Java. Joe. Lifeblood. Brew. Whatever nickname you use, Omahans love their coffee. More than 61,000 coffee shops pepper the American landscape, with Omaha accounting for all but a dozen. Just kidding. With dozens of local and national coffeehouses around town, it may seem that way sometimes. We all have our favorites, and loyalty is strong with some. From old-fashioned coffee shops to innovative coffeehouses, Omaha has an amazing collection of establishments. While it’s impossible to include every Omaha-area coffee shop on a list of the best in town, here’s a look (in no particular order) of some of the best local coffeehouses in the city.
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Hardy Coffee Co.
With four locations in the Metro, it’s a challenge not to be close to a cup of Hardy Coffee java. The original location in the Old Market features an open space, perfect for working or relaxing with friends.
The Highlander location near 30th and Hamilton serves as Ground Zero for Hardy’s coffee bean roasting and bakery. While at Hardy, order a cinnamon roll and freshly-brewed coffee, including seasonal flavors. You may want to grab a bag of Hardy beans or ground coffee before leaving.
Hardy’s other locations are in Benson and a drive-thru in Sarpy County near Interstate 80 and Highway 50.
Myrtle & Cypress
Tucked in the Gifford Park neighborhood on North 33rd Street is one of the newer coffee houses and roasters in Omaha, Myrtle & Cypress. The homey atmosphere invites people to stick around for while.
Myrtle & Cypress’s determination to keep things local and clean makes it a stand-out. As much as possible, they use only natural sweeteners and aim for organic products. They also source their products locally (or at least, within 400 miles of the store).
When Archetype Coffee opened in the Blackstone district in 2014, Little Bohemia and Millwork Commons weren’t on the drawing board. But, eight years later, Archetype has added locations in those areas.
Little Bohemia is an impressive coffeehouse, with its open area, comfortable seating. It’s perfect for meeting people or doing a little work at your table. The coffee isn’t too shabby, either. Slow drip, pour over, and regular drip each offers distinctive flavors and experiences.
Of course, Archetype has seasonal and flavored drinks.
With mystical coffee flavors, such as Yin and Yang, an espresso with milk and dark and white chocolate sauce, and Zen Chakra, espresso with honey and lavender, Karma Koffee offers a relaxing, spiritual environment.
From the moment you enter the coffeehouse at Pepperwood Village, you feel the vibe that Karma is the perfect name for this location. With breakfast items, lunch sandwiches, and pastries, it’s easy to spend time at Karma Koffee, centering your inner being (and enjoying tasty coffee).
Stories Coffee Co.
From a small coffee shop and boutique, Stories Coffee Co. has grown into a charming coffeehouse and retail outlet, complete with its own roasting operation. Stories seeks to be a place where friends can meet, share experiences and come away with a sense of community. The coffeehouse’s menu also features craft beer and wine.
Among Omaha’s earliest coffee roasters, the owners of A Hill of Beans sought to create their own twist on the coffeehouse landscape. Roast Coffeehouse opened at Aksarben Village in 2016 and had an immediate impact on the neighborhood.
While it’s a small location, you can count on Roast being busy during the day. A popular spot for meetings and UNO students studying, Roast is a nice spot for a coffee break. The store is accented with bean bags, depicting coffee sources. Order a pastry, such as an almond croissant, and flavored coffee for a truly scrumptious visit.
Dundee Double Shot Bar
Of course, a Dundee neighborhood coffeehouse had to make this list. Dundee Double Shot Bar has a labor of love for its owners for nearly a decade. With hand-crafted coffees, such as the caramel-flavored Salty Irishman, Dundee Double Shot Bar has carved out a nice niche.
Basically across the street from Dundee Theater, the coffeehouse makes for a nice spot to gather to discuss films or other socially relevant issues. Grab your drink and embrace the art inside the shop or relax under the vines on the patio.
Zen Coffee Co.
Have you ever wanted to try a variety of coffee flavors, but wasn’t sure? Well, at Zen Coffee Co., consider a fight of coffee? Similar to a sample of drinks at a winery or brewery, a coffee flight at Zen Coffee West, near 132nd and West Center Road, consists of four six-ounce drinks – hot or cold – from a menu of 30 options. Consider a waffle coffee, which includes a mini waffle on top of the cup.
