After recently moving into its own building on Austin Ave., Pinewood Coffee Bar has quickly become one of our favorite coffee spots in Waco! It’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of campus and relax with a great cup of coffee.
Atmosphere: (5 out of 5)
Minimalist and organic, with exposed white brick and a giant wooden bar, you know from the second you walk in that the coffee is the main focus. The darker wood is balanced out with floor-to-ceiling windows, which bring a natural light and airy feel to the shop. Concrete floors and Edison lights round out the building by making it a simultaneously inviting and distraction-free space. However, while the decorations are minimal, it makes up for the lack of visual noise with its unique music choices. The record player and numerous vinyl records add to the authentic vibe, but the volume of the music may make it difficult to concentrate if you’re trying to study. There is limited seating on the sides, with several booths and tables lining the walls, so be sure to go during off-hours to get a prime spot. That being said, I think Pinewood has the best outlet-to-table ratio I’ve seen in Waco. Every table is within arm’s reach from a plug, so the combined power of coffee and battery life makes this a great spot for long-term work.
Parking/Location (5 out of 5)
Pinewood has such a unique concept behind their location choice. Sitting on the border of downtown Waco and Castle Heights, this cute shop offers a place to meet that is convenient for students, busy professionals, and families alike. For students, getting away from campus can be a nice break, and can either promote productivity, or help cultivate conversational community. To the professional, this groovy spot opens up a new environment to have the meeting that no one feels like going into the office for, or a lively place for a job interview. If you are driving from downtown via Austin Ave, you will see their quaint, white brick building with adequate parking. From the moment you arrive, the tone is set, and a feeling of welcomeness invites you in (it also helps that it smells like coffee as you walk towards the door). If you cannot find parking immediately to the sides and front of the building, there is a joint parking lot that customers are welcome to park in, as well as an empty space just across the street.
Pro Tip: If you come here often, you will notice that the parking lot tends to tell you whether or not there is a table inside, or a spot at the bar.
Drip Coffee//Espresso (4 out of 5)
Pinewood has sufficiently refined its craft through the art of roasting and serving quality coffee. In the purest sense, Pinewood uses the tools they have to maintain adequate attention to their parameters, and serve good coffee consistently. With its polished roasting techniques and well-trained baristas, Pinewood routinely delivers a satisfactory product. Every day, there are two drip offerings- a house drip, known as the Rover Blend (a 50/50 split, fully washed Colombian and Ethiopian coffee), and one of several single origins. Also on a rotating schedule is their single-origin espresso. On a typical day, you will find that Pinewood is one of the best places in Waco to grab a “Ooooo..that’s-the-spot” hitting espresso, a heart-warming cortado, or the ever-classic cappuccino. If you are more of a “latte person”, be sure to ask about their house specialty. Any way you go, you are sure to be delighted.
Pro Tip: If you want to try a great single origin, look for anything from Ethiopia.
Scope of Menu (4 out of 5)
Loyal as always to its minimalistic roots, Pinewood’s coffee menu is limited in terms of specialty drinks and stays true to the traditional coffee drinks. It has a basic craft coffee menu, with classics like macchiatos, cortados, and cappuccinos. It has one latte, and syrup can be added for an additional cost. The variety comes from their selection of teas. They offer at least 5 different types of tea from Art of Tea in addition to specialty teas such as chai and turmeric. Rather than providing an overly wide range of drinks, Pinewood has become an expert in the traditional. From roasting their own coffee to acquiring the best teas they can find, what they may seem to lack in variety is more than made up for by the quality found in every drink. They have a limited food menu, and it is a prime spot for popular food trucks like Milos and Bare Bucha. They also sell unique Pinewood T-shirts and mugs, bags of coffee and tea, and sometimes you can even find artisan goods made by local Waco residents.
Pricing (4 out of 5)
Pinewood is fairly priced, and does not break the bank if you want to make this your “second home.” Ranging from a $2.50 drip to a $4 latte, you can come in expecting to need no more than $5. Or, if you are feeling extra happy, bring a $10 bill and grab you and a friend that midweek pick-me-up.
Staff Interaction (5 out of 5)
Much like the rest of your experience here, you will find the Pinewood baristas to be joyful, and willing to help answer your questions. Do not be surprised if you feel like you have a whole new crew of friends when you leave. What can we say, the staff is pretty great!
Have you visited Pinewood? Let us know about your experience in the comments!