Amateur Coffee is a specialty coffee roasting company and vegan coffee parlor, located in the midtown area of Omaha at 3913 Cuming Street. It is the only exclusively vegan coffee shop in Nebraska, serving everything from your regular cup of Joe to oat milk and almond milk lattes, vegan gluten-free waffles with fun toppings to choose from, vegan pastries from their neighbors at Sweet Magnolias Bake Shop, and seasonally-themed vegan chia seed pudding bowls. You can even stop in to purchase a bag of their own roasted coffee beans to enjoy at home.
Owners, Jacob and Jasmyn Wichert, opened Amateur’s coffee parlor on January 11th, 2018. I was one of the few to catch a quick glimpse of their space before it was open to the public, and let me tell you, it was a diamond in the rough! Refinishing old spaces is not glamorous work, but Jacob and Jasmyn teamed up to make their space absolutely gorgeous. They kept the original tiled floors, painted the walls an edgy black, and added a mural behind the coffee bar that exclaims to “Love Something More”. You can tell these were the right character decisions made just by finding Amateur’s customers on Instagram and seeing all the posted photos of their mural and everyone’s shoes on the old floor tile.
To celebrate the shop’s first birthday, Jacob and Jasmyn threw a weekend birthday party. There were birthday waffles and lattes decorated with vegan cake-flavored sprinkles, and a raffle that gifted a few winners a free latte, bag of coffee, and a gift card. And if you were following their social media that weekend, you must have seen the adorable BIRTHDAY CAKE for Amateur’s team! (Is it fair to even mention it was from Sweet Magnolias?! A vegan chocolate cake covered in rainbow sprinkles!)
As a small business owner myself, I was curious if Amateur ended up becoming the coffee shop Jacob and Jasmyn imagined from the beginning. They both chuckled and answered that they did not realize all the projects that would evolve over the scope of setting up the shop. They both agreed, much of the work starts as projects, but rarely continues as planned, so it taught them both to go with the flow and appreciate the end results. Jacob mentioned one of his biggest challenges was the learning curve he made in needing the knowledge of building codes to get their shop ready for the public. He said some of the best surprises were the opportunities they gained in growing a family of employees and seeing Jasmyn find a sense of community within their group of customers.
When asked about the success and popularity of their parlor, Jasmyn explained that the business is a reflection of both her and Jacob’s personalities and strengths. Jasmyn brings her artistry to the business through her iconic coffee bag graphics which are inspired by the theme of coloring books. She also had the creative guts to go edgy in painting the shop black and add in a meaningful mural. Jacob thrives as an inspiring coffee specialist and knows how to get the dirty work done. They both show pride in each other by living their core values and strengths, while thriving in the things they agree each other are good at, and I believe that their authentic love for coffee and people helps create a shop that people love as well. I really liked how Jasmyn put it, “We took a place that was previously unloved, and made it lovable.” (Can we say, CUTEST COUPLE?!)
A year ago, I would have had no idea there was such a thing as oat milk. I would have been skeptical, and maybe would have said “No, that sounds creepy – almond milk please!” Jasmyn said the skepticism actually stayed pretty minimal once people were able to try their oat milk lattes. She explained that two dairy farmers even stopped in during their first week of being open and they had no idea the lattes were vegan. She said when preparing to open the shop, they wanted to explore other milk alternatives and the milk that caught their attention was from the brand “Oatly” because of its texture shown through latte art. If you have not tried an oat milk latte, I dare you to stop by Amateur and give it a try. I fell in love with oat milk and have a hard time imagining a latte any other way. It is rich and creamy, thick like whole milk, and has such a calming flavor that makes my belly full. I double-dog-dare you to give it a try!
Any goals for this next year? Jasmyn shared a few secrets that I can’t even share with you, but one surprise will be new countertops to help maximize counter space. This will help provide comfier seating, room for your laptops, and add some extra character to the space with the new counter’s butcher block pattern. Jacob says he wants to continue to learn how to perfect the space as a whole, make things look new again, and serve clients better and better. Overall, I think these are fantastic goals and I’m excited to see what Amateur’s future holds.
SO, how could we as customers better cheer Amateur on? Keep promoting and telling your friends about their shop. This includes more pictures of their mural and your favorite boots on their tiled floors. This also includes giving feedback, while sometimes shrugging off the rare instance when things don’t go perfectly, and exclaiming success when they do. Set up your next meeting at the shop. Bring your mom a latte to go. Word of mouth is one of our best tools for helping the local places we love succeed.
In my time meeting with Jacob and Jasmyn, what I respected most was the vulnerability both of them shared with me in admitting how hard it was to start a business. They take pride in what they have, but they also recognize the harder times they went through when they tried keeping the coffee shop open 7-days-a-week, but practically starved themselves of food and sleep while riding on the brim of burnout. They showed vulnerability to the community in saying they need rest on Mondays so they can be their best selves when you show up Tuesdays through Sundays. I loved hearing these stories, and learning that everyone has seasons in life where the dishes stack up for weeks on weeks and how many yellow notepads of “to-do” lists that Jasmyn stacked up in their house. Jacob and Jasmyn are as real as it gets, and I absolutely love supporting them.
Your Local Foodie Cheerleader
PS- Jasmyn and I will most likely talk about our Clifton Strengths every time I stop by. Fun fact: Jacob and Jasmyn both share three of the same top five strengths! (Activator, Ideation, and Futuristic!)