Our 20 favorite Baylor-area coffee spots
For so many people, college is the time of life when they first fall in love with coffee. Early morning classes, various student activities, dozens of new friends, and test after project after test… All can quickly lead to coffee being an absolute necessity. Lucky for us, the Waco coffee scene is exploding — this list has doubled since our last update two years ago!
So, whether you’re a new student whose love for the bean is just beginning, or a Waco visitor looking for the best brew, here are our 20 favorite Baylor-area coffee spots:
* Common Grounds is probably the best‑known Baylor‑area coffee shop, famous for its quintessential laid‑back, college‑hangout vibe. For students, this little shop is an everyday hangout spot that evokes a sense of home. With a big backyard covered in canopy trees (that doubles as a music venue), this place — now run by Baylor grads Blake and Kimberly Batson — is a study spot and hangout haven. For your first drink, try anything off their signature Cowboy menu; you won’t be disappointed. Their 8th Street location is the original and our favorite, but students can also hit up the on-campus CG location (in the SUB), or head off campus to their Woodway location.
* Varsity Coffee & Soda opened this summer inside the new Hurd Welcome Center. Visitors to campus making their initial check-in at the Hurd can also grab a drink to enjoy as they tour Baylor. Worth noting: Varsity is the only place you can get Peet’s Coffee within 100 miles of Waco. (And make sure to check out the gold art on the ceiling — it’s a map of downtown Waco!)
* Pinewood officially began in 2015 when Baylor grads Dylan Washington and John David Beard roasted their first batch of coffee in a garage. Since then, Pinewood has settled into its very own spot on Austin Avenue. Their shop serves up delicious house lattes made with homemade brown‑sugar syrup and specializes in affordable, delicious drip coffee. At Pinewood, you’ll find a warm, welcoming environment; there’s always a record spinning wonderful tunes, and the mid‑century vibes make you feel like you’re in a different time and place.
* Dichotomy got its start as a regular booth at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market in 2012, eventually moving to a permanent brick‑and‑mortar location in the heart of downtown. Sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee, Dichotomy offers sophisticated, top‑notch, craft coffee beverages in a space that feels elegant and big‑city. And take it from us — do yourself a favor and head on up to their rooftop patio for some of the best views of downtown Waco.
* Lighthouse Coffee, a newer downtown hangout, offers a variety of coffees from Olympia Coffee Roasters. It delivers a small and special space, with a warm feel and a little outside patio where you can take in the Waco skyline. It’s the perfect spot to break away from the grain.
* Be Kind Coffee, a Hispanic‑owned business, is located in the heart of Waco and specializes in vegan and gluten‑free options. But even more than selling coffee, the guys at Be Kind say their goal is “keep the kindness flowin’ and growin’.”
* Fabled Bookshop & Cafe is a two-for-one — a spot where you can grab both a coffee and something to read while you enjoy it! Nestled between downtown Waco’s mid‑to‑high rise buildings, Fabled’s menu is full of literary-inspired names, from Turkish Delight to a Hunny Pot Lotte to Muggle Mocha.
* Brû has perhaps the most unique location of all: inside a century‑old elevator in the historic Praetorian Building. Owned by Baylor alumni Peter and Summer Ellis, the coffee shop’s name comes from a nickname based on the French word for roastery. If you’re craving a classic European‑style, dark espresso, this is your place. Enjoy your brew (pun intended) that was roasted on a restored 120‑year‑old machine made in the late 1800s.
* World Cup Café may be a little further from campus, but their 7 a.m. cup of joe will do you wonders. And if you’re hungry, you can’t go wrong with any one of their Texas Toasters. The quality, locally sourced ingredients make for one heck of a breakfast sandwich. A part of Mission Waco, this cafe seeks to bring residents from North Waco together with middle‑income folks to revitalize our community.
* Heritage Coffee offers a bit of peace and calm beyond the hustle and bustle of the city. Though just 15 minutes from the Baylor campus, Heritage feels as though it is a continent away. The warm wood and leather seating that adorn the seating areas seem specifically crafted to partner with the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and welcome the visitor to stay longer than just to get your caffeine fix.
* Thrst Coffee has quickly grown from a family-owned coffee cart into a brick-and-mortar coffee shop. But they don’t just serve coffee; for Thrst, it’s about having a physical space where people can gather, connect, and create memories. It’s not uncommon to experience poetry nights, live music, and art galleries in their cozy space.
* Magnolia Press believes there is a worthwhile pause waiting for us in a good cup of coffee. Also included (and not to be missed) is their pastries. Whether you’re visiting Magnolia or in need of your daily cup of coffee, Magnolia Press is a go to. (And yes, this is yet one more Baylor alumni-owned coffee shop — part of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia.
* Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee. It’s an experience that’s changing the way people see other people, as the shop intentionally creates a path for people with disabilities to become more valued, accepted and included in the community. Not only will you get a cup of coffee, but you’ll walk away smiling after a stop at Bitty & Beau’s.
* For Keeps Coffee & Bakery provides a welcoming retreat in an intimate atmosphere, whether you’re seeking a place of respite, a space to connect with friends, or the perfect spot to focus. With an on‑site bakery and craft coffee creations, this new spot in town will give you a caffeine boost and a little oasis.
* Glory Bell Coffee is a warm, family-focused, friendly environment where people can come together and feel welcome. With its large warehouse space, this coffee shop — connected to Glory Bell Church — offers plenty of space to study or meet up with friends.
* Street Dog Cafe may be new to town, but their space is a familiar one. A local bakery and coffee shop nestled in the heart of East Waco, taking over the space that used to be Lula Jane’s, their mission is to bring awareness to help dogs get foster placements or adopted into their forever families. So bring your pup and enjoy a cup of coffee with some delicious, made-from-scratch baked goods.
* The Starbucks in the foyer of Moody Library is technically the largest college Starbucks in the nation, thanks to the enormous Allbritton Foyer seating area. But the real reason we love this location? Its location. This Starbucks is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of campus. You’ll catch your professors grading or a friend you haven’t seen in a while, all while enjoying Starbucks’ latest seasonal offering. (There’s also a Starbucks in the Baylor Sciences Building, for students on that side of campus.)
[BONUS: For those who don’t love coffee, there’s Cha Community. This neat little spot offers handcrafted, organic bubble tea — and man, is it good. Yet another Baylor alumni-owned shop, Devin Li and Jaja Chen pride themselves on retaining authentic Taiwanese culture in their product and atmosphere, and fostering their mission of creating diverse community through quality boba tea and Taiwanese food. For your first drink, try their Milkyway Thai Tea with 50% sweetness and Boba; you won’t regret it.]
Sic ’em, coffee aficionados!
You might also like:
* Where to eat if you’re visiting Baylor/Waco (and what to order) (Oct. 2022)
* Waco’s coffee scene largely brewed up by Baylor grads (Sept. 2018)