La Vista residents have a new option for getting their caffeine fix.
Beansmith has been in La Vista for a few years now, but the coffee-roasting company now has an attached coffee shop open as well. The Lobby, located at 12010 Roberts Road, began its life as an actual lobby, the reception end of the specialty-coffee business.
In May, renovations began on the building to create a space that was more inviting to customers, whether they were looking to buy a bag of beans or a drink to go, and work finished in August.
Kait Berreckman, director of sales and training, said The Lobby was treating the month of August like a “soft open.”
“We’re trying to figure out what times really work for us as a team, since there’s only four of us, and what times work for people who are wanting to come. It’s been a good month of learning,” she said.
Right now, The Lobby is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We’re going to extend those hours as soon as we figure out how to with our bodies and our sleep schedules,” Berreckman said.
The Lobby is intended to be a multi-purpose space. In addition to being a café, it will be a training space for baristas to practice brew methods, latte art or espresso work.
“Stores can also have new baristas do their full-on training here as opposed to at their shop, where it might be disruptive to service,” Berreckman said. The shop has already done one training and has another one scheduled for this week.
Both Berreckman and Nick Tabor, a roaster, said that having a coffee shop on site has been helpful to their bean-roasting operations. Berreckman said The Lobby has given Beansmith a chance to test its coffees in a professional environment and see how they act on a commercial machine.
“As a barista, it’s a dream come true to be right next to your roaster,” she said. “I’m able to say, ‘Hey, I really liked that coffee as an espresso, but could you maybe roast it to bring out more of the caramel-ly sweetness and less of the higher, more acidic notes?’ So that’s awesome.”
“Something we’re sticklers on is quality control and chasing the dream of perfection,” Tabor added. “Having this has shown some flaws and shown some good things, so we’ve been able to go back to the drawing board and make some tweaks that I think have been good. It’s helping us improve our coffee on the roasting end. We can really experience down to the slightest details what’s going on in our coffee, so, when we send it out, we know that coffee very, very well.”
While Beansmith sells a wide variety of kinds of coffee, only a few brews at a time will be available at The Lobby. Beansmith only roasts to order, to help keep beans fresh and avoid waste, so The Lobby has to place orders with the company, just like any other client.
If The Lobby’s coffees taste a little familiar, it’s because their clients include several coffee shops in the Omaha area. JD’s Coffee Shop in Seward and the Beanery in Gretna feature Beansmith coffees, as well as Omaha shops Accelerando, TriPointe Coffee, Aromas, Urban Abbey, Dundee Double Shot and Stories Coffeehouse.
Beansmith also sells packaged coffee at a few grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Patrick’s Market and Tomato Tomato, but Berreckman said they’d rather have customers buy directly from them. “We’re hoping this will be a welcoming, inviting, interesting place to do that,” she said. “There are lots of people moving toward buying everything they buy directly from the supplier and knowing where their food and drinks come from. Hopefully we can get in on that.”
The Lobby’s location is, as Tabor describes it, “out of the way,” but he and Berreckman think that’s part of the shop’s appeal. “It’s out of the hustle and bustle,” Tabor said. “And we have a beautiful view of a cornfield. Sunrise here is great.”
Store owner Chris Smith added that roads are being paved near them and developments are going up. “Within the next three to five years, this should be filling in with homes and other businesses, where having a central coffee shop and roastery right here could be well-planned,” he said.
The shop’s location also means that it’s more difficult for potential customers to just happen upon it, but two events hope to draw crowds into the store. The Lobby’s official grand opening will be Sept. 13, with drink specials, cuppings, and a latte art throwdown occurring throughout the day.
The shop is also a destination on the Caffeine Crawl, an event being held on Oct. 19 which will take coffee enthusiasts to six different coffee shops around the metro area.