The Original Zen location, near 25th and Farnam, offers the old-school style of coffee flavored or drip, along with ice cream-infused drinks.
I love seeing Omaha’s older buildings getting a second life, and that’s the case for the location of Café Postale on 10th Street (just south of the Old Market). Housed in a landmark, the coffee shop is spacious and decorated with nods to the building’s past.
Beyond coffee drinks, the café has a quick-service menu for breakfast and lunch. Tuesdays through Fridays they offer Happy Hour drinks and foods.
The Bike Union and Coffee
One Coffee Cup. One Changed Life. How often can you buy a cup of coffee that directly impacts a young person’s life? The Bike Union and Coffee shop provides employment and personal development opportunities for young adults aging out of foster care.
Half of the circular building at 18th and Dodge is dedicated to bike sales and repairs, while the other section continues to operate as a coffee shop. Serving Hardy Coffee pastries, the coffee is outstanding. From drip coffee to lattes and cappuccinos, The Bike Union and Coffee baristas work to serve flavorful drinks.
Community and coffee is the name of the game at Urban Abbey. Located in the Old Market, near 10th and Jackson streets, Urban Abbey donated 10 percent of its coffee sales to local nonprofit organizations. Since 2011, the coffee shop has contributed about $100,000 to 30 local organizations. So, each cup of coffee, latte, or tea you enjoy at Urban Abbey helps local outlets.
Urban Abbey is a comfortable spot to enjoy a coffee and visit, or you can get your coffee to go as you explore the Old Market. The coffeehouse serves friendly-sourced coffee roasted locally. Even its milk is delivered from local daily farms. Urban Abbey also sells books focused on religion and social causes. Non-denominational church services are conducted at Urban Abbey.
Spielbound Board Game Café
You may not think coffee when someone mentions Spielbound Board Game Café, but it’s actually an excellent location to enjoy a hot coffee while you play any of the hundreds of games the store has available.
From hot drip coffee and lattes to cold drinks, you may also want to enjoy a sweet treat or order a pizza during your game time. The Midtown Crossing attraction offers a family-friendly environment.
Edge of the Universe
With seasonal themes driving its decor, Edge of the Universe considers itself a museum coffeehouse in the Benson neighborhood. Opened in 2020, Edge of the Universe hosts trivia nights and special events, such as Star Wars-themed days.
From a hot cup of coffee to Italian ice, Edge of the Universe is perfect for a date night or family outing.
CTRL Coffee and Cereal Bar
Omaha’s newest coffeehouse may be its oddest. CTRL Coffee and Cereal Bar, opened by Lincoln restaurant Muchacho’s owner Nick Maestas, is a coffeehouse, cereal bar and vintage arcade. Located in South Omaha, visitors can choose up to three brands of cereal and two additional toppings for their meal. They also select the type of milk they want to add.
Coffee (CTRL uses Meta Lab from Lincoln) drives the location, and you can order cereal-infused lattes or more-standard coffeehouse drinks such as drip coffee, other flavored lattes, as well as cold drinks. Each table has a Sega game monitor and game controls. A PAC-Man game is also located at CTRL.
The coffeehouse’s decor is colorful with vintage furniture, as well as a stereo that can post any of the classic rock albums in its collection.
Felius Cat Café
In all honesty, I don’t go to Felius for the coffee – though it’s just fine. I go because of cats. It’s a cat café. You can order a latte and then spend some time in a room of adoptable cats.
It’s heaven. Unless you don’t like cats.
Felius is located in downtown Omaha on South 24th Street. The menu includes seasonal offerings, both hot and cold. You can pay for a half-hour of cat cuddles or an hour.
So, whether you prefer your coffee served in a traditional style or with a little fun and color, Omaha has the coffeehouse for you. If you’re in the mood to challenge yourself, consider creating your own tour of Omaha’s local coffeehouses, trying a variety of drinks and treats. You could always choose decaf.