Published October 29th, 2018 at 8:00 AM
There’s a reason a rainbow-colored zebra appears on Cuento Coffee’s bags delicately holding a coffee bean between its front hooves.
“It’s super juicy, super-fruity,” Cuento Coffee founder Andy Gallant said of the Kenyan coffee in front of him. “And then it’s coffee from Africa…so…the Fruit Stripe Zebra.”
Cuento Coffee is a new micro-coffee roaster based out of the Happy Apple Cafe (5536 Troost Ave.). Last July, Gallant began roasting out of his basement with a popcorn popper. He drew inspiration from five years spent working at an orphanage as an English teacher in Chile.
“I want to connect that part of who I am with people,” Gallant said. “There’s this booming coffee scene in Chile, and my brain is just in that culture.”
When he returned to Kansas City from a visit to South America last December, he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in coffee.
Gallant, who currently works as a barista at Café Nerman, started by selling bags of coffee, roasted one pound at a time, to friends and family. Fritz’s Meat & Superior Sausage (10326 State Line Road, Leawood, Kansas) was his first account, and Cuento still has bags on the deli counter there.
Gallant finds artists on Instagram to help him convey a message about the coffee inside the bag.
“I’m a very visual person and I want to put something out there for people wired like me,’ Gallant said.
Today, Gallant roasts at Happy Apple and offers pour-overs when he is behind the counter.
“Happy Apple is a place where people connect in a real and organic way,” Gallant said.
The vegan restaurant on Troost serves Cuento’s drip (the Tanzania has notes of “molasses and blackberries,”) and cold brew coffee, as well. Gallant’s Creature Cold Brew is also on tap at Crane Brewing Co. in Raytown and Mike’s Wine & Spirits in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s currently a blend of Ethiopian (25 percent) and Guatemalan beans (75 percent).
“It’s nutty. There’s an undefined sweetness from the Ethiopian, and I hear the word light a lot,” Gallant said.
He has also partnered with Artisan Kombucha to create a coffee kombucha that’s available in bottles at Unbakery & Juicery (634 E. 63rd St.).
“It didn’t taste pickle-y, it wasn’t overly coffee’d. It was just an extremely smooth balance of both,” Gallant said of the kombucha collaboration.
Gallant is hoping to see additional kegs of his cold brew on tap at breweries around town. One day, he wants to be the official coffee of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I have a real desire to have this business, and every day I’m just grinding to make it happen,” Gallant said.
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