Today’s Coffee Spot continues the retelling of last month’s American road trip through the medium of coffee shops. We’ve reached Kansas City, our final overnight stop before Madison, South Dakota, where we called into Monarch Coffee, a recommendation from Sump Coffee in St Louis.
Monarch is a roaster which used to have two bricks-and-mortar stores in Kansas City, one of which was the lovely store on Broadway which we visited. Sadly, Monarch took the difficult decision to close both stores at the end of October, although it’s still going strong as a roaster, making this the first time that I’ve written about a coffee shop knowing it was closed. I did consider not posting, but decided that this would be a fitting tribute to Monarch Coffee.
Monarch Coffee was on the ground floor of the Ambassador apartment building, occupying a large corner unit on the right. With limited tables outside on the pavement, there was plenty more seating in the spacious interior, arrayed on either side of the island counter offset to the left. When it came to coffee, there was a commendably concise espresso-based menu with a single-origin option on batch brew filter, plus iced and nitro options.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Monarch Coffee is in Kansas City, which, despite the name, is in the state of Missouri, meaning that I’ve yet to visit Kansas, although I did manage to visit five states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota) for the first time on the road trip which tempered my disappointment. The coffee shop we visited occupied a large, double unit on the corner of Broadway and Knickerbocker Street. We sat outside with Fergie, Amanda’s dog, although the interior was lovely and I’m hopeful that another coffee shop will take over the lease since it’s a fabulous space, with windows along the front and down the right-hand side. I was also taken by the panelled ceiling.
The interior had a European feel to it, with two rows of small, round, two-person tables to the right of the counter, plus a window-bar down the right-hand side. Alternatively, there was a long communal table in the smaller space to the left of the island counter, with more tables beyond that. Meanwhile at the back, two broad alcoves flank a broad flight of stairs that lead to a downstairs function room, while to the right of the stairs is a lovely three-sided booth built into the back wall.
Turning to the coffee, which is all roasted in-house (and which, I must stress, is all still available, since Monarch is continuing as a roaster), we sampled a reasonable selection. Len had the batch brew, which was the Gaturiri AA Kenya during our visit, while Amanda had a cappuccino, which I’m pleased to say came in a 5½ ounce cup. Meanwhile, I’d spotted the one-and-one on the menu (a single espresso and a piccolo) so naturally I went for that. We also sampled the cakes, with Amanda having a proper scone (rather than the American variety), while I had a very fine spicy ginger cookie.
Len professed himself very happy with his filter coffee, while Amanda enjoyed her cappuccino, getting notes of lemon with hints of dark chocolate. The cappuccino, along with my one-and-one, was made with Monarch’s Emissary Blend, current a mix of the naturally-processed Santa Isabel from Colombia and the washed San Jose del Lago from Guatemala. On its own in my espresso, the Emissary was quite sweet, although it became more acidic on the second sip. Meanwhile, in milk I found that it was produced some classic notes.
Before I left, I gave the staff a bag of the Malacard B – Orange from El Salvador, which I’d bought at Café Grumpy in Brooklyn at the start of my trip. To keep the chain going, I bought a bag of the Kanzu Lot #21, a washed coffee from Rwanda which is currently on its way with me to Austin, Texas. However, when the staff heard what I was doing, they insisted on gifting me a bag of the La Estrella Gesha from Colombia, which Amanda and enjoyed when we got back to Georgia at the end of the road trip.
|3550 BROADWAY BOULEVARD • KANSAS CITY • MO 64111 • USA|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Monarch (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||CLOSED||Seating||Tables, Window-bar, Tables (outside)|
|Thursday||CLOSED||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||CLOSED||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||5th October 2022|
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Interesting to hear this and I wonder what the reason was for closing their stores. Hospitality is going through a crisis but coffee roasters have an inbuilt margin that gives them a competitive advantage.
Hopefully it will simply be a change of strategy (focus on e-commerce perhaps?)but if not then it is a sad reflection of the current economic landscape.
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