If you work at The Reader, it’s a prerequisite to drink coffee. Not only do you need it for fuel, you need it for nourishment.
And we’re not talking about the burnt, over-roasted crap that Starbucks, Scooter’s, and other fast-food chains peddle under the moniker of “coffee.” It’s the smooth, strong-yet-subtle kind that hits the spot. Whether you take it black, with cream and sugar, enjoy a drip, love a pour-over, lattes, cortados, macchiatos, americanos, cappuccinos…we love coffee.
You learn a lot about a city by traversing its coffee shops. Whether it’s Red Bay in San Francisco or Third Rail near NYU, there is something about parochial coffee culture that helps define a city’s heart and soul. And is there a lot of good coffee in Omaha? You bet.
Here’s where we’re celebrating National Coffee Day, in no particular order:
- 1904 S. 67th St.
- (402) 991-2326
Roast opened in 2016 in the heart of the Aksarben Village. It’s the brainchild of the same team behind A Hill of Beans, a mainstay in Omaha’s roasting industry. The beans are roasted fresh daily, and the varietal and seasonal offerings are to die for.
Reader Staff Pick: Our showrunner Lynn Sanchez enjoys a good Americano.
Archetype Little Bohemia
- 1419 S. 13th St.
- (402) 963-4755
Food and Wine recently christened Archetype as the best coffee shop in Nebraska, and for good reason. Its lighter roasts and near-perfect TDS levels (total dissolved solids, a measurement of how much was extracted from the beans during the brewing process) make for an enjoyable drink.
Staff Pick: News editor Chris Bowling enjoys their cold brew with a splash of milk. This writer considers their pour-over to be the best this side of the Missouri River.
- 950 S. 10th St.
- (402) 999-9209
This expansive space just south of the Old Market was a postal railway hub in a past life – and much of its vintage feel has been preserved. In addition to pulling espresso shots, it doubles as an event venue on the weekends, hosting weddings, corporate dinners, and much more.
Staff Pick: Our Report for America Corps Member, Bridget Fogarty, loves the cappuccino.
Hardy Coffee (Highlander)
- 2112 N. 30th St.
- (402) 505-9685
Hardy’s menu makes it a great place for those who partake in coffee culture, as well as those who don’t. It’s got a wide variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages that have proven to be a hit. Hardy is another spot that roasts its own beans in-house, and you can find a lot of shops around the area that use theirs.
Staff Pick: If they have the single-origin Ethiopian available, don’t look any further.
Zen Coffee (Farnam)
- 2504 Farnam St.
- (402) 452-3085
Located on the outskirts of downtown, Zen uses beans from Dapper & Wise, a roaster in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley. Zen is a zero-waste operation that provides a variety of specialty drinks. A trademark in recent months has become their coffee flight (they’re one of the few spots in the area that offers enough drinks to offer the 4-drink sampler).
Staff Pick: Our associate publisher for El Perico, Karlha Velasquez, thinks Zen’s espresso shot is one of the best in the city.
- 1016 S. 10th St, Suite 100
- No phone # listed
Although CTRL is a relatively new addition to Omaha, having opened this past summer, this Little Italy is more than just an excellent coffee shop. It’s lined with video game consoles, vinyl turntables, and offers build-your-own cereal bowls your parents wouldn’t dream of letting you eat.
Staff Pick: An offering unique to CTRL, their cereal milk lattes (yes, milk steeped overnight in cereal) are delicious.
Myrtle & Cypress
- 517 N. 33rd St.
- (402) 720-4873
Nestled in a small house near Gifford Park, this space is fantastic for fans of air roasting. Typically, coffee is roasted through tumbling in a hot steel drum – but not here. The beans levitate on a bed of hot air, generating a vortex of sorts. This process provides for a more consistent temperature, which in turn creates a smoother and less acidic experience.
Staff Pick: While their specialty drinks (which use only natural sweeteners) are fantastic, their single-origin drip is just perfect.
- 4924 Underwood Ave.
- (402) 502-6707
It’s rare to encounter a particularly quiet moment in Dundee. That applies best to Blue Line, which bustles with activity at every hour of the day and has built a regular clientele over the years it’s been around. This is also one of the most politically conscious coffee shops in the area, with signs for progressive candidates and causes lining the windows come election season.
Staff Pick: Blue Line offers an excellent selection of flavored lattes.
- 749 N. 14th St.
- (402) 916-5128
Long ago, there was once a coffee shop by the name of Beansmith. That shop closed in 2017, but its coffee director revived the shop the following year in the NoDo area as Rally. The coffee is a light roast that balances acidity with sweetness. Located right next to Slowdown and the Kiewit headquarters, this spot is a must-visit for anyone in the north downtown area.
Staff Pick: Although they pull a mean espresso, the single-origin drip coffees are to die for.
13th Street Coffee & Tea
- 519 S. 13th St.
- (402) 345-2883
This Old Market joint bills itself as Omaha’s “original” coffee shop, although its current owners have only had it for the last three years. Artwork from local talents is rotated through each month, both for exhibition and for purchase. We weren’t able to glean whether they roast their beans in-house or not, but either way, it’s still delicious stuff.
Staff Pick: When in doubt, drink a mocha.