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Master coffee taster from KC asked to make special blend of java for Pope Francis

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's the thrill of a lifetime for one coffee creator in the metro; when Pope Francis tours the United States next week, the pontiff will enjoy a blend of coffee created right here in Kansas City.

Think of this well-hidden lab as a kitchen for coffee creativity. Tracy Allen, a master coffee taster from Kansas City, has operated Brewed Behavior for the past eight years, and when the Vatican contacted him to make a special blend for Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., he started perking up.

Pouring isn't merely a business for Allen, it's a passion. Allen, 49, has traveled the world, learning about coffee, since getting his start at Kansas City's old Folger's Coffee plant 30 years ago.

Brewed Behavior has offices in Italy, and when the Vatican called Allen, asking him to create coffee for Pope Francis, the devout Catholic leaped at the chance.

“I heard that he's pretty excited about what we sent over there. I feel pretty good about that,” Allen said. “(The Pope’s handlers) are very complimentary of it. It looks like we're going to be roasting more than we had originally been contacted about.”

Allen told FOX 4 News the Pope’s advance team has ordered 60 pounds of the special coffee blend.

Allen's lab helps find formulas for better tasting coffee, among other delicious duties. Sam Mirto, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan is studying to become a master taster under Allen's instruction.

“When he puts his mind to making a blend for someone specific, you know it's going to be good,” Mirto said.

Allen says he won't get to meet Pope Francis personally. However, it will feel as if they're well-acquainted, knowing the Bishop of Rome is enjoying his creation.

“We want to feel like when he's talking we have a little part in it,” Allen said.

Pope Francis' tour of the United States begins next Tuesday. In five days, he'll have stops in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City.

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