Monthly Archives: October 2013

Coffee Wednesday: Java Junction

Kevin at Java JunctionI was a naive, hopeful young music teacher working down the street at the music store when I drank my first shot of espresso at Java Junction, Warrensburg Missouri’s iconic coffeehouse. I was drawn by the warm setting–the pressed tin ceiling, the brick walls, the students with their textbooks and worried frowns. Quickly I discovered my favorite drink: a coffee shake with English Toffee flavoring. After an endless day of listening to excuses for not practicing the piano that ranged from creative to pathetic, I would read, write, and sip, finding for the first time that solace that I now expect in a well-run coffeehouse.

IMG_4442My first shot of espresso I ordered as a mistake. Being overwhelmed and oblivious when confronted for the first time with a coffeehouse menu, I ordered an espresso. In his phlegmatic fashion, Art Ozias, the long-standing owner, made me a shot. I’m sure my face registered my shock, and I’m sure it was funny. It made an impression–I didn’t drink another shot of espresso until my first training shift years later as a barista.

Fastforward ten years. I am a barista and a writer, taking photos and jotting notes as had I once dreamed in this space. Java Junction hasn’t changed, only grown more like itself as bits and pieces like sandwiches and syrupy drinks fall into history. I spent a school year working here, pouring dragons and swans and working with a naked portafilter for the first time. My daughter pretty much learned to walk here, I rather learned to write here. My husband spent a year as roaster and lead barista here too. Art’s one of our closest friends.

For me, Java Junction embodies everything that makes a coffeehouse one of the greatest havens ever–great coffee, a welcoming environment, and consistency. It’s a place where, if you’re a regular customer, Art knows your name and probably the name of your oldest child.

My favorite coffeehouse? Without doubt, Java Junction.

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Moment Suspended


Let your eyes pan the cluttered streets of this Midwest town. Feel the pulse of “I Kissed a Girl” played for the 103rd time this morning, take in the disheveled sorority sisters staggering down the streets. Smell the beer and hot chocolate surrounding you, take in the mumbling youth weaving in front of you and the eagle-eyed old man wheelchair-pinioned beside you. You are on the corner of Pine and Holden in Warrensburg Missouri, and Homecoming Parade is happening. The crisp air is kissing your cheeks and the sun warms your hair.

Midway through the columns of high school marching bands and Shriner motorbikes comes Amtrak like a wall. The parade stops. Hush descends. A boy near you pauses in a moment of frenetic activity,  his fingers clutching the cheap black handle of his pumpkin-basket. You watch him, see the sun slant across his shoulders, and can almost feel his heart beating. It’s 10:14 in the morning and a little boy is waiting for the candy to start again.

/ / /

Warrensburg, Missouri / morning / On the corner of Pine and Holden

Coffee Wednesday: Quay Coffee

Tanner & Cory @ Quay

Quay: landing place, dock. (pronounced ‘key’).

Quay Coffee: neighborhood hub, new established Kansas City iconic coffeeshop. All around friendly place.

Quay Highlights: an open, welcoming design that’s heavy on wood and warm light. Welcoming smiles from owners Cory and Tanner. Attention to detail, from coffee to cookies.

Kansas City, MO / morning / Quay Coffee