Blue Line Coffee

Blue Line has two locations in Omaha: one in the burgeoning North Downtown neighborhood and the other in Dundee. Because I live close to the downtown location and go there often, that’s what this review is about.

Blue Line styles itself as a French espresso cafe, complete with light fixtures that resemble gaslights, big vintage absinthe posters, and a small, comfortable bar. It’s a fun place in a good part of town. Next door are a number of other great places, including Slowdown, the Film Streams movie theater, and Greenstreet Cycles. Blue Line becomes the natural stop before or after a movie at Film Streams, after a show at Slowdown, or while my bike is getting fixed at Greenstreet. What I’ve done several times is pick up a sandwich from Blue Line and bring it in to a movie. I’m not sure this is technically allowed, but I figured that everyone else is munching on popcorn the whole time, so I might as well have a pannini.

Blue Line’s food isn’t anything fancy, of course. It’s mostly just simple toasted panninis, quiche, some black-bean burgers, and other cafe food. The coffee, however, is excellent. The iced coffee is among the best available in Omaha, and it might be the only coffee shop in the area that uses the real cold-brew process, instead of simply brewing coffee hot and then refrigerating it. The quality of the beans is also very good, and I frequently buy their whole beans for later use. Although several of the coffee strains they sell are not technically organic or free-trade (which requires expensive third-party certification), Chris, the rather eccentric owner, apparently flies out to the coffee farms in Africa which produce his coffee to ensure their quality and ethics. That’s dedication.

One of the few problems with Blue Line is the incessant be-bop and hard-bop that’s always playing. I enjoy jazz well enough, but constant loud be-bop gets rather grating after awhile. It’s fine if you bring headphones or you’re a loud talker.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Blue Line is also the only Omaha coffee shop that also serves alcohol. It’s not an especially overwhelming selection, but they have plenty of wine, bottled beer, scotch, and absinthe. Blue Line wonderfully fills the role as the place to go when all other places seem expensive or tiresome, or when you want cocktails, she wants coffee, and he wants wine.

Blue Line Coffee on Urbanspoon

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2 thoughts on “Blue Line Coffee

  1. I’ve enjoyed Blue Line’s coffee a few times, but during my last visit was surprised by their tea selection. Most places that offer high quality coffee and spirits usually have loose-leaf tea available. Blue Line only has a selection of boxed, bagged teas, piled on a tray that they have you look through. It is easy to think twice about spending $1.60 on hot water and a tea bag when you could buy the whole box for the same price.

    • I’ve found that, with a few exceptions, it’s really hard to get good loose-leaf tea at coffee shops and restaurants. It’s a losing proposition, which is why I either go with decaf coffee or just plain old water. Next time you’re in Omaha, you should check out the Tea Smith. Lots of loose-leaf teas, and a neat lounge to enjoy it in.

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