Anyone can brew up a pot of coffee before leaving the house in the morning, but there’s something special about stopping by your favorite coffee shop for a hot cup and maybe a little breakfast treat. The coffee shops in Nebraska cover all of the bases – from old-school community gathering spots with two types of coffee on the menu (regular and decaf) to ultra-modern hipster hangouts with artisanal coffee creations. These 15 are some of our favorites from all across the state, listed in no particular order.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Piva! Cafe, Oshkosh
Oshkosh might seem an unlikely spot to find high-quality Mark Ferrari Kona coffee, grown in Hawaii and roasted in Nebraska. It's a fantastic treat for caffeine-craving travelers and locals alike. Get a handmade pour-over brew, or go for a specialty coffee. There are also tasty baked goods, sandwiches and more to fill you up after you fuel up.
209 W. 1st St, Oshkosh
2. Valley Fire Espresso, Ord
Not only is the coffee fresh, delicious, and creatively prepared here - the service is always friendly, too. The small-town vibe is strong in everything they do here. And not to be forgotten, the baked goods are some of the best around.
1620 L St, Ord
3. Archetype Coffee, Omaha
Archetype is serious about coffee. If you only like the overly-sweet specialty drinks with six kinds of flavored syrup, this probably isn't your place. They're all about the science (and the art) of coffee, and it shows in every cup. But don't worry - they aren't snooty or rude, and the baristas are always happy to give recommendations.
3926 Farnam St, Omaha
4. Bean Broker Coffee House, Chadron
This little gem is so much more than just a coffee shop. They serve an always-changing menu of hearty breakfast and lunch options (and they'll accommodate special dietary needs) along with a selection of pastries. You'll also find a few video games, a pool table, and a selection of alcohol. Time your visit right and you'll even get to see live music or an open mic night.
202 W 2nd St, Chadron
5. Harold's Koffee House, Omaha
It's hard to imagine Omaha's historic Florence district without Harold's. It's been a staple since 1958 and, although it's definitely more of a diner than a coffee shop, Harold's signature roast coffee has become legendary. Stop in for a cup and try their legendary homemade cake donuts to start your day off right.
8327 N. 30th St., Omaha
6. Emporium Coffeehouse & Café, Scottsbluff
Emporium is another beloved establishment that can more accurately be called a restaurant, but their locally-roasted coffee is an experience all its own. Its complex, robust flavor shines through even in specialty espresso drinks. And, let's not kid ourselves, you're going to need to grab something to eat while you're there. This is one of Nebraska's best restaurants, after all.
1818 1st Ave, Scottsbluff
7. Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, Lincoln
Fans of Meadowlark were dismayed when it briefly closed in early 2017, but it's back under new ownership and just as great as it's always been. The shop is a gathering space for the community where you'll find poetry readings, live music, and exhibits from local artists. The coffee is all fair trade, sustainably grown, and awesomely delicious.
1624 South St., Lincoln
8. Newberry's Common Ground Coffee Café, Alliance
Located in the historic Newberry building, this coffee shop is chock full of personality and great atmosphere. Stop in for a specialty coffee drink and enjoy it in their relaxed seating area while you read or get some work done. Show up during the lunch hours and you'll be treated to a fresh, tasty, light menu including delicious wraps that customers rave about.
402 Box Butte Ave, Alliance
9. 4th Street Coffee House, Stromsburg
A coffee shop of this caliber is a rare find in a small Nebraska town, so stumbling upon it feels like you've uncovered a hidden treasure. The very roomy seating area still manages to feel cozy and friendly. Find all of your favorite coffee drinks here along with fruit smoothies and tasty homemade pastries.
113 E. 4th St., Stromsburg
10. Indigo Bridge Bookstore, Lincoln
This independent bookstore serves some of Lincoln's finest caffeinated beverages along with pastries and light snacks. Located in the historic Haymarket district, Indigo Bridge comes off as eclectic and a bit trendy, but never snobby. You'll find plenty of community events here, from children's story time to a variety of book clubs. The owners strive to make this a meaningful part of the community, and that it certainly is.
701 P St, Ste 102, Haymarket Creamery Building, Lincoln
11. Urban Abbey, Omaha
This non-profit coffee shop and Methodist church in Omaha's Old Market is definitely a unique place. You don't have to attend Sunday church services here to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee; the shop is a laid-back space to relax, gather, converse, or reflect all week long. The fairly-sourced, locally roasted coffee and Nebraska-sourced milk all help support the state's economy, and the yummy baked goods are all homemade and donated by supporters. Stop in for a wide variety of special events, from slam poetry nights to support groups to community plays.
1026 Jackson St., Omaha
12. Joe Camera, Alma
How's this for an unusual business pairing? Joe Camera is a printing shop and graphic design business with a coffee shop inside...or is it the other way around? Oh, and they do a little light bike repair, too. This eclectic blend somehow works perfectly. Joe Camera is a truly wonderful - and always friendly - place to stop in for your favorite espresso-based drink, smoothie, hot tea, or Italian cream soda.
717 Main St., Alma
13. Joltin' Jo's Espresso, McCook
This drive-through coffee stop also has a walk-up window, but you'll need to find somewhere else to plant yourself after you've got your beverage in hand because there's no seating. Still, make it a point to visit when you're in McCook because this is one of the friendliest little coffee shops around. Their coffee game is on point, and you'll also want to try one of their delicious smoothies. If you want a dessert in a cup, try the Bison 45 - it's a latte that tastes like a cinnamon roll.
701 W B St., McCook
14. Hillside Perk, Culbertson
The coffee menu here is pretty basic - which isn't to say it's not delicious, because it is. This small-town joint can whip up a flavored latte that will brighten up your morning or a "shot in the dark" (a shot of espresso in a cup of brewed coffee) that will keep you awake through the first few meetings of the day. There's also a pretty robust food menu featuring breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, and burgers - all of which customers say are absolutely outstanding.
37416 US Highway 34, Culbertson
15. Sip Espresso Bar, Columbus
This comfy space in downtown Columbus is staffed by friendly, skilled baristas who will whip up your favorite drink or help you pick out something new. There are some pretty interesting choices on the menu, including a bacon flavored syrup (who's up for trying that in a latte and reporting back?) and a cotton candy frappe that's reportedly even better than the seasonal one from that big coffee chain. This shop is a perfectly relaxing place to kick back and do some work or just have a little "me time."
1354 27th Ave, Lower Level, Columbus
Well, now I’m craving a giant hazelnut latte and a home-baked blueberry muffin – how about you? Did we miss your favorite independent coffee shop? Add it to the list in the comments!