Travelers flying in and out of the new Kansas City International Airport terminal can experience the aroma and flavors of Italian coffee — without leaving the United States — when they stop by Parisi Coffee, said Joe Paris.
“A key part of our branding has been taking traditional Italian espresso and bringing it into a modern Americanized coffee drink. We’re an Italian family, so we pay homage to how we got here,” said Paris, vice president of sales and marketing for family-owned businesses, Paris Brothers Specialty Foods and Parisi Coffee.
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Inspired by the heritage and tradition of his Sicilian mother, Paris’ father and uncle opened their first roastery in 2006. Nearly 17 years later, Parisi Coffee is Kansas City’s largest family-owned and local coffee company with locations of coffee at Union Station, Overland Park, Argosy Casino and the new KCI terminal.
“For as long as I can remember, everyone in my family drank coffee made from a mocha because that’s how my grandmother made it,” Paris recalled. “The bridge from our past to the present is the Moka. It all started with everyone sitting around a table, indulging in an Italian coffee.
Paris Bros Inc.
Before launching Parisi Coffee with a roaster in 2006, Joseph Paris and his brothers, Salvador and Anthony, founded Kansas City-based Paris Bros. Inc. in 1983. The distribution company started with pastries and flavored systems and now distributes a variety of specialty foods under Paris Brothers Specialty Foods.
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Parisi Coffee entered discussions with potential airport operators in 2019 and reached an agreement with Vantage Airport Group.
“We felt like their values really align with ours and we saw their vision of what this airport could be, so we were happy that they won the tender,” Paris said. “… It’s been a crazy two years getting to where we are, but all the various moving parts and people have come together so beautifully. Vantage has been a great partner in all of this.”
Parisi Coffee is located in a node in front of the KCI terminal security checkpoint. Paris, who was born and raised in Kansas City, is thrilled that his family’s business can be part of Kansas City history, he shared.
“When people walk into the airport and are customers of our coffee, we not only represent our brand and our coffee, but we also represent Kansas City,” continued Paris. “We take it very seriously because we want those who come to the city to have a good first impression. We love Kansas City and we love the way the city embraces local businesses. This is the message we want to send through this new one [terminal].”
The style of Parisi Coffee’s airport location draws inspiration from its Union Station cafe, Paris noted.
“Our brand is high-end experiential, so we wanted the airport location to represent our brand positively,” he explained. “It’s a place where you can sit down and enjoy a great cup of coffee, but it’s also designed for fast travelers to come and go. … We mimicked the aesthetic of our Union Station location a lot. Hopefully people see it and then want to check out Union Station and our coffee there.”
Parisi Coffee is for those who want “high-quality coffee the traditional way,” Paris said.
“Our quality in where we buy our products and how we make our coffee is what sets us apart from other coffee shops,” said Paris. “Parisi is very sustainable in the way we source our product; it is very important to us that we source directly from farms. As a family run business ourselves, we tend to work with family run farms. We try to buy from the same farms, so their growth continues with ours. It’s important for us to do these things right.”
Parisi Coffee also operates a wholesale program, available to partners and organizations of any size, from houses of worship, to mid-sized offices, restaurants and cafés with multiple locations. The brand is served at Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting KC, Sierra Grill at Lenexa, New Cafe 40 at Overland Park’s Corporate Woods and, coming soon, both Q39 locations.
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Roasting coffee is an art and a passion for the Paris family, Paris shared, noting that coffee has been a highlight of so many family occasions.
“It’s one of the funniest and most unique things out there because it inherently brings people together,” Paris said. “Coffee is a starting point for conversations. It is part of a global culture. It’s really cool that we can continue to share what we love with more people than ever before.