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Sep 3, 2006 04:07 PM

St. Louis Coffee Shops

I live by Washu and I adore Kaldi'. Occasionally I drift to Kayak's, but I would like to branch out. Are there other great coffee shops in St. Louis?

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  1. There are interesting shops, but not really great shops in my opinion. I've not had a really good latte or espresso in St. Louis, and even the nicer shops like Kaldi's are really selling coffees that aren't all that fresh. Ideally you want to drink coffee that was roasted in the last 7 days, and with about 30 different varietals on offering at Kaldi's, there's no way they're selling it all that quickly. that I'm done being a coffee snob.

    Friends of mine swear by Northwest...I've not been, but I've seen it come up often on other sites as well so I've been meaning to make the trek. They used to buy IntelligenSIA beans before begining to roast themselves. As I mostly buy IntelligentSIA, I'm hoping that they have good beans since they decided to do it for themselves, and that they take the same anal stance toward roasting that IntelligentSIA does.

    Cyrano's in Webster Groves serves IntelligentSIA so it might be a good choice. Not sure how their barristas are.

    Shaw Coffee in on the hill is a cool shop in an old bank. Coffee is better then most, but I don't think it trumps Kaldi's.

    There's a place in Florissant of all places called Alaskan Klondike that is, as far as I know, the only SCAA certified shop in the city.

    Stage Left in O'Fallon is pretty good depending on the barrista.

    Picasso's in St. Charles is one I've been meaning to try. I saw it on Main Street as I run out there Saturday mornings a lot but didn't have time to check it out. It looked nice, and when I took a peak at their website, they had some latte art pics, so I'm assuming that they take it seriously. We'll see...

    1. I must encourage a visit to the Northwest Coffee roasting store- there is one in Clayton and the actual raosting is done at Laclede and Boyle in the CWE. They really have a special touch. The difference is obvious.
      Full disclosure here- I bake a bit for their store in Clayton. Notice I only rec' the coffee since more would be shameless.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stlSarah

        Try Goshen Coffee aka "222" at 222 Main St. in Edwardsville. Top notch daily baked breads and pastries as well.

      2. Goshen/222 Artisan Bakery has handidly the best bread/pastries in the area. I drive over at least every couple weeks to experience the delight that comes to me with a cup of coffee, a pastry and a beautiful loaf of bread for home.

        There coffee is certainly better then most, but I wouldn't drive over if it weren't for the baked goods.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bobzemuda

          bobz, glad to read that people - at least you - are making the trek over here. I work down the street from 222, and I know that Matt [the proprietor and roaster] is pretty particular about his coffee making, e.g., the temperature of the water, etc. We're lucky at my office to have his beans be the office brew for our 300 employees. When the new Erato [the wine bar down the street] moves to its new, expanded location, closer to 222, on or about Oct. 1, with full food service, there will be one more reason to make that trek. Spread the word!

        2. My Northwest Coffee Company Story....

          As mentioned above, I buy a lot of my coffee online from IntelligentSIA out of Chicago, and it had come to my attention recently that Northwest used to buy from IntelligentSIA until they decided to roast their own. Assuming that they were as passionate about fresh quality coffee as I was, I thought they must be doing a good job, or they would not have branched out on their own to begin roasting for themselves.

          So, I shot Rick Milton, the owner of Northwest an email a couple of days ago inquiring about their roasting frequency.

          What a response! (which I've cross posted below).

          I was feeling so inspired after receiving the message, that I cruised on over to the CWE after work yesterday. I've never been more excited to be told someplace was out of something in my life, because they are truly, rigidly adhering to the Mon/Thurs roasting mentioned below and keep a very limited stock of roasted beans on hand.

          I had the finest latte I've had in St. Louis by far, and walked away with a pound of El Salvadorian that was roasted Monday. The aroma still lingering in my car this morning was wonderful.

          I'm sold on Northwest, and if you are truly a coffee geek, the freshness and attention to detail you crave will meet you there.

          "Hi Bill,

          We do have extremely fresh coffee. We roast every Monday and Thursday at our Central West end location. We often bag coffee right out of the cooling tray for customers. If you can not make it on a roasting day, off the shelf, at the Central West end location, the coffee is never more then 4 days from the roaster.

          Thanks for your interest. I love to here from people who really care about coffee. You are right, we use to use Intelligentsia before we started roasting our own coffee. Over the years we learned a lot form intelligentsia about freshness and quality and tried to talk them into training us how to roast coffee. They declined though which turned out to be a good thing because it brought the company back to its roots in Seattle where I was born and raised.

          Through family and friends we established a relationship with Ed Leebrick of Lighthouse coffee in Seattle one of the founders of the "Seattle School of Roasting". Ed was trained by Tim McCormick when he worked at Caravalli coffee. Tim was head roaster at Starbucks in 1988 when Caravalli, The wholesale division of Starbucks at that time, was split of from Starbucks. After leaving Starbucks with Caravalli Tim developed a smoother somewhat lighter roasting style that fully develops the great tastes that are inherent in coffee.

          Tim trained the roasters at Zoka, another well known Seattle roaster, and Ed trained the roasters at Stumptown, a roaster in Portland. Both Zoka and Stumptown do about the same volume as Intelligentsia today.
          Anyway this may be way too much info but we are proud of our roots and know we are on the cutting edge of quality coffee.

          Come and try us out and let me know what you think.

          Rick Milton