Storms were moving in and out as the 2nd Caffeine Crawl Omaha was approaching. Luckily, we dodged thunderstorms, and were only greeted by occasional sprinkles and mist. Making the day even more appropriate for a coffee and tea marathon. Our first Caffeine Crawl in Omaha was the fall of 2013, and our start to moving it to the spring, and making it an annual event was a fun success.
Two roasting companies kicked off the routes, Beansmith Coffee and Hardy Coffee, at their new space, and at Aromas. Beansmith's new Old Market location showcased two different brew styles of their Ethiopian Gelana Abaya, one from the Kyoto slow drip apparatus. A nice presentation from Ryan explaining the coffee and different brew methods, plus we got to take home a sample bag of their Burundi coffee.
Aromas Coffeehouse gave us a unique experience by hosting us at three different locations - their new roasting facility for Hardy Coffee, and their two shops. Besides their well known baked goods behind Autumn's magic, they had a coffee - root beer chai on ice, and at the roasting facility Kait brewed Chemexes of a Peru while Nick, the roaster, talked about the coffee process.
At Archetype Coffee, Isaiah didn't just talk about the importance of the variables in getting the most out of a coffee in a brew, but also made one of the most interactive Crawl stops for the year by getting a volunteer on each route, and using a Nerf-type gun with target to demonstrate how challenging it is to be consistent on brews. Jason passed out tastings of their Tanzania, that he roasts, and each one of us received an under-, over-extracted, and Gold Cup brew of that coffee for comparison.
Another newbie shop was Mug Life Coffee. Matt and Brenna tag teamed on their presentation and samples. They brewed the same Ethiopian Djimmah of theirs two ways. One method was from the Chemex paired with a cupcake, and the other a nitro charged brew paired with an Askinosie Chocolate.
At Accelerando Coffee House, Cody took a real cool (and tasteful) approach to milk for all of us. They served up macchiatos using an espresso from PT's Coffee and explained foam and milk properties. This was a little trek for some, but well worth the visit. We look forward to their new location on next year's event.
Luke mixed it up for our groups at Culprit Cafe and Bakery. Michael's route enjoyed affogatos using KC's Broadway Coffee while Jason's group had a coffee - tea combo brew from the Kyoto. That was paired with what Jason on our team considers the best beignets in the Midwest.
Tim, the owner of The Tea Smith did a great job getting us engaged with tea while pleasing our palates. He had two people from each group whisk up matcha and then serve it, plus a rooibos that was equally tasty. This completed a nice walk through the Old Market for the shops there. Sarah of Omaha Bicycle Company had us out on her back porch area for fresh air as we sipped on our choice of the inhouse creation, lavender fog tea, with either skim or almond milk. We talked bikes and community, plus she explained the bike shop's coffee program using Intelligentsia and local roaster Archetype. Both of these were just the right break from coffee.
Not just a well-executed and delicious performance overall by each shop, it was nice having guests from out of town, including supporters Midwest Coffee Trading, and Yelp locally. Even though our Northwest industry supporters, Barista Magazine and Unic Espresso, couldn't make the trek, as always, it was great to have their support.
The day wrapped up with an early evening get together. Omaha has one of the best craft beer scenes in the Midwest, and Archetype made sure to incorporate that into the After Crawl Party they hosted. They had their Belgian Strong Ale collaboration beer with Scriptown on hand during the Latte Art Throwdown. It was nice to see almost all the shops represented in the Throwdown. Another good sign that Omaha's beverage community is growing, and will be ready for the Crawl again next spring.