Waco’s local coffee shops and why you should support them

By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer

So, I have a confession. Freshman year, my coffee habits consisted of Keurig K-cups and an occasional Frappuccino. I felt very unsophisticated and I hadn’t explored the Waco coffee scene yet, so I had no idea what I was missing out on.

It truly wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy that I developed a real appreciation for coffee. My host family served me espresso with breakfast and dinner, and we even had coffee breaks scheduled into our classes at school. It was so different than what I was used to back home — streets flowing with café’s and not a single Starbucks in sight.

It was there I realized that coffee shops are more than just businesses. They are places for people to work, connect and enjoy each other’s company. More importantly, these small shops rely on their customers to stay afloat.

Waco boasts several coffee shops, all with different atmospheres and menus. Many are regular hangout spots for Baylor students and some even offer occasional live music events.

Now more than ever, these local businesses need our support. The economy has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many businesses to lay off workers or shut down completely. While Starbucks can afford to close a couple hundred stores, the local Waco shops do not have that option.

I would encourage you to check out these local businesses and show your support. If you’re like me, you will want to try all of them to see what they each have to offer.

Here are my impressions of four of Waco’s local coffee shops:

#1- Pinewood

At Pinewood I feel as if though I’ve stepped back in time. Their record player is always spinning, and their menu offers the true coffee essentials, along with a variety of teas. Ben Simmons, a Pinewood barista, introduced me to my go-to drink, their house latte.

#2- Common Grounds

Common Grounds, with an on-campus location in the Student Union Building, is great for easy-access coffee on the way to class. Known for their ‘secret sauce’ and cowboy-themed drink names, this shop is great for those who like coffee with a kick. My go-to CG drink is the No Bull.

#3- Dichotomy

Coffee at Dichotomy is refined, with many options to customize your drink. Their downtown location is perfect for studying or catching up with friends and even has rooftop seating that overlooks the ALICO building. My drink of choice is the iced caramel coffee.

#4- Magnolia Press

Magnolia Press offers the classics and several seasonal favorites. As one would imagine, the interior is beautifully designed in true Magnolia-fashion. I like to switch my order up every time I visit, but have recently been loving the snickerdoodle latte.

Other local shops include Brû and Lighthouse, which I need to try soon!

Any of the above are perfect for studying or getting your caffeine kick, so before you pull into the Starbucks drive thru consider checking out one of Waco’s many local coffee shops — they’ll be grateful you did, and who knows, you may just find your new favorite brew.