With seven locations around the St. Louis, Missouri area, Kaldi’s Coffee is a custom java chain which has been slowly expanding its way outward from its Clayton, Missouri roots. Now, the coffee shop has been growing its presence in the St. Louis-Chicago belt, and small towns like Urbana, Illinois — home of University of Illinois — have benefited from this. Kaldi’s roasts its own coffee; a variety of beans throughout Central America, and a very strong emphasis on fair trade and sustainability. It’s delicious coffee, it’s creative blends, and it’s got a holistic approach to the business.
Kaldi’s imports much of its coffee from Colombia, there are a number of different kinds of beans. The coffee is treated very well: it’s brewed strong and the flavor is maximum; the beans are roasted well and not burned. Fresh rostaries of this size do a good job with their beans, it’s a great fault of larger coffee chains to burn them.The basic coffee has a simple flavor, and the more complex latte and cappuccino-type drinks come sweet without need for a lot of additive.
There is a limited amount of food in the coffee shop. In this instance, they’re donuts from the local grocery store, which aren’t at all impressive. I suppose Kaldi’s isn’t aiming to be a bakery, it’s trying for coffee. I was a little disappointed, to be honest, that there weren’t local bakery goods in this particular shop. Maybe the Urbana location is different, and maybe the other locations have something, but local, environmentally conscious businesses like these are huge for the local food movement: they provide an outlet to those small bakeries that you just don’t get anywhere else.
The atmosphere is very pleasant. The barristas are helpful and friendly, but the coffeehouse has a very comfortable contemporary feel. It’s a pleasant balance, really, because the place has a nice shaded outdoor patio to enjoy the coffee, and the interior is full of couches and oversize chairs, televisions and lots of little tables. Atmosphere is important in a coffee shop, and for the space provided everything seems to have been managed well.
Often, when coffee chains expand, they sacrifice some quality and versatility; you just can’t replicate that comfortable coffee shop feel artificially, and mass-producing coffee beans is near impossible to do. Kaldi’s Coffee has successfully maneuvered these tricky straits, and the end result is a successful product. You might think twice when you pass by a coffee shop stuffed away in a supermarket lobby, but you’ll find a pleasant surprise in this case. Kaldi’s Coffee is worth a sip.
- The in-house drinks can’t be understated, but take-home coffee beans are a great alternative.
- The website espouses only a few Missouri locations, but keep an eye out for more locations which can be connected to other businesses, in this case Schnuck’s Supermarket.
- The food items are nothing to speak of, which is a disappointment.