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Top 5 Coffee Shops in Omaha

Java Joust of Omaha's best coffee, which cups make the cut?
Best Coffee in Omaha
Published on March 1, 2010

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A Java Joust of the best coffee houses in Omaha, will your cup make the cut? 

Criteria: Good coffee, fair prices, unique atmosphere, quality of food offerings, location, extras

1. Aromas

"Spacious spot for Old Market caffeine cravings"

Aromas is spacious, the perfect coffeeshop if you need to stretch your legs or count on there being a table for a meeting. There’s always a few types of coffee available for the bean heads, and its Old Market location is not only convenient, it’s darn good looking: Aromas has a beautiful space, kept classy with a revolving display of work from local artists.

Food is a mixed bag. On the one hand, Bickford Bakery is located inside Aromas, so if you hit the coffee shop during bakery hours (Tues – Fri: 7 to 3pm; Sat: 8 to 4pm), buckle up for extreme deliciousness. Aromas keeps a limited selection of baked goods on hand until closing time, but it is limited, and you’re definitely out of luck if you’d like a more appropriate lunch/dinner option.

On the bright side, the wi-fi is über free, as are the coffee refills, a huge plus if you’re settling in for a major work session. There’s a Mac in the back for those without laptops, and a very cozy couch and arm chair set with one of those tables: rectangular, good for holding beverages…what are they called again?

2. Blue Line Coffee

"Dundee or NoDo, coffee as smooth as a Coltrane solo"

If feel counts for anything, Blue Line definitely feels like a coffeehouse. A constant stream of good jazz flows from the speakers, and a mixed crowd of professionals and students occupies the snug tables.

There are two Blue Line locations, and both can get a little crowded, especially if you’re vying for the hotly contested seats next to the power outlets. However, Blue Line scores definite bonus points for having a selection of tasty beers at reasonable prices, and for having a fairly robust food menu (sandwiches, soups, salads). Parking can be a little tricky in Dundee (what else is new), but Blue Line Downtown is in the spacious Slow Down complex and is a nice meeting point if you want to break out of Old Market/Downtown.

3. Caffeine Dreams

"Funky space with quality foodstuffs to match"

Caffeine Dreams has a nice Midtown location with ample parking and really ample seating inside. Contrary to popular belief, a silvery, glowing Macbook is not required for entry, although you will see more than a few writer-types pounding away on their keyboards around the cafe’s multi-level seating.

The coffeeshop offers sandwiches and pastries, and vegans will definitely appreciate the special baked goods and hummus plate. In addition to the foodstuff, there’s a BIG board of coffee options. Refills are gratis, and there’s a nice divide between the sunny, street facing coffee bar in front, with newspapers and community events tagged to the wall, and the slightly darker seating in the back, perfect for when you want to linger a little longer than just a Cup ‘o Joe and the news.

4. Benson Grind

"Connecting the community through coffee, history"

If you prefer local nostalgia to non-dairy creamer, a stop at Benson Grind is a must. Home to local art work and the kind of post-war feel you might expect in a Salinger short story, Benson Grind feels like the kind of place that should constantly be having a poetry reading—convenient since they actually host poets, along with live music, on the weekends. There’s also regular Meet the Artists nights and even a revolving Irish Jam evening. Get yer Gaelic on!

In addition to shows, breakfast and sandwiches are served all day, with a selection of pastries offered to finish out your coffee shop meal. They offer a lengthy list of both hot and cold drinks, and while the coffee house has a small, cozy feel, there is a meeting room for larger gatherings.

5. City Brew

"Drive-thru coffee from the comfort of your car"

What would a list of Omaha coffee houses be without at least one drive-thru? Well City Brew has two drive-thrus, so Ha! Less waiting is good, of course, especially as their Midtown/Saddle Creek location is convenient enough to get busy otherwise.

City Brew does all the regular coffee options, along with roughly a million flavor shot choices, and a small selection of baked goods. They share a space with the City Visitors Center, who provide indoor seating until 4:30pm (presumably along with maps, advice, and other fun stuff).   

Honorable Mentions

There’s no denying that Scooter’s Coffeehouse have a strong presence in the city. And there’s nothing wrong with them—with 25 locations in Omaha alone, they are often the best cup around—and they frequently win Best of Omaha awards. However, those same awards listed Crane Coffee and Starbucks as the other winners. Not exactly fighting for the little guys, are they?

The Foundry in Benson definitely deserves recognition as one of the more unique coffee houses in Omaha. Equal parts coffee shop, concert venue, art gallery, and community meeting place, The Foundry is a non-profit staffed by volunteers. And here’s the kicker: free coffee! Stop by ye of little faith, they’ll turn you into believers! 

Did we miss your regular java joint? Fight for your favorite in the comments below. Tell us why we should make some changes, and who knows, we just might!

jordyAn Omaha.net writer since 2008, Jordy freely admits he's waiting for his golden parachute "anxiously." He microblogs @jordyclements + macroblogs jordyclements.com

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