Battle of the Bottomless Cup: Mud House vs. Kaldi's

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Diagnose this illness, according to these symptoms:

1.) Patient displays craving for caffeine.

2.) Patient shows a tendency of resisting consciousness in the early parts of the day.

3.) Patient has no need for your wussy lattes. 

Clearly, there is only one cure: a bottomless cup of coffee at a local java joint. 

Sounds like a perfect setup for FIGHT CLUB SANDWICH, Gut Check's food battle royale! The contenders for today's battle of the beaneries: The Mud House on Cherokee Street, and the De Mun iteration of Kaldi's. The criteria: does the coffee taste good, and will the atmosphere snap a poor, sleepy soul into wakefulness on a weekday morning?

See the results of the bottomless coffee smackdown after the jump.


THE CONTENDERS

The Mud House (2101 Cherokee St., 314-776-6599)

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Kase Wickman
Black coffee, white cup at Mud House.
Served in an unassuming plain white mug, this house brew ($2.50 for bottomless) doesn't betray the dark, dark intentions that lie beneath the dark, dark roast. The first mouthful hits you right on the tip of the tongue, a wakeup call for those who are about to rock. Though not a French press-level of gritty, Mud House's Ethiopian blend leaves you with a slight sandy feeling in and around the mouth, as well as a lemony calling card to be remembered by.

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Kase Wickman
The Mud House.
Add to that the kitschy atmosphere, free wifi and near-perfect outdoor patio seating area, and you've got a start to a good day -- or at the very least, enough caffeine to pin up your eyelids for another few hours, and enough bright colors in the décor to slap you into wakefulness, if not a positive attitude.

Is the coffee good? Yes.
Will it wake you up? Yes.

Kaldi's Coffeehouse, Clayton (700 De Mun Ave., 314-727-9955)

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Kase Wickman
Yes, that does say "prance with vigor."
K
aldi's De Mun location is the ideal neighborhood coffee joint -- tree-lined avenue, cute sidewalk seating, walls painted in soothing mustard and adobe, cozy but uncramped space... the works. The bottomless cup ($2.50) is passed over the register to the customer, who has a choice of four drip coffees. Opt for the fair trade organic French Roast, a caramely, dark cup that goes down easy, and with no pucker after you swallow. (Stay far, far away from the decaf, which is only there to trick you and break your heart.)

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Kase Wickman
Kaldi's
​T
he problem with Kaldi's is that they know they've got the neighborhood coffee shop down to a science -- it's so mellow and laidback that it yields a Pleasantville-esque revelation: Wait, there's no wifi here. Hold on, there aren't even plugs! It's quiet because laptop users are actively discouraged from lingering, so adamant is Kaldi's that the serenity not be disturbed. The staff is also aware of their successes as a coffee spot: one staffer working the counter was so busy chatting with other employees about how the shop had been listed as one of GQ Magazine's ten best coffee shops in the nation in October that he could barely pause to take an order. A groggy customer may give up in the face of the enforced Zen atmosphere and staff navel-gazing.

Is the coffee good? Yes.
Will it wake you up? Maybe.

THE RESULTS

Both are loved locally, priced identically and fairly, and undoubtedly drinkable -- it was a close match between our two contenders. Ultimately, however, a victor must be crowned in the battle of the bottomless cup. While Kaldi's is a restful destination with more coffee selection for the drip-coffee aficionado, the hustle and bustle of the Mud House is best to force those late risers' re-entry to the land of the living. 

WINNER

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Kase Wickman
Don't mind if we do. (Mud House)

The Mud House, by a bean.

What's your favorite early-morning coffee spot? Let us know in the comments, whether it's Kaldi's, the Mud House, another area coffeehouse or even your very own kitchen, getting in some face time with your Mr. Coffee machine.

Better yet, share your favorite whitening toothpaste. Caffeine addiction comes at an enamel-staining price, friends.

Location Info

The Mud House

2101 Cherokee St., St. Louis, MO

Category: General

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