We had just walked into Glory Bell Coffee Shop – the largest coffee shop in Waco which clocks in at about 4,000 square feet of space. Yeah, it’s HUGE! It looks even bigger because of what appears to be at least 20 foot ceilings (probably higher) with lights that sparkle intermittently.
THE LARGEST COFFEE SHOP IN WACO
Not only is Glory Bell Coffee Shop the largest coffee shop in Waco, at 4,000 square feet, it actually rivals the largest Starbucks Coffee Shop in Texas (also 4,000 square feet) which is located in Houston at Hilton America’s!
In fact, I haven’t been able to find any official data other than the largest Starbucks coffee shop, so Glory Bell may even be tied for the title of the largest coffee shop in Texas in general!
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A SIREN AT THE COFFEE SHOP
I had just ordered both a hot and iced caramel latte with oat milk; one for me and one for my wife. The kids were extremely excited to go check out the kids space (a shipping container converted into a fun play area at the back of the coffee shop).
A few minutes later the wind picked up, the rain started pounding against the glass windows that form a near 180 degree wall around the coffee shop… and a faint siren could be heard coming from outside.
The siren became louder, and faded again… no, is that what I think it is…?
The tornado siren was going off in downtown Waco!
We contemplated leaving and started making our way towards the door.
But then we stopped.
A vehicle isn’t exactly a safe place to be in a storm, and if any place was going to be safe, it would probably be the building we’re already in that has a solid metal shipping container inside.
So, we all went to play in the kids play room for a little bit until the siren sounded off one last time. A short time later, we were in the clear.
BIG JOE LOUNGE CHAIRS AT THE COFFEE SHOP
The kids kept playing for some time while we (the parents) went and sat down in comfortable chairs with a “Big Joe” tag on the side.
They felt like bean bag chairs, but they held form a lot better than a bean bag chair.
They were also more comfortable.
We discovered a cord on the side of each chair, and what looked to be a power button on the top.
What’s the cord for?
Let’s find out! We plugged the USB plug (that was coming out of the chair) into the laptop and hit the power button on the chair.
This place just keeps getting cooler (yes, I am entertained by the the simple things in life 😂).
THE LATTE’S AT GLORY BELL COFFEE
I enjoy coffee drinks of all types including the cold brew, mocha, Americano, and cappuccino, but at the end of the day I’m more of a Latte type of person.
And that’s how I usually judge whether or not I like a particular coffee shops drinks.
I usually get an iced latte, and my wife usually gets a hot latte.
In this case, at Glory Bell coffee shop, we ordered a hot and iced version of the same drink – the Caramel Latte with Oat Milk (we usually go with oat milk because it gives the drink a fuller, creamier texture and taste vs other types of “milk”).
Now, any time a new coffee shop opens up we usually go with the expectation that it’s going to take the team a while to nail down a quality drink. And so we fully expect to get a just-ok-cup-of-coffee the first few times we go.
But not at Glory Bell Coffee Shop.
They must have been training for weeks and weeks leading up to their opening because both of our drinks were spot-on perfection. They were creamy, fully coffee flavored drinks with just enough sweetness from the touch of caramel.
If they can maintain consistency in the quality of their brews, then they’ll win a ton of business on that factor alone.
THE LAYOUT & AMBIENCE AT GLORY BELL COFFEE
But it’s not the drinks that really draw you in. It’s the environment. The ambience at Glory Bell Coffee really does a great job of telling you right away that you are invited to sit down and stay for a while.
It’s a wide open, 4,000 square foot space with a concrete floor and soaring 20+ foot ceilings that are decorated with beautiful, intermittently sparkling lights. It’s surrounded on two sides by massive windows giving you an impressive view of the city block on which the coffee shop sits in downtown Waco.
I’m not sure if Joanna Gaines has been there yet, but I imagine that she would be rather proud of the design quality that was put into this coffee shop. It rivals that of her own coffee shop (Magnolia Press Coffee Co) on the opposite side of downtown.
The Grand Entrance at Glory Bell
As you walk in the main entrance, the coffee bar greets you at the front with a simple, but elegantly designed lounge area just to your left.
There’s a staircase (and a wheelchair ramp) leading down from the upper level to the lower level where a second lounge area sits to your left – along with a podium that stretches the length of the wall.
I believe the podium is where live music, and other special events (have and will) take place.
Straight ahead is another seating area, and at the bottom of the stairs (to your immediate right) there’s another seating area with brown tables and black chairs, and quite a few outlets (in various places around the space) for those who may want to stay a while and work or study at Glory Bell.
Directions to Glory Bell Coffee:
The Most Family Friendly Coffee Shop in Waco
Last, but not least, to the far back right corner of this massive coffee shop is a shipping container that has been converted into a kids play room with all sorts of toys, books and other entertainment.
It’s not just a family friendly coffee shop. It’s a coffee shop designed to make families (including families with kids) feel right at home!
Just outside the kids play room is more seating (the Big Joe massage chairs) with more games for somewhat older kids or teens to play such as “Connect 4” (a huge, wooden version of it).
There really is nothing quite like it in Waco. In fact, I’ve visited a hundred or more coffee shops across the United States (the world, even), and I cannot say that I’ve ever seen anything even remotely close to what they’ve been able to create at Glory Bell Coffee Shop in Waco, Texas.
For as small of a city as Waco is – that’s quite the accomplishment!
THE FINAL WORD ON GLORY BELL COFFEE SHOP
It’s clear that the people who designed this coffee shop had community in mind. And not just anybody in the community… everybody. Including the very farmers that they source their beans from which are Fair Trade Certified coffee bean suppliers.
Locally, “everybody” also includes families – especially those with kids.
There are plenty of coffee shops that cater to business people, students, and commuters.
But it’s not every day that you come across a coffee shop that’s intentionally designed around community. A spaces that encourages you to bring the kids, sit down and play games, have a conversation, and maybe even stay for a Bible study, have devotional time, or listen to some live worship music on a Thursday evening.
And I’m happy to see a coffee shop like this open in downtown Waco. I hope that as they are successful in their endeavor that it encourages others to create similar places not just in Waco, but around the world.
We need more community – and Glory Bell Coffee Shop got it right in Waco, TX.