Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits – Waco, TX

Dichotomy is a downtown Waco classic. With a retro atmosphere, plenty of seating, and a unique layout, this coffee shop is a great place for studying, conversing with friends, or grabbing your 1st (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th) cup of coffee of the day.

Atmosphere: (3.5 out of 5)

It’s for sure a cool atmosphere, with black and white tiled floors, Edison lights, and a chalkboard wall, but it’s also unique in that the atmosphere shifts depending on the time of day. If there was ever an appropriate moment to say that “opposites attract,” it would be now. This is because the most interesting feature of Dichotomy is that it is a fully inclusive bar as well as a coffee shop. At 5 p.m., you notice the drastic shift in the atmosphere as the bar opens. It reminds us of the scene from The Great Gatsby when Gatsby turns around and holds up his flute of champagne. Lights. Camera. Action. Or should we say coffee. The coffee shops section remains open for late-night caffeine needs, but the lights dim and the conversations get louder. If you want to study at Dichotomy after 5, be sure to bring your own flashlight, or oh-so functional head lamp. Can we get an amen for efficiency? This is why we typically find Dichotomy a more suitable spot for conversation than for study. It also boasts a rooftop deck, and while the wifi can be iffy up top (an important measurement for any college student), the views of downtown are incredible, and you get to see the cool blue/white Waco mural on the side of the building next door.

Location: (4.5 out of 5)

We love Dichotomy’s location. Right in the middle of town, it is next to restaurants, shopping, and the charm of downtown Waco. It is also across the street from a huge parking lot, which is home to the Saturday morning Farmers Market. The only downside is that unless you find a parallel parking spot right in front, you have to cross the main downtown street to get from the parking lot to the shop. This also makes for an excellent detour if you are adventuring over to the legendary Silos of Magnolia Market located just down the road.

Drip//Espresso: (3 out of 5)

Even though it is automated, Dichotomy deserved recognition for being the only shop in Waco that does pour overs. It is the home of Apex Coffee Roasters, but also features several great guest roasters, including Madcap, Ritual, and Cuvee, and has quick service. Last time we visited, Ally got a cappuccino, and while the espresso was slightly over extracted, it had a good temperature and nice latte art. Natalie, who insists on naming her next coffee grinder “Mr. Aaron Burr,” opted for the v60. As we mentioned earlier, everything at Dichotomy uses the Modbar, whether it is for espresso or drip coffee. Natalie’s cup in particular was a single origin from Kenya that showcased fruity tasting notes with dark chocolate overtones.

Scope of Menu: (3 out of 5)

The coffee menu is fairly simplistic, but it does include many different varieties of tea. In addition to drip coffee and basic espresso drinks, there are very few speciality drinks and only mocha and vanilla flavored syrups. Overall, it isn’t missing anything major, but the variety won’t blow you away. It also offers limited breakfast items, usually just muffins (get the blueberry) and scones, but right outside the shop is a food truck-friendly location so you can probably find some good food nearby. It also offers an impressive display of coffee tools for purchase, from filters and kettles to chemexes and v60s. If you are feeling adventurous, be sure to checkout the 1885. This drink is a fusion of Dr. Pepper (since Waco is its original home) and espresso. Like we said, adventurous. Who knows, maybe you’re a “pepper.”

Pricing: (3 out of 5)

The coffee can get kinda expensive, at about $3 for a basic 10 oz drip. On average, most of their espresso drinks range in the $3.15-$4 range. It’s cheaper than a frappuccino at Starbucks, but is a little pricey to visit often.

Staff: (3 out of 5)

This staff is generally friendly, and prepared to answer any questions you might have. They are pretty chill, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the coffee.

Want the SparkNotes Version? Check out our highlights:

  • Combo bar and coffee shop

  • Only pour overs in Waco

  • Roof deck

  • Wide variety of coffee merch

  • Muffins, scones and breakfast tacos

  • Popular Food Truck Location

  • Free Wifi