Lincoln’s Coffee Culture
America rediscovered its love for coffee in the coffee house boom of the early 90’s. Lincoln was no exception. A culture of coffee houses still flourishes here. They provide a unique way to socialize, or to simply sit alone and savor the moment. Lincoln has more than their share of exceptional coffeehouses, sprinkled here and there in neighborhoods throughout the city. So whether you are in search of your favorite caffeinated beverage or desire something hot with less hype, Lincoln’s coffee houses are the place for you.
Most of the coffee houses are independently owned, and many of them are venues for art, poetry and music. If you’re a coffee lover, however, there’s one intersection that you simply must head to first: 8th and P in the Haymarket. That’s where four of Lincoln’s finest java joints peacefully coexist.
Starting at the northwest corner, step inside The Mill, Lincoln’s original coffee shop. The Mill was the first to roast their own beans right on the premises, the first to offer specialty coffee drinks with their intoxicating aroma, the first at pretty much everything. The Mill excels at atmosphere: relaxed, unpretentious, crowded with college students and young professionals, government workers and business owners working away on laptops, or having a casual coffee date. In fact, the Mill is so popular; they had to open a second location in College View (4736 Prescott Ave.). In addition to coffee, the Mill serves locally made eatables, gourmet candies and chocolate. Chocoholics would do well to sample the freshly made hot chocolate topped with real whipped cream.
They are also well stocked with take-home bags of tea, coffee beans and related supplies.
On the southeast corner, you’ll find Crescent Moon Coffee, a beloved establishment that offers quality coffees, wine, beer and, in the morning, crepes. Owner Melinda Martinson runs the shop with her daughter and brother. The quiet, lower level facility is spacious and friendly. A small side room serves, as the ‘book nook,’ where patrons can enjoy the silence. A quaint atrium is just right for visiting… and for the live music shows this coffee shop is famous for. In the recent years the family has focused more on art and music shows than ever before. During evening hours, you can still enjoy coffee, or you can sample Crescent Moon’s wines and coffee liquors.
Onward to the southwest corner of 8th and P, you’ll find the Nebraska-born chain, Scooters. Other Lincoln locations include 1033 O Street in the Gold’s Building, 2901 South 84th, 4321 South 33rd and 555 South 70th (in St Elizabeth’s Medical Center). Scooters started with a single outlet in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1998, and has quickly grown to over 90 locations in seven states. Scooters features premium coffees, smoothies and espresso.
In the Haymarket’s Creamery Building at 701 P Street, you’ll find Café Indigo inside Indigo Bridge Books. Café Indigo serves premium fair-trade organic coffee from local roaster Cultiva, as well as soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. They also host The Table, a pay-what-you-can bread and soup meal from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to donate whatever they can. Soup and bread are supplied by local restaurants. While you are there, take a moment to browse this gem of a bookstore. Check their website at indigobridgebooks.com for special events. In 2014, among their many book signings and children’s activities, they hosted a lecture and book signing by David Sedaris.
Bread & Cup, 440 N. 8th St is the place to grab a great cup of joe and one of the best cinnamon rolls in the city. The folks are friendly, the food amazing, and the coffee is always hot and fresh. If you have the time to enjoy your coffee, stop in at this Haymarket location and enjoy some of their great menu items. It is gourmet all the way.
Just a few blocks west of the coffee crazed intersection is The Coffee House (1324 P Street). The Coffee House offers a huge variety of coffee and specialty drinks including specialty teas and Italian sodas. Homemade pastries, cookies and snacks round out the menu. With its proximity to the University Nebraska campus and many downtown businesses, this Lincoln hotspot provides an eclectic atmosphere and a great place to sit and watch the world go by. Local artwork is always on display. The Coffee House continues to be one of the best places to hangout, drink great coffee, work on your computer, or just have some fresh-baked muffins with your friends.
Another Lincoln favorite is Cultiva, at 727 S. 11th Street. This warm and friendly coffee house serves great food and fair-trade organic coffee that they roast themselves. Their extensive menu includes made-to-order crepes, breakfast, home made soups and more.
Meadowlark Coffee (1624 South Street) sees itself as more than coffee — it’s part of a community with local artists, filmmakers, musicians and poets. Artists are encouraged to display their work, and live music is featured almost every weekend. Open mic night is Wednesday. Conversations about art and politics are always welcome.
If you are near University Place near Wesleyan University, Mo Java Cafe and Roasting Co. (2649 North 48th Street) is a great place to grab a cup of fair-trade organic coffee, surf the web or just listen to some local musicians on a Friday night.
As the southeast side of Lincoln continues to grow, coffee houses are springing up out that way, too. Whether you’re thirsty for something hot or cold, nu Vibe (4131 Pioneer Woods Drive) will provide the right refreshment. Specializing in smoothies and energy drinks, nu Vibe also has great coffee and gelato. Order the Victory Lap and customize your smoothie any way you like.
Kopeli Coffee (in all 14 Lincoln Amigos restaurants) is the coffee house venture created by the owners of Lincoln’s popular Amigos Mexican restaurants. They serve fresh-roasted, premium coffee drinks with seasonal specials that include some truly delicious and original frozen coffee treats. Along with your latte, order from Amigos amazing breakfast menu to make your morning perfect.
Yes, Lincoln does have several Starbucks locations. You’ll find them at 2801 Pine Lake Road, 1201 P Street, 8201 S. 40th and 3302 O Street and in both Barnes and Noble bookstores (South Pointe Pavilions and 52nd and O Streets).
You can seek out a good cup of joe in many other locations. Both Panera Bread locations (South Pointe Pavilions and downtown at 12th and P Streets) and Brueggers Bagel at 12th and Q, are worth checking out. All these establishments serve up a fabulous cup of coffee, specialty drinks and even a very good cup of tea.
Still craving coffee? Here are more shops to try:
Bagels and Joe (4701 Old Cheney Road #E)
The Blend Coffee, Deli & Gifts,
4900 N 26th Street
Sultana’s Kahve, 5130 West Fletcher Lane
Sunrise Coffee Co.,
Piedmont Shops at 1265 South Cotner Blvd.