Subject: Kaldi's Coffee
Location: Columbia, MO
Rating: 6+ [see key]
One of the highest hurdles in a business is the ability to adapt with current trends and industry developments. Much like a brakeless car traveling uphill, a business either moves forward or slides back; there is no stalling. In coffee, moving forward often translates into staying abreast on rising trends, growing professionally (especially with skills), new discoveries/rediscoveries and keeping your business looking fresh.
Sadly, not a lot of coffeehouses are skilled in this; many times a coffee establishment will find success with an initial paradigm/formula and as long as the niche works (aka makes money), the business remains in a holding pattern until things head south (and by then it's usually too late). There's no doubt that a lack of excess capital keeps most cafes from constantly improving, yet clinging with a stagnant vision/look is nearly always a death sentence in the long run.
One good example of a business with some staying power is Kaldi's Coffee out of Missouri. First emerging in St. Louis in 1994, this coffee roaster has grown to national recognition with locations in several Missouri cities. As a constant blip on my radar since I first really got into coffee at the dawn of the 21st century, I regret to admit that I had never really had a Kaldi's experience, so I made a point of hitting one of their locations the next time I was by one of their outposts.
That day came one pleasant Sunday morning while visiting the fair city of Columbia. The Kaldi's anchors on a downtown corner amidst the bustle. Inside, the cafe is busy both in design and with customers, with the front entry way snaking to the counter in middle of the shop.
As for the coffee, I ordered an espresso of their Espresso 700 blend and a Rwandan coffee brewed by a Trifecta brewing apparatus. The espresso, pulled short/medium with a brown crema, yodeled out chocolate chip cookie, lemon, curry, corn, raspberry and pumpernickel, making for a varied and harmonious infusion. The Rwanda additionally sampled gloriously, blasting out sauvignon blanc, powdered sugar, blueberry, fresh Funfetti cupcakes and a little lime with cilantro.
All together Kaldi's proved to be great where it counted (there were a few aesthetics that looked a bit dated). If you happen to be in a Missourian urban center that claims a Kaldi's, head on over for some great coffee.
These wonderful folks made this visit possible in part. Make sure to check them out!