Judging Java: Waffles Incaffeinated

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

4.5/5 Globes

Just a short walk from campus sits the ultimate Point Park student breakfast spot: Waffles Incaffeinated. Their food is delicious and are some of the best waffles I’ve ever had in my entire life (only ever topped by the Geppetto Cafe in Lawrenceville and my mother’s homemade). They also have decent sides (their eggs are fantastic, and they have great home fries). However, this isn’t a food review, this is a coffee review. So let’s get onto their coffee.

First of all, Waffles Incaffeinated offers unlimited regular black coffee. It’s good coffee, but it comes served in a very small cup. That’s not that big of a deal because you can get unlimited refills, but it can be hard to properly ratio the amount of coffee that you end up drinking because two cups there is the equivalent of less than one cup of coffee that you would be drinking if you went to Starbucks. Their coffee is fine, for the most part. It’s relatively inoffensive, but at the same time lacks any sort of distinction beyond “coffee.” And that’s fine. Sometimes that’s all you need. And part of the reason that that’s all you need in this instance is because I have no reason to ever actually order their black coffee, because Waffles Incaffeinated has a signature latte, and it’s fantastic.

Waffles Incaffeinated’s Signature Latte is a unique blend of espresso, hazelnut, vanilla and maple flavors, topped with foam and cinnamon. The flavors all blend together to create a unique and remarkable flavor profile. The real MVP of the Waffles Incaffeinated Signature Latte, however, is the foam and cinnamon. Every sip is layered with texture and flavor that most other lattes couldn’t even dream of. The crux of what makes the Waffles Incaffeinated Signature Latte so good is the foam, but therein lies the problem: whenever you start to run out of foam, the latte becomes nothing more than a mediocre flavored espresso. Mediocre isn’t even the best way to refer to it, because it’s not mediocre, it’s more like the astonishing quality of the foam, when removed from the equation, results in the latte feeling little more than any old latte.

There is also a much larger problem with Waffles Incaffeinated’s Signature Latte: the cost. The drink will run you $4.95 for a 10-ounce drink, which doesn’t seem that bad, but 10 ounces is not as big of a drink as it sounds, especially at that price point. By comparison, a 16-ounce Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is also $4.95. Considering the fact that you’re also definitely going to be spending money on a waffle as well, that’s a lot of money to be spending on a latte, especially for a college student—and especially considering that, unlike the regular coffee, there are no refills. That’s completely understandable, but if you want your caffeine consumption to live up to the restaurant’s name you’re probably going to have to order another cup.

Cost isn’t necessarily an end all be all, however, the high cost and lack of refills combined with some minor blending issues stemming from the possibility of running out of foam are holding this cup back. When I was reviewing this, I was shocked because for a brief moment I thought that I might be giving a second cup of coffee five Globes out of five, but unfortunately Waffles Incaffeinated has some minor things to address before I can call their latte perfect.