Espresso Yourself ;)

Picture this: Transportation-less freshman Sophie Snider is desperate to get off-campus, so much so that she calls an uber to take her to Scooter’s in the Old Market. It was a rookie’s attempt to study somewhere other than the library, somewhere without crowds of people asking each other if they’ve finished “Mastering Bio” yet.

Also, I still haven’t quite figured out what Mastering Bio is.

Anyway, the point is, I have always loved coffee shops. My desperate attempt to escape campus that cold February day immediately led me to, well… Scooters. BUT, from that day I vowed to spend as much time as I could studying and socializing in coffee shops. Once I had a car in Omaha, of course.

Fast forward to junior (senior? idk still in denial) year, and I have blissfully accomplished this goal. Whether I’m attempting to write an entire paper in one day or just tryna catch up with some pals, my weekends are founded in the love of the (coffee) brew, especially if comfy chairs and decent prices are involved.

In the past few weeks of brainstorming ideas for this blog, I have come to realize that I really enjoy making lists, because basically every idea I have come up with has involved some sort of list (including this one).

So, behold, the list of my favorite Omaha Coffee Shops.

// Warning // this is a long list & my favorites change frequently.

— — —

1. Aromas Bliss (Old Market & Benson)

To any Creighton student coffee shop goer, this one is obviously a classic. I can’t remember a time I’ve gone to the Old Market location without running into someone I know. I frequent this location but I’ve heard great things about the Benson location as well. It’s a great place to study but #imho it gets old quickly.

  • Upsides: big tables, lots of tables, pastries galore, and you can always find a friend there.
  • Downsides: sometimes I can’t find a seat, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like I got off campus because it’s always full of Creighton people.

 

2. Urban Abbey (Old Market)

I can’t help but smile when I walk into Urban Abbey. It’s a wonderful place with a wonderful mission. They’re a nonprofit organization, double as a Christian place of worship (10am and 5:30pm on Sundays), and believe that “every cup is sacred.” One time I went there to study and there was a young man j’chillin’ at one of the tables, practicing some soft music on his acoustic guitar. VIBES.

Built-in benches line the walls of the front of the store underneath quite a few large windows, making it a very comfy experience. The first time I went, I ran into Abby Laudi who told me to “snag the corner table” and I’ve followed her words of wisdom ever since (Abby, if you are reading this, thank you mucho).

  • Upsides: there is a strong sense of welcome and community (even if you’re not involved in their ministries)
  • Downsides: pricey specialty drinks, and sometimes noisy. I also tend to avoid studying there on Sundays because I’m always afraid I’m going to walk into the middle of a church service and interrupt the entire thing.

 

3. Himalayan Java (Old Market)

Himalayan Java is a recent favorite of mine. This place has a cool history (founded in Kathmandu), and the Omaha location is decorated with Himalayan artwork to reflect this. Some of the seats are upholstered with some authentic-looking burlap coffee bags. So fun.

One time I went to Himalayan Java after finding out I had a paper due that evening before midnight (I had no idea the paper even existed before that day… typical), and an employee made me the most empowering Chai Tea Latte I’ve ever experienced. Honestly, my life was changed. So much so that I tweeted about it. Tea was my first love, so chai lattes will always make my heart sing.

  • Upsides: super unique atmosphere, outdoor seating, the coffee itself is YUM.
  • Downsides: the seating isn’t the most conducive to studying (but it’s a great place to hang out), also there’s a lack of outlets (thank you @Sonya for informing me of this)

 

4. Sozo (Old Market)

I know a lot of people that LOVE this place. I personally haven’t fallen in love with it, but some of its best features are targeted towards college students. For one, it is in a basement-like, downstairs location with some cool mood lighting and SO much space. During finals week they normally stay open past midnight and serve free waffles. Also, you can rent one of three study rooms for $2/hour, which are a good size and have couches. (Suggestion for the study room: bring a friend because I would think it’d get lonely in there).

I also tweeted about this place one time, but for very different reasons than my Himalayan Java experience. Long story short, I ran out of money on my card and couldn’t pay for the coffee I wanted, and I was so embarrassed that I just left.

  • Upsides: so student-friendly (open until midnight every night of the week!)
  • Downsides: I don’t really like their chairs and it’s hard to find an outlet near your table

5. 13th Street (Old Market)

Man, I can’t get enough of this place. I had never been there until earlier this summer, but it’s for sure my current favorite. First of all, the coffee is not expensive. I am a tried and true medium iced coffee gal, and at 13th Street it’s only $1.87 with tax. That’s quite the blessing for a #collegestudent budget.

Second of all, the balcony. Oh wow. When you walk to the back of the store, there’s a staircase that leads to a second floor, where you’ll find more seating. It overlooks the first floor and allows you to see out the entire front window. I always sit up there, and it makes me feel like I’m overlooking my kingdom.

  • Upsides: cheap yet so yummy coffee, snacks galore, tons of coffee beans and tea leaves that you can buy and take home, THE upstairs balcony, good chairs, couch options, and a shelf of books you can read
  • Downsides: not the best parking sitch, and the view out the window is normally just cars driving by

 

6. Beansmith (Old Market)

I’ve only been to Beansmith one time, but I felt the need to include it because it was a great experience (I’m sure I’ll be back once I’m exhausted my 13th Street obsession… but idk if that obsession will ever die). Anyway, Beansmith has a very modern feel. Their coffee is great and if I remember correctly, you get a free refill when you buy a cup “for here.” Their food is from Sweet Magnolia’s which is the most wonderful bakery in town (roomie Erin works at Sweet Mags just FYI!). If you’re going there to study or do other work, they’ve got some good seating away from the door that has prime outlet access and such. It’s also pretty quiet and low-key in there. I’m a big fan.

  • Upsides: high ceiling, white brick interior walls, good coffee, clean and serene (#rhymin’)
  • Downsides: a lot of the tables/chairs are not conducive to staying there for more than an hour. Like a super small plastic chair situation, I think. Comfy is key, amiright? Also their wifi wasn’t working the one day I went there.

 

7. Caffeine Dreams (off Saddle Creek)

Another favorite among Creighton students. I’m quite fond of Caffeine Dreams. They have free wifi, an amazingly beautiful back patio (Bella and I spent a lovely June afternoon there a few weeks back), and the most inspiring bathroom walls you’ll probably every find. Other than women writing encouraging and vulnerable messages to the entirety of the female population onto the stall wall next to them while they’re letting this earth’s natural laxative do its work, I’ve been impressed with their coffee AND tea, and the local artwork hanging on the walls (it’s all normally for sale). The place itself is quirky and the regulars are even more quirky.

  • Upsides: an eccentric vibe, reasonable price, empowering, and a very large (and free) parking lot.
  • Downsides: the wifi is pretty darn spotty, and a lot of times I can’t find a seat inside during the winter, so I have to leave. Tip: on weekends, the earlier you get there, the better.

 

8. BlueLine (Dundee)

Bearing the exact name as Creighton’s grading & assignments website, BlueLine rolls with the Jays through and through. I’ve only been to the Dundee location, but there’s one near Urban Outfitters which is for sure walking distance from campus. I think I’ve seen another in Benson, but that might be a lie.

I like that it’s located in Dundee because the Old Market can get, well, old. I also like sitting way in the back because it’s pretty quiet and I can normally get a lot of work done. Their chairs are nice. Also their (free!) parking lot isn’t usually full. Bless up.

  • Upsides: great place to be productive and great location
  • Downsides: coffee isn’t amazing, not a very big indoor space so it can sometimes get pretty noisy

 

9. Delice European Bakery (Midtown)

The amount of hours I have spent in Delice is probably obscene but I don’t care. I saved my most tried and true coffee shop for last because it might indeed be the best. Despite a couple of inconveniences, i.e. their coffee isn’t amazing (ok I get that coffee is a big deal when we’re talkin’ coffee shops BUT stay with me people) and there’s a sub-par amount of outlets, I am consistently impressed with Delice. Free and reliable wifi, amazing paninis, seasonal yet tasteful decorations (I’m pretty sure their Christmas tree is the only thing that got me through finals week, also shoutout to @Megan for spending an entire day sitting next to the tree with me), free refills, amazing tea, friendly faces, and desserts af are just a few of the things that keep me coming back. It’s also so easy to camp out there for an entire day because their food is so so good.

Parking pro tip: Use the midtown parking garage – the first 3 hours are free. Then, circle around and re-park before your 3 free hours are up so you can get 3 MORE free hours.

  • Upsides: indoor and outdoor seating, corner storefront location means hella windows, big tables, study-friendly, conversation-friendly, and so much more.
  • Downsides: kinda pricey (especially the desserts) and I wish I liked their coffee more.

BONUS: Places I haven’t tried yet!

If you’ve made it this far, then you should consider getting coffee with me at one of the following places that I want to try but haven’t yet:

  1. Well Grounded
  2. Zen (new to Omaha! shoutout to roomie HanBot for landing a barista job there this summa)
  3. Mug Life
  4. Culprit Cafe
  5. I AM OPEN TO MORE SUGGESTIONS

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