Omaha certainly does not have a shortage of places to get a great cup of coffee. A few years ago I wrote a piece on the best coffee places in Omaha, but seeing as our city has changed and evolved so much in those few short years, it felt like it was time for an updated list.
Now don’t get me wrong – the coffee places I listed years ago still thrive and offer some of the best cups of coffee in the most interesting ambiance (I’m talking to you, Dundee Double Shot, Caffeine Dreams and Tripointe Coffee), but as time passes, so does the need to expand our caffeinated repertoires.
Walking into MUGLIFE I was greeted by Finely, a friendly, large dog. Or was it Ferguson, his twin brother? I wasn’t sure – though I spent quite some time there sipping my coffee, I wasn’t able to tell the two dogs apart.
I asked Brenna McCrary, who is one of the owners and was the barista on duty, if the dogs belong to her and her husband. She said that the dogs belong to a couple of her favorite customers. One of those customers looks up at me with a big smile and a friendly wave. Everyone there seems amused that I think the dogs belong to the coffeehouse.
It’s a friendly place. “People are what make it work,” said McCrary. “We’re not in the coffee business, serving people; we’re in the business of people, serving coffee.”
Adjacent to Greenstreet Cycles, Mug Life shares the space and calls it “A good partnership,” said McCrary. “People waiting for the coffee will go browse around in the bikes and people waiting for bikes will come order some coffee.”
MUGLIFE utilizes single-origin coffee and believes in transparency in the supply chain. “We’re passionate about upholding the work of the farmers,” added McCrary.
And the coffee itself? Quite good, as a matter of fact. The menu’s simple and people wanting some sort of liquid dessert conglomeration characteristic of popular coffee chains will likely be at a loss as far as what to order. But those who love coffee – I mean, really love coffee – will appreciate the offerings here.
2452 1/2 Harney St
I’m a fan of the Aromas Coffeehouse downtown on Jones Street, so the first time I walked into the Aromas in Benson I had mixed emotions. Would it live up to its eclectic sister location? Would I be wowed by the assortment of pastries and expertly-crafted coffee drinks like I am when I venture downtown?
The first thing I noticed with the Aromas on Maple was the setup; it’s as if little separate stories are happening all over the café. People-watching is prime here.
On to the coffee – oh, the coffee! I don’t know why it delights me so much when a barista swirls little designs onto the top of my coffee, but it’s an extra touch I enjoy and experienced here. The coffee’s great – if you enjoy black coffee you’ll appreciate the complex taste, made from beans that were roasted expertly. If you enjoy syrupy drinks, you’ll like that the coffee taste comes through loud and clear.
By the way, there’s an Aromas at Flagship Commons nowadays too. I, for one, am grateful for a locally-owned coffee shop that spreads itself out around town, but not so thinly that quality suffers.
Benson Location: 6051 Maple St.
If you’ve ever wanted to drink coffee prepared and presented by a nationally-ranked barista, go to Archetype Coffee and ask for Isaiah Sheese. He’s readying to head to the semi-finals of the United States Barista Championship after having placed in the top six of the U.S. Coffee Championships.
Despite this impressive distinction, Archetype manages to maintain a laid-back vibe. “We make coffee as fun and approachable as possible,” said Sheese. “We’re not pretentious here. Specialty coffee should be fun.”
He added that both “syrup drinkers and coffee geeks” will feel at home at Archetype Coffee. Sheese is also passionate about ensuring coffee farmers are paid what they deserve. “We pay well above fair trade prices,” he said, adding that the “traceability” of the coffee is important to Archetype Coffee too.
As for the coffee, it’s quite good, although I wish I would have had Isaiah make me my coffee after I heard about all his awards. I suppose I’ll have to go back in the interest of investigative journalism.
3926 Farnam Streethttp://www.archetype.coffee/
As a military veteran I was already familiar with Green Beans Coffee, but I had to wonder if the coffee that so many service people enjoy in deployed locations is as good as everyone remembers, or if it was actually not so good but kind of tasted like home, making it better than it actually was.
Long story short: it’s good. After visiting their Omaha location I can say that Green Beans Coffee isn’t solely good when deployed – it’s tasty when you’re a civilian just popping in for a drink too.
The Omaha location is the first independently-owned [in this case, by John Sievers] Green Beans Coffee in the U.S. Walking into the café it’s abundantly clear that this is a business owned by some patriotic folks, but not so much so that people without a military background will feel out of place. Rather, it’s a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of seating and friendly baristas.
I tried a frappe while I was there because it was a warm day and I wanted something cool and refreshing. It was delicious – Scott the barista was very specific with his questions to make sure I’d get what I wanted. By the time I got my hands on the drink it was just what I wanted, and I was quite happy to have it.
Green Beans supports a variety of military-related charities. Their motto is Honor First, Coffee Second! It’s a coffee purchase you can feel good about.
6831 S. 167th Street
No More Empty Cups
Nancy Williams, co-founder of No More Empty Cups, has a vision of a community coffeeshop that is an inclusive space, serving locally sourced products and offering programs that help make the surrounding neighborhood more prosperous.
Oh, and they serve up some pretty good coffee, too. Folks who remember Echo Coffee, and appreciated it for the unique vibe it offered, will be glad to know that No More Empty Cups kept that unique, come-as-you-are vibe when they took over the space.
Developed under the No More Empty Pots program, the goal is to educate people on the business of owning a business, leading to self-sufficiency. By teaching people the ins and outs of business ownership, the entire community benefits. “People soon learn that most of the work in owning a business is behind the scenes,” explains Williams.
Their coffee is locally sourced Archetype Coffee (Isaiah helps out with training the baristas too) and their pastries come from the nearby Olsen Bake Shop. It’s truly a community effort. Many of the baristas who work there are from the neighborhood and have benefitted from the programs offered. They’re awfully friendly too, making it a comfortable, welcoming place to sit and enjoy some coffee.
1502 S. 10th Street
Every single coffee shop listed here makes good coffee, each with their own personality. Try them all out to decide which one best suits your taste buds.