Omaha couple offer cup of creativity at Amateur Coffee
Sarah Baker Hansen
OMAHA WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Amateur Coffee’s bags are adorned with bright, cheerful drawings — things like serene campfires, twisty orange peels and flowers, and a table covered with baked goods.
What’s inside the bags, though, is the real passion of owners Jasmyn and Jacob Wichert, who launched the locally owned roastery in mid-2016.
Take, for example, the Blueberry coffee — the one with the baked goods on the bag. The Wicherts sun-dry the beans, resulting in a cup with blueberry notes and an emphasis on sweetness. Those kinds of not-too-serious, funky approaches could be the signature of this new boutique brand owned by two Omaha natives.
“Being an amateur allows breathing room to be creative and try new things,” Jacob Wichert said. “We want to do something new and different and fun.”
Jasmyn Wichert — whose art adorns the coffee bags — said the she and Jacob self-funded the company in 2016 as a “labor of love.” Right now the Omahans are both working other jobs — Jasmyn as a full-time assistant at Trio, the salon her family owns, and Jacob part time at Urban Outfitters.
Jacob Wichert learned how to roast coffee beans from roaster Tom Dancer, who runs Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee, also in Omaha. The rest of Jacob’s knowledge came from self-teaching and trial and error. He also has a mentor-style relationship with Jason Burkum, the roaster at Archetype Coffee in the Blackstone District.
At first Amateur roasted beans using Tap Dancer’s roaster. Now the Wicherts roast in their own at a small facility they rent in Bennington. The coffee is also bagged and shipped from that space.
They roast green coffee beans, which they source from farmers in Nicaragua, New Guinea and elsewhere. It’s important to them to recognize the farmers who raise the beans, they said, and to that end, each style of coffee on their website notes the origins of the roast.
The couple chose their name because of its translated meaning: “enthusiast who pursues their work in the spirit of love.”
“We’re lovers of coffee,” Jasmyn Wichert said. “We really value the industry.”
So far Amateur is sold mostly online, though shoppers can find their bagged beans at Hello Holiday in Dundee and by the cup at Baela Rose, also in Dundee, and Delice, at Midtown Crossing. They also sold at holiday markets throughout the season and will continue that in February, with a stop at a Benson market.
They offer a $15-a-month coffee subscription service through which customers can choose to have coffees delivered weekly, every other week or monthly. Customers can let the Wicherts choose the flavor they receive, or choose their own.
The couple’s goal: to open their own storefront. The Wicherts hope by the end of this year they’ll have their own spot.
Though the couple surely take coffee seriously, they want to be sure to continue to have fun with their brand.
“We want the coffee to taste different or better,” Jacob Wichert said, “but it also should be something that people can relate to. That’s the most important part.”