It's walk-up windows rather than Miami coffee shops that promote the city's strong Cuban coffee culture—evidenced in Little Havana by morning and afternoon crowds outside any given cafeteria’s to-go counter waiting for a colada (a pot of sweetened espresso with enough sugar and caffeine to fuel an entire company). But where do you go when you want to meet someone for coffee or simply sit down to enjoy a pastry and a cup o’ Joe? (Or face the day after an evening hitting the Miami nightlife hard?) Time Out has rounded up the best coffee shops in Miami, from Coral Gables to downtown Miami and beyond, to check out before the afternoon slump sneaks up.
Best coffee shops in Miami
This Park West coffee shop is perhaps the most innovative in the city. Its coffee menu features a dozen variations ranging from the simple pour over to the ambitious cold brew/rosemary limeade blend that’s become a bit of a cult hit. You can grab and go at the sidewalk counter or take a seat inside the quiet dining room, a modern minimalist space with high ceilings and round tables. The kitchen doles out an assortment of simple yet perfect breakfast dishes. The French toast is brioche at peak fluffiness and the Runny & Everything (fried egg, bacon, sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato and garlic aioli between an everything brioche bun) is the solution to even the most heinous of hangovers.
Tourists and locals alike are responsible for the long lines that form outside this Wynwood coffee shop at any time of the day. Their famous cold brew—made using their proprietary espresso blend that’s been steeped overnight—is a perfectly balanced cup of coffee served over ice, and perhaps the only caffeinated drink to stand up the Miami heat. Everything about Panther feels cool and modern, from the iPad you use to pay to the cream and sugar bar that’s stocked with much more: soy milk, liquid turbinado sugar, etc. Panther’s other two outposts (in Coconut Grove and in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour neighborhood) may serve wine and beer and host monthly karaoke nights, but nothing feels quite like sipping and people watching at the original.
There’s more to Vice City Bean than its adorable bicycle coffee cart you might have seen at the Miami Flea and other local events. In fact, there’s an entire shop, with plenty of seating and magazines to flip through while you sip a frothy beverage. The coffee menu at Vice City is a mix of classical and new-wave, with lattes and cortados alongside matcha and nitro cold brew, which you can customize with house-made almond and macadamia nut milks. Pair your drinks with one of Vice City’s delicious baked goods, from croissants and cookies to empanadas and quiches.
Tinta y Café is where you go when you want a legitimate Cuban coffee but don’t feel like pushing your way to the front of a busy window, as is the case with most cafecito spots in Miami, or speak Spanish. The friendly, bilingual staff will happily serve up your favorite Cuban desserts and sandwiches (typical cafe fare like salads is also available) and there's plenty of seating to boot.
The West Miami spot’s storefront leaves much to be desired—it’s in a strip mall, after all. But once you get past the road noise and nondescript entrance, you’ll walk into the Narnia of coffee shops. Inside the modern space, it feels more like a gallery than a cozy coffee shop, with rows of art—including prints by street artist Atomiko—and ’zines made by locals. When it comes to coffee, White Rose keeps it close to home, serving Miami’s Per’La specialty roasters. Pick your favorite style (espresso, macchiato, etc.) from the giant mirror that doubles as a menu. Freshly made pastries and savory baked goods, such as quiches and empanadas, are also available. Check White Rose’s Instagram for news on frequent meetups and Friday’s weekly movie, which includes free popcorn.
Stopping in at Café Curuba