By Sophia Tejeda | Staff Writer
Imagine walking around campus for the past couple of hours; you’re a prospective student deciding where to spend the next four years of your life. Your amazing and fun tour guide has been raving about the on-campus coffee shop you have got to try. You go to try the hyped-up cup of delicious iced coffee only to be left with a sickly sweet cup of bitterness — that was my introduction to Common Grounds.
Common Grounds seems to be a Baylor favorite — a popular gathering spot on campus or on Eighth Street and raved about to prospective freshmen on tours. However, let’s be honest: It’s overhyped. While many enjoy coffee for the extra boost of caffeine, the taste and flavor are a large component of what convinces one to fork over $5 or more for a pick-me-up.
Though its Arnold Palmer can often satisfy cravings, Common Grounds coffee often leaves something to be desired. Regular lattes taste bitter and lack flavor; however, seasonal drinks more than compensate for this fact, almost resembling the liquid version of a Glade candle. The taste appears to be lacking balance, teetering between overwhelming flavor and being watered down. Additionally, maybe it’s a personal preference, but the tea often tastes lukewarm, leaving a sense of disappointment about that warm and steamy cup of tea you have been craving. Further, Common Grounds’ claim to fame, the secret sauce, tastes similar to boba tea and hot sauce mixed into your latte.
While the Eighth Street location offers a great study spot and cute and cozy vibes, the lack of snack and treat options, on top of the bitter coffee, often leaves the spot at the bottom of the list of recommended coffee shops. Many find the disappointing menu frustrating, as the proximity to campus makes it an intriguing and appealing option. In comparison to the wide variety of local Waco coffee shops, as well as favorites such as Starbucks and Dutch Bros, Common Grounds somewhat fails to measure up.
Also, the Bill Daniel Student Center location provides an additional dining dollar option for students. However, as on-campus students look for meal options on the weekends when dining halls are closed, the limited food availability takes away the advantage of its location. Additionally, the menu contains a wide variety of the same thing, much of which is just different twists on incorporating the secret sauce; though the seasonal menu provides additional choices to the regular menu, many fail to meet the mark. Rarely do the drinks ever measure up to obtain a five-star review.
While I can understand Baylor’s pride in supporting Common Grounds, its reputation fails to satisfy its expectations. If you want to support a local coffee shop, Waco contains an ample assortment of options. Despite my current dissatisfaction with the menu, I would be willing to give Common Grounds a second chance with a little bit of work.