Archetype Coffee opened in May of this year in Omaha, Nebraska, in the Blackstone neighborhood, a historic brick-lined part of midtown named after the former Blackstone Hotel, where it is claimed the Reuben sandwich was first created by a Reuben Kulakofsky in 1925. This area has, in recent months, started to undergo major redevelopment, and a number of new businesses have been setting up shop in the area. The arrival of good coffee was inevitable.
Isaiah Sheese made the move to the Omaha area from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to open Archetype. Mr. Sheese is a seasoned member of the specialty coffee world whose tenure includes Doubleshot Coffee and Topeca Coffee Roasters in Tulsa, and Anodyne Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee, as well as several national competition appearances.
Three other beverage businesses have opened or are setting up shop in the same building as Archetype: a tequileria, a microbrewery, and soon a craft cocktail lounge. The community has already been exceptionally welcoming to this new shop–locals have left notes on bulletin boards rallying support for his new local business and other businesses in the district have brought gifts such as a tree that now sits on the patio.
Archetype has a warm and modern industrial feel inside. The space, formerly a dive bar, had to be gut renovated. The front entrance was sunken back about 10 feet to create a patio space, and the entire flooring was redone. They also exposed all of the brick to reveal some of the original building's character.
The countertops and a few other pieces of furniture were built by Sheese and a friend of his from Tulsa. Isaiah also recruited the assistance of a previous co-worker, Daniel Schildhorn, to help get the business up and running and to work at the bar. Mr. Schildhorn, who worked with Isaiah Sheese at both Doubleshot and Topeca, made the move from New York to Omaha to be a part of the new shop.
At the bar, Isaiah is running a two group Synesso Cyncra, which happens to be the first Synesso in Nebraska. They also have Mahlkonig's K30 grinder for espresso, and the brand's Kenia grinder for their bulk grinder. Currently, Archetype is serving coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters, which was recently founded in rural Wisconsin by Jared Linzmeier, formely of Intelligentsia Coffee and Caffe Ladro. That said, they've already begun sample roasting and hope to be offering their own in-house roasted coffees as soon as possible.
The name that Mr. Sheese chose to give his new shop is not meant to be subtle. It’s a mission statement for his new business venture.
“I was trying to find a word that had some sort of meaning,” he told Sprudge. “Naming a coffee shop is a lot like naming a band. We want to do things with excellence that other coffee shops will look at and want to model themselves after, whether it’s our hospitality or the excellence of the coffee; whatever it is we want other businesses to be able to come and glean something off what we are doing.”
Progressive coffee has a very bright future ahead in Omaha, and cities like it. In 2014, entrepreneurs like Isaiah Sheese and Daniel Schildhorn are moving from bigger markets and established companies to follow their own destiny as business owners and coffee professionals. Great coffee doesn't care where you're located, and in America especially it seems like the most interesting new cafes, the most progressive approaches to service are happening far from the coasts, where rent is cheap and build-outs limited only by imagination.
Delicious coffee as a movement or trend is still so new, it feels like the rules that govern so many other industries–food, cocktails, media–simply do not apply. This is an exciting time to love delicious coffee, and an especially exciting time to do so in a city like Omaha.
Ben Richardson is a photographer, videographer, and an avid coffee consumer from Modesto, California. Richardson currently resides near Omaha, Nebraska. This is his first feature for Sprudge.com.