There is an abundance of coffee shops emerging in the Omaha area as of late and it can seem overwhelming to narrow the list down to the very best. Thankfully, it’s as easy as ABC and we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are just a handful of our favorites, starting with Aromas, Beansmith and Culprit, and ending with a little bicycle ride. What do bikes have to do with coffee? You’ll see!
Sometimes natives make the best business owners, as they are familiar and synchronized with the heartbeat of a community. That is certainly the case with Autumn and Luke Pruitt, owners of Aromas Coffeehouse and Bliss Bakery. The couple is originally from Omaha and moved back to the area with a fresh perspective and increased love for Omaha — and an ever-growing desire to own a coffeehouse and bakery.
They founded Bliss Old Market Bakery in February 2010 while they subleased the kitchen and small storefront from Aromas Coffeehouse in the downtown area. Shortly after, they were able to purchase Aromas and finally couple their love for baking with their desire to properly caffeinate the community. In October 2013, the Pruitts opened a second location in the Benson neighborhood and recently launched their own roasting company, Hardy Coffee Co., in the north downtown area.
The Pruitts have had their hands full over the last few years due to their rapid growth. But that hasn’t steered their focus away from the Omaha community and providing quality products to its people. They have the ability to emphasize quality in both the coffee and baked goods quadrants of their little world — and we think there’s nothing quite like pairing a decadent dessert with a rich, warm sip of espresso!
Aromas’ recent addition of Hardy Coffee Co. has furthered their reach, with options to buy freshly roasted coffee or espresso beans on demand or even via a subscription, for the most consistently caffeinated. It also means that you know exactly where the beans you’re drinking at Aroma came from — and the answer is: just down the block.
Speaking of receiving coffee on demand, Aroma even has a coffee cart that they can wheel to your next office event, outdoor festival, wedding reception…or simply your backyard. The only thing better than visiting Aromas’ shop is them coming to meet you wherever you happen to be, with quality coffee on board.
We are particularly impressed with Aromas’ focus on the community of Omaha. They have recently expressed that through their Gather Omaha podcast series, which highlights and shares the stories of locals and local organizations.
Beansmith Coffee Roasters
Another self-roasting Omaha coffee shop favorite is Beansmith.
Just as a blacksmith is a master of working with iron, Beansmith is a master of all things beans — coffee beans, at least. They are intricately involved with the entire process, from the coffee bean fields all the way to your cup. According to their website, they are experts in their craft.
“We meticulously source only what we feel to be the best offerings from the world’s top coffee producing regions, striving to find coffees that are of true excellence. Our roasting team then works with the coffee to find just the right profile and bring out all of its delicious flavors. We do all this because we have passion for coffee and love sharing it with people like you even more.”
They emphasize buying less coffee but more often, with the purpose of only buying the freshest beans and paying close attention to their roast date. Beansmith recommends buying their beans once per week, and buying it in whole bean form, in order to produce the absolute freshest cup of coffee at home.
Beansmith started in June 2010 and has been actively serving the Omaha community ever since, and is now at two locations. Their La Vista shop hosts their roasting facility, which supplies beans for their new downtown coffee bar location.
One of the more notable things about their new coffee bar is the open, airy and minimalistic design. The simple combination of white and wood cultivates a relaxing atmosphere for studying, reading or simply clearing your mind. The shop also happens to be the perfect venue for your next #latteart Instagram photo.
Culprit Cafe & Bakery
It is clear that Culprit Cafe & Bakery looked to Sebastien Rouxel when creating their business model. In fact, they quote him on their website: “People come together at and around bakeries. Baking is a unifying force.”
People sure are gathering at Culprit Cafe & Bakery due to their supply of artisan breads, fresh breakfast and lunch menus, creative desserts, and what we’re most excited about — their exceptional coffee.
If you’re looking for an amazing breakfast place but don’t appreciate that several diners consider coffee an afterthought, you’ll appreciate Culprit’s well-rounded and quality-centric approach to coffee. Or if you need a little caffeine kick during your lunch break, Culprit is the perfect destination.
Their simple coffee menu means they cover their coffee bases — and they cover them well. Culprit Cafe receives their coffee beans from Broadway Roasting Company in Kansas City, Mo. and all of their coffee syrups are made in-house.
Owner Luke Mabie opened Culprit Cafe & Bakery in 2013 with experience as a pastry chef in New York City and a desire to bring to life his love for classic bakeries, and he has achieved just that! Culprit Cafe returns to the basics in the best way possible, and provides a delicious menu that cares for your taste buds from the tip of your fork to the bottom of your cup.
Omaha Bicycle Co.
You might not realize that a caffeine jackpot exists within the walls of this specialty bike shop — but keep looking! You’ll soon find that they do in fact serve specialty coffee in the front of their shop in addition to selling and repairing bikes in the back; it’s what they like to call a “retail mullet.”
Omaha Bicycle Co. serves coffee from local roaster, Archetype, and is the only shop that serves Intelligentsia Coffee in the Omaha area.
It’s obvious that this shop is unique in nature, which you can easily sense by glancing at their diverse business model. The company is passionate about establishing and fostering a sense of community, and seeks to provide an outlet for people to contribute to that mission. Omaha Bicycle Co. is actively involved in creating a better environment for bike riders in Omaha and have played a major role in creating changes within that arena.
With all the quirky, exciting and eclectic happenings at the shop, they still found room for guests to relax and enjoy their coffee and tea. Omaha Bicycle Co. has a cozy seating area inside in addition to seats outside on their back deck — all covered by free wifi.
It gets even better! If Omaha Bicycle Co. is your neighbor (well, if you live along Maple Street), they will deliver to you by — you guessed it! — bike. Because how else would they travel?
These are just a few of our favorite coffee shops in the area. Do you have a favorite not on the list? We’d love for you to share your favorite location and what makes it so great!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Aromas Coffeehouse, Beansmith Coffee Roasters, Culprit Cafe & Bakery, Omaha Magazine, Omaha Bicycle Co. and Surfacing Magazine.