having a bad day? Throw some sprinkles on your coffee, get a cookie, and even try to stay sad. You can’t.
Second Best - While for some time I was convinced it’s called "Second Best" as a Midwestern humility thing, the name isn’t based on self deprecation at all. Second Best refers to their relentless pursuit of being better, learning more, that the coffee they serve you tomorrow will be better than the one they make you today. That promise is really saying something since every experience, every drink I’ve had there is exceptional. Well crafted seasonal drinks, house made syrups, and invention specials make their coffee program special. Part of my affinity for 2BKC is due to their small selection of food; amazing breakfast burritos with locally made sausage, and muffins made with Jiffy Muffin Mix which remind me of childhood Saturday mornings.
Monarch - Love to Insta your latte? Monarch is *the* place to be. Their space is beautiful, bright, airy, and they have a mint green espresso machine. I am very much into this aesthetic and their extras; e.g. Hana’s Donuts, salads and waters from Unbakery (more on them in a minute). While the vibe and partnerships drew me in the thing that keeps me coming back is the coffee, always the coffee. I’m an alternative milk girl and Monarch offered a new to me choice, Oat Milk. If you prefer non-dairy milks, oat feels like a cozier alternative for me. It’s a little thicker and sweeter than almond and doesn’t overwhelm the coffee. It, like the rest of Monarch, is very hygge.
Messenger Coffee - The new(ish) Messenger is COMIN IN HOT. In the time the downtown location has been open, Messenger Coffee and Ibis Bakery have claimed a place very near the top of my coffee list. I would move in there if I could (they won’t let me). Not only does their new location have its own roaster; it is the home of their OWN FLOUR MILL. That’s right, they mill flour in house to get the perfect consistency for their own baked goods. The three story building offers space to work, amazing views of downtown, and a rooftop deck to get some fresh air.
Unbakery - While I’m perpetually trying to find the balance between fancy and hippie, Unbakery nails it. Their space is light, airy, full of gorgeous plants, baked and unbaked treats. Their waters, shots, and salads are unrivaled. A delicious, addictive poke bowl can come out of a fridge in the middle of Missouri, for real.
The bottom line is, I live off of caffeine and with a somewhat limited income I’m spending my coffee allowance on the best experiences I can find. The places above never disappoint in their atmosphere, their service, and their product. You should check them out, maybe I’ll even join you.
*I drink garbage coffee frequently. Sometimes you just need a fix.