Two of my favorite things in life, coffee and chocolate. After researching coffee shops in Lincoln, Nebraska, I found a shop that combines these two favorites: Cultiva Coffee. I read on their site that there are three locations. One was called Cultiva Labs, where they house their roastery and chocolate production. Their website said to not be afraid and come check it out. I was up for the challenge! Only a few minutes drive away from The Bay coffee shop.
I pulled up and parked in front of this super retro yellow building. I was really digging the retro style signage out front. From the outside the building didn’t look very large at all, I’d compare it to a roadside diner: small, but inviting. As I walked through the doors, I entered coffee heaven! Cultiva Coffee completes the entire coffee operation all under one roof. There were tons of beans, bags, machines going off, and the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee. To make this even better, chocolate lay all over the counter!
I heard a “Good afternoon” coming from the back. I looked up to see a woman coming towards me. I told her I stopped by to check out Cultiva. She assured me that I had stopped in a wonderful coffee shop and she would gladly answer all my questions. This was Joshlyn, a badass barista, coffee roaster, and Cultiva Labs manager. She knew her coffee!
I had a great time discussing coffee with her and she was nice enough to pull me a fresh espresso shot so I could see what she’d been working on. She informed me that they currently have 7 single origins, 1 espresso, 1 dark roast, and 1 decaf; their coffees and roasts are always changing. They sell upwards of 2,300 lbs of coffee a month between wholesale and in their cafes. Their roasters crank out 20 lbs at a time. Cultiva’s most recent project has been producing cans of cold brew, which you can order online for local delivery or pickup.
Cultiva started roasting right here in Lincoln, Nebraska, back in 2004. This building used to actually be an ice cream shop back in the day, hence the retro design I pointed out. Cultiva built two cafes in 2015 providing a place to sit, relax, and drink coffee. The cafes offer delicious brunch options, WIFI, and music that is solely played from vinyl. Cultiva does a great job supporting the community and even supplies the hospital in town (kicked out Starbucks). Cultiva is really conscious of farm-direct coffee and has suppliers located in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The espresso shot I had was FULL of flavor and warmed me right up. I followed it with a delicious cup of Cafe con Amor, a Costa Rican coffee grown at 4,500 ft with both sweet and nutty notes of honey, cashew, and green apple. I highly recommend this roast; here’s a link to order it online. If you’re in Lincoln, NE, you ought to go check them out.
Be sure to check out their two cafes in town if you’d like a meal. All they offer at this location is chocolate, keep reading to find out more.
In addition to coffee, Cultiva has its own line of gourmet chocolate. Their very own bean-to-bar chocolate operation, Sweet Minou, the first business of its kind in Nebraska. I must’ve timed my visit perfectly; right when I was about to head out, Rebecca the Chocolatier arrived. She was very happy to meet me and hear what I was doing and asked me about my travels. Rebecca was friendly and had extensive knowledge of chocolate, the cacao industry, and everything in between. I tried milk mocha, Haitian Pisa cacao, Dominican Republic Oko Caribe with Nibs, chocolates with caramel, and even some with pomegranate. This was the real deal and I was loving every sample I was offered! I even tried their Sweet Minou, Guatemalan Cahabon 70% Dark Chocolate – yum! Rebecca walked me around and explained the chocolate production process and how far it has come over the years. They make everything from scratch and use ethically sourced cacao beans and other clean, organic ingredients. If you’d like to order some, here’s the link.
While we were all discussing coffee, chocolate, and everything in between Rebecca described the bliss you experience while drinking coffee as “Having a moment.” I couldn’t agree more. Coffee is the most present thing in my life. I stop, take a sip, and constantly remind myself how grateful I am for everything I have in life and how special coffee is to me.
It was clean, fully stocked, and had that supply closet feel. This location wasn’t really for the lounge-type so I understand that the bathroom wasn’t going to be too special. No complaints really and I enjoy the painting above the toilet that I got to stare at for a few minutes. I will rank this restroom an 8/10.