Coffee houses seem to be on the rise and Waco has some notable places to grab a cuppa coffee. Sure, you can pull through the drive-thru of that one place, that is on every corner, and yes, I do, but it isn’t the same. You can get coffee there but that is where the parallels end.
And, I am not talking the coffee-shop kind of cup of joe, but the Central Perk-kind of shop, where you can sit down on a comfy couch and either work on your laptop–or like the famous sitcom-enjoy coffee while gabbing with your friends.
I love coffee houses. Real coffee houses. The vibe, the smell, the décor. Waco has several great coffee bars to pick from—all unique, all quaint and all distinct. All Instagram-worthy. Oh, and I have been known to take a picture or two (or more) of the perfectly brewed, fresh, coffee in beautiful coffee cups. They make perfect squares on Instagram.
Coffeehouses are not created for Instagram. The java houses are a resting place, a meeting place, a study place and a work place but the most important quality is of course—the coffee itself.
Wacotown, here is a list of great places to get a great cup of coffee. (not in any specific order, and not a chain)
Common Grounds, located at 1123 South 8th Street, in Waco, serves responsibly sourced and carefully roasted coffees from all over the world but also uses the local favorite, Pinewood Roasters.
The liquid menu is extensive and for the beginner-joe, could be intimidating. The menu has several great choices; you most likely will have time to read while standing in line. Common Grounds has plenty of regulars, which is a must for all coffee houses (remember that little sitcom called Friends?) and most go to school across the street at a little school called Baylor University.
They have slow bar where coffees are served that are specifically paired with a particular brewing method. They even have a cold brew-served on tap! This shop is known for the “Cowboy Coffee”, relaxing atmosphere and live music outside with a backyard-type venue amongst the trees.
Also, located outside, for a bonus, you will find a Waco jewel–a food truck called Milo Biscuit Company, known for the homemade biscuits, by way of Georgia.
Coffee to-go? The CG Container is located at the Magnolia Market Silos, on the corner of 6th and Webster and is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed Sundays. The brick and mortar is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits
Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits, located at 508 Austin Avenue, is far from a chain-coffee house. Dichotomy features a traditional Italian-style espresso menu, serving both hot and iced coffee drinks. The baristas take pride and spend time with each cup ordered and deliver a cup of coffee that is Instagram-worthy. The ingredients are from-the-farm fresh and they even serve a homemade in-house vanilla syrup.
This coffee house uses coffee beans from roasters from all over America, including Apex Coffee Roasters, self-owned and operated, just down the street.
The atmosphere is one of the main characters in the experience Dichotomy offers. The building itself is full of charm and history, using a mix of modern and vintage. Dichotomy renovated the historic downtown building and kept details like exposed brick but added new flooring, one-inch hexagon floor tiles used in shops of the past. The floor is a piece of art, in and of itself. And, actually is an art gallery, with artwork for sale by local artists.
Dichotomy offers an outside patio, upstairs, that once again lends itself to being Instagram-able. The view of the courthouse and the famous Alico Building are the stars out there. Dichotomy used local goods from local creatives, including the tables, both inside and out.
Also at Dichotomy, like the coffee drinks, spirits are served the old-fashioned way. Just watching the bartender make your drink is entertaining and it is highly recommended. It is true craftsmanship. The drink is a true piece of art. Using only fresh and local ingredients, Dichotomy takes detail a step further–detail in the time and accuracy of every drink made. Using locally sourced ingredients–meaning fresh cream, fruit, eggs and mint from farmers here in the area. Even the whiskey is created down the road; Dichotomy proudly serves a flight of Balcones, the international award-winning distillery in Waco. Everything Dichotomy does lends a feeling of nostalgia to the speakeasy era.
The coffee house is open Sunday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays. The bar opens daily at 3:00 p.m.
Pinewood Coffee Bar
Pinewood Roasters is handmade in McGregor by two Baylor University graduates. On the website, you will find the quote, “Our goal is to bring you the coffees that we love, and drink every day. We don’t have customers, we have friends.”
They sure have a lot of friends in Waco—they sell their coffee to Pinewood Coffee Bar, Common Grounds, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, Milo, 1424 Bistro, Luna Juice, The Home Grown Farm, Heritage Creamery, and Bare Arms Brewery, just to name a few. Pinewood is also sold in Tyler, Austin and Houston.
Why not go to the coffee bar named after the locally roasted beans? The Pinewood Coffee Bar is located at 929 Franklin Avenue, downtown Waco, in a Mediterranean restaurant called Alpha Omega. It is hard to believe the restaurant, with exposed brick and vaulted ceilings, is a revamped one-time transmission repair shop.
A bonus at Pinewood, you can enjoy a homemade dessert from Alpha Omega, along with your black stuff.
Pinewood will close the location at Alpha Omega, on May 27 and will reopen at the new location, 2223 Austin Avenue in late summer.
BRÛ Artisan Coffee Works
BRÛ Artisan Coffee Works, the newest coffee house in Waco, opened in July and is located on the first floor of the 100-year old Praetorian building– in the elevator shaft.
Part of the Praetorian Market Centre, BRÛ is located at 601 Franklin Avenue and is a locally owned and operated, fair trade, organic bean roaster. The espresso bar, where the bruista makes your type of joe, is literally housed in the first-floor lobby where the historic seven-story building’s original elevator was housed. (The building uses a newer elevator for the residents that live upstairs.) The marble-walled lobby is quaintly decorated with palms and bistro tables. There are also bistro tables that line the sidewalk on 6th Street, just like a Paris café, or you can sit at bistro tables in the home décor shop, Interior Glow, also located on the ground floor.
The view from BRÛ is one I am fond of, while sitting inside or out, The Alico Building is within sight and stands tall above. While enjoying your decoction, you can usually feast on a pastry, made fresh locally.
BRÛ sells their locally on-site roasted coffee in the shop and at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays and the coffee bar is open Monday through Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Wacoans have a difficult decision in where they will find their perfect brew due to so many places that serve a picture-perfect, mouth-watering brew. This is a great problem to have. All are delicious and all are recommended.
I have always want to go to a coffee house, alone, and enjoy a cuppa coffee, and write. You know, like in the movies, (or real life for some people!). I challenged myself, found my brave and faced my fear of sitting alone. I recommend you do the same, if you have not tried it.
Coffee houses are the new bars. Friends gather there. Creatives work there. Students study there. And the hot stuff is sold there.
You know the old saying, “Do you want to grab a cup of coffee?” Well, I know just the place in Waco to go!