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Coffee Culture: 5 Local Businesses To Support In San Marcos

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TX State chapter.

Texas State Bobcats can usually be spotted with a caffeinated beverage, especially during exam season. Students should skip the long lines at Starbucks and explore these five local coffee shops in San Marcos. Coffee shops are the perfect place to study, chat, or meet a new friend, and who doesn’t love a sweet treat?

  1. Wake the Dead

This local favorite has been in business for 16 years and is the perfect study spot for exams. Not only does it have a cozy atmosphere, the shop is well known by locals as an established and personality-filled coffee spot. 

Julie Balkman, owner of Wake the Dead, says that her baristas have been employed for as long as 16 years and are professionals at the espresso machines. 

“When I opened, it was my goal to make sure that every type of person in the world was accepted to be there,” Balkman said. “Even people that don’t agree with each other or whatever; as long as they’re getting along, they can hang out there.”

I have been to Wake the Dead many times as a study spot. They make traditional coffees with more adult flavors, not fancy frappuccinos. It’s a cute spot with free wifi, low lighting, and board games. The cafe also is very supportive of local artists and displays their art throughout the shop. All together this is my favorite spot in San Marcos. 

  1. The Coffee Bar

If you are looking for an aesthetic photo spot, look no further than The Coffee Bar. This cafe is located on the Square, and is a good place to stop by if you are in need of a spot to hide away for the day. 

What makes The Coffee Bar unique is their dedication to customer service and their local customers. They have monthly specialty drinks and plenty of GF pastry options. I love that they will give customers a discount if they bring their own cup.

  1. Cafe Cortado 

This coffee truck opened in May and has already made waves with San Marcos coffee lovers. What is unique about Cafe Cortado is the European style of coffee, which is a different blend than anything offered right now.

The Mediterranean style of coffee involves a stronger espresso flavor with a hint of milk added. A cortado, originating from Spain, is made by “cutting” the espresso with a small amount of milk. The term “cortado” translates to “cut” in Spanish, referring to the way the espresso is balanced with milk.

“So, this little trailer is very similar to what you would find walking down the street in Spain,” owner Krendi Harmon said. “It’s a place where you can just stop along your way, grab a coffee while you’re out and about, and keep going.”

Harmon has already garnered nearly 500 followers on Instagram. She hopes that the shop will be busier in the fall, when Bobcats move back for the new semester. 

I visited the truck and got a pistachio latte. The owner is happy to customize your drink however you prefer. I told her I prefer my drink sweet, so she went out of her way to recommend me a latte and made it especially for me.

  1. On The Grind

On The Grind recently opened on Aquarena Springs and has quickly become my go-to coffee spot. It’s a quick-service drive-through spot with reasonable prices. I recommend the Iced Cinnabomb, which is a sweet latte drink that kind of tastes like Starbucks’ Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Espresso. The shop offers deals with “buy one, get one,” and extra stamps on certain days. On The Grind offers a punch card, and with the purchase of 10 drinks, you get a free drink of any size – which I have shamelessly earned.

  1. Mochas and Javas 

Mochas and Javas is best known for its atmosphere and variety of drinks. I would recommend coming here to meet a friend or a date. The coffee and drinks are good, but not unique. It’s a fun spot to go to, because it’s spacious and they always play good music.

Cara Cervenka

TX State '26

Cara Cervenka is a journalism major at Texas State University. She writes for the University newspaper, The University Star, in the Life & Arts section, as well as serving as the Junior Editor of the TXST Chapter of Her Campus. She has an unwavering love for iced coffee, live music, Taylor Swift and reading!