Drinking Coffee in Kansas City: Second Best Coffee

Second Best Coffee is an espresso bar located in an unsuspecting strip mall in the Waldo neighborhood. The coffee shop offers both in-house roasts and coffee blends hailing from all around the US, committing themselves to incessant improvement. It's all in the name: today's cup is "second best" to tomorrow's– they always strive to create better and better coffee.

Convenient for those living in the suburbs, but further from city-dwellers, Second Best Coffee's South Waldo location is a bit surprising - one typically doesn't come across such a high proportion of yoga moms to perfectly pulled espresso, ya know? The strip-mall setting is far from indicative of what sits inside the coffee shop, however. Upon entering, it is evident that you aren't in your run-of-the-mill coffee shop; it's quite the opposite. 

Generously sized seating lines the shop, while the espresso machine is the shining star of the shop– for good reason. The 3 Group Slayer is quite literally the Maserati of coffee making, accentuating its incredibly sleek profile and equally sleek coffee profiling - that is, its ability to manipulate the flavor profile of each bean through variations in flow rate, water temperature and more. 

Ozzie will go to bat for this shop any day, as he considers Second Best Coffee the finest espresso program in the city. Their approach to coffee service was inspired by one of the best restaurants in the world, The French Laundry. Furthermore, their globally sourced espresso options in combination with their array of breakfast burritos is a combination nobody can argue with. And if they want to argue, they can check out their current drink specials (also not to be messed with).

There is an immense spotlight on cycling culture per the "huge overlap in the biking and coffee community," which manifests in their biking-themed decor. Although Second Best Coffee takes great pride in their work, it is also obvious that they are avid participants within the greater Kansas City coffee community: it's not in every city that you see baristas wearing t-shirts that support other coffee programs.


Ozzie Louis Mendoza is a local coffee expert who was formerly with PT’s Coffee Roasting Co, the nationally acclaimed Topeka-based roaster. PT’s has a Kansas City shop located on Southwest Boulevard in the Crossroads Arts District.

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328 W 85th St, Kansas City, MO 64114 | www.secondbestcoffee.com