Waco’s coffee scene largely brewed up by Baylor grads
Local coffee shops are a home away from home for many college students. Waco’s coffee scene offers several amazing shops for students to study, relax, connect and fuel up. So, who’s to thank for Waco’s thriving and growing coffee scene? For three of Waco’s most popular coffee spots, it’s Baylor alumni:
Common Grounds — What started as a Baylor class project turned into reality in 1995, when Jill Mashburn (BA ’95) fulfilled her dream of opening up a coffee shop in Waco that would be a place for people of all kinds to be able to meet up and hang out. With a bit of elbow grease and a lot of interior decorating, Mashburn officially opened Common Grounds in a rented house right across the street from Baylor’s campus. Now a household name to Baylor students and graduates, Common Grounds serves up their famous Cowboy Coffees to students who study and catch up under a beautiful canopy tree in the backyard. In 2012, Jill sold the business to Waco natives (and Baylor graduates) Blake (BA ’08) and Kimberly (BA ’07) Batson. Since then, the Batsons have continued to foster and grow the “CG Family,” adding locations in the Waco suburb of Woodway and in the Baylor SUB.
Pinewood Roasters — In 2014, two Common Grounds employees graduated from Baylor and decided to embark on their own coffee journey. Having developed a deep love of coffee from working as baristas, Dylan Washington (BA ’14) and John David Beard (BBA ’14) began a coffee roasting business that has grown to be a staple in the Waco coffee scene. What began on a sample roaster in a garage evolved to roasting on a full machine in a space in McGregor. In 2016, they opened a coffee bar in a local restaurant, but their following quickly outgrew the limited space, leading them to open up their own coffee shop on Austin Avenue in 2017. On any given day, Pinewood’s warm shop and beautiful deck is filled to the brim with students working, studying and hanging out.
Brû — In 2011, Baylor graduate Peter Ellis (BA ’05) moved back to Waco after living overseas in Morocco and France. Café culture was a huge part of the Ellis family’s lives in France, and Peter had a strong desire to bring that classic culture to Waco. Ellis opened his roastery in 2012 and eventually began selling his coffee to the public at the Waco Farmer’s Market in 2014. An ode to the classic coffee culture, Ellis named his brand Brû — a nickname he created based on the French word for roastery. Roasting on a restored 120-year-old roaster made in the late 1800s, Brû focuses on a classic, European, espresso-based approach to coffee. What started as an idea for a tasting bar for his product turned into Brû’s very own coffee shop inside the Praetorian in 2016. Complete with an espresso machine designed in Italy, Brû provides a classic, creative space that lends itself towards professional development and focuses on a holistic, ethical approach of coffee from farm to cup.
Sic ’em, Baylor coffee shops!