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Crow's Coffee - by Steve Agocs

Crow’s Coffee – by Steve Agocs

I first learned about Crow’s Coffee, one of the newer coffee shops in Kansas City, a handful of months ago from my friend, Emily Farris (the famous radio/podcast personality and freelance writer with a CV three miles long… see Feed Me KC and Feed Me Creative) who was a consultant helping Crow’s get their start off on the right foot (wing?). For some reason I thought Crow’s was in Waldo, but it’s actually a fair jump north of that neighborhood over by UMKC. Good parking, walking distance for students, nice wide sidewalks for a couple park benches and pretty decent amount of room inside. What more do you want to know? Oh, the coffee… 🙂

Crow’s Coffee is using Messenger Coffee Co. coffee, a relative newcomer to Kansas City’s burgeoning artisanal coffee roasting scene. I have been following Messenger on Instagram for a while and didn’t even know they were local. I know virtually nothing about the company or their beans and their website doesn’t lend a ton of information yet, although I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about Messenger in the coming year.

I ordered two drinks, seen in the photo above, an espresso and the “controversial” (in the coffee community, at least, and then only if you care, which no one does, LOL) Gibraltar. They were both good. The espresso is what I’d consider of the “traditional” variety, leaning more toward an Italian/European style with nice roasty flavors. The other side of this spectrum would be what is considered “West Coast” style espresso, which tends to be really bright, somewhat sharp and even lemony. Hit up Oddly Correct one of these days for an espresso if you haven’t already and you’ll understand what I mean. 

The Gibraltar was tasty and the Messenger espresso (pulled off a gorgeous Ferrari red La Marzocco machine) worked great with milk. Gibraltars are named that because they are served in a small 4-oz glass called by the same name by the company that sells them. Until the past year or two this drink was called a “cortado” which is a shot of espresso with steamed milk/foam poured into it. It’s bigger than a macchiato, which is basically an espresso with a dollop of foam on it, but much smaller than a latte or typical American cappuccino. Although, go to Italy and order a cappuccino and this is about the size of drink you’re going to get, as opposed to it’s oversized American counterpart. So, it’s basically a mini cappuccino. The “controversy” comes from the re-naming of the cortado, thanks to Blue Bottle in San Francisco which was supposedly the first company to pour these little guys into Gibraltar glasses.

Like I said, WHO CARES, right?! There’s no murder, no sleeping with wives, etc around this Gibraltar/cortado/cappuccino mess, so it’s hardly a controversy outside of the blogosphere.

Crow’s was comfortable and quiet while I was there (10-11AM on a Wednesday morning), the decor is pleasant, the coffee is good, and they order a good selection from drip to pourover and Chemex and the usual espresso-based milk drinks. The outdoor seating is a nice plus, especially as we move into Autumn, and I think with their location, good service and solid coffee they are going to have a successful time here in the UMKC neighborhood. 

Well, I haven’t posted in over a year, so I doubt anyone is still reading, but if you are, then hello! I’ve been doing the good eating/living/exercise thing for about 15 months now and my beer consumption has diminished to almost nothing. I think I’ve had four beers in the last 6 months, and all of those were in this last month, actually. Maintaining gluten-free/almost-free is an easy way for me to cut out empty calories because if you put me in front of bread, cookies, etc, there just isn’t any stopping.

Anyway, so I’ve been on a major coffee kick even more so than usual to fill the empty void beer has left in my life. LOL

My last post was about coffee from Oddly Correct and a lot has happened in Kansas City since. I’m WAY behind on knowing what’s going on because I have been roasting my own coffee at home and prior to that I was hooked on Oddly Correct beans. I’m on a two-week break right now so I will be posting some field trip reports soon.

The Quay has opened in the River Market, using Oddly Correct beans. There’s PT’s in the Crossroads and I know some magazine recently declared it was one of the top ten roasters in the country. Also there’s Second Best Coffee in Waldo, which has their own custom Slayer espresso machine. The Slayer is supposed to be the holy grail of espresso machines, so I’m most looking forward to that.

As for my own adventures, I’ve been doing the air popcorn popper roasting method and LOVING it. I have thought about giving it a shot a few times over the years but figured, “Nah, it’s probably difficult or the coffee probably sucks or…” I don’t know what prompted me to look into it again about two months ago but I did and much to my surprise I found out the popcorn popper I’ve been using for YEARS is the much-loved West Bend Poppery 2, the holy grail of popcorn poppers! LOL I bought some green beans from Sweet Maria’s and gave it a shot. I was very surprised at the results. One “modification” I did make was I started plugging my machine into one of those super long orange extension cords to suck some of the power out of it. I was having trouble differentiating between first crack and second crack. Sweet Maria’s recommends most of their beans be roasted somewhere between first crack and the beginning of second crack, so extending that time period in between has worked out well for me.

I can d0 100 grams of beans at a time (a little over 1/2 cup) and that takes about 6-7 minutes. Once roasted almost every batch I do comes out to 86-87 grams, so you lose about 15% in water and chaff coming off the beans. I haven’t had a bad batch yet and I am happy enough with the results that I have completely stopped buying coffee from anyone else.

Do I get the grape jelly Ethiopians like Oddly Correct does? No, not quite, as you can’t ramp up and hold temperatures and etc to develop flavors, but it is DAMN GOOD coffee and greens beans are about $6-$8/pound which is way cheaper. I’m happy!

 

Faithful Liquid Diet readers, some friends of mine have started what is turning out to be an absolutely fantastic blog and podcast on the Kansas City food and drink scene called Feed Me KC. It is exploring all aspects of what KC has to offer, not just the obvious (BBQ, as delicious as it is… but we all know KC has awesome BBQ, so FeedMeKC is helping you see what ELSE is around… and it’s a LOT!).

The podcast is well done, funny, entertaining and extremely informative. I’m impressed. The writing is good, everything is concise and the blog is professional and awesome-looking.

Check it out and enjoy! I have more beer reviews in the hopper for The Liquid Diet, so stay tuned!

Once again (and you’ve heard it before), I’m still here and I’m still going to contribute to this blog, but the posts have been really anemic for a while. A little explanation: I am BUSY!!! The blog is simple fun and it’s not a priority, as much as I hate how that sounds, but it’s the truth. I have been getting killed at work and I have a big event later this year that is taking a lot more time up. Second, I’m on a healthy eating kick. I am doing really well with it and beer just doesn’t play into the equation. Third, I just haven’t had much opportunity to drink beer and if I have it’s been the usual social calls, not really drinking interesting new stuff I haven’t reviewed before. Like last year, I’m still working through a lot of beers I have on hand, so in the rare times I drink one at home, it’s something I’ve written about here already.

So, as in the past, I’m on a bit of a hiatus from the blog, but I will be back and I appreciate your patience! In the meantime, there are no shortages of beer blogs to take up your time, so enjoy them while I’m trying to improve my health and all that!

Sorry for the low post volume recently, everyone. I am really taking my health a lot more seriously and I’ve cleaned up my diet to perfection (not kidding, I have eaten a model diet for the past 3 weeks, no cheating!) and alcohol doesn’t play into the equation at this point in the game. The good news is I’ve lost about 14 pounds and reduced my BMI by close to 6 points in 3 weeks, so the effort is well worth it and I’m putting new habits in place that I can sustain for a lifetime. It has been hard not reviewing beers, especially now that the weather is cooling off and it’s my favorite time of year to sip, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to indulge here and there over the holiday season, but at this point my health is more important than drinking beer, so posts are going to be few and far between for a while, I’m sorry to say. I’m definitely NOT giving up on the blog, but I do need to set it aside for a while.

As much as I hate to give up the nifty Bigfoot bottle 2009 bottlecap header from 2009’s theme, I figured 2010 deserves a new look to the site. I think this one is super clean and easy to read, so while it’s a little on the sterile side I think it’s a nice look. Let me know what you think!

I know, I haven’t posted anything in quite some time, but I’ve been traveling or doing something else profession-related every weekend for the past while, so once Thanksgiving is over I’ll be back in the swing of things and writing more reviews. Thanks for your patience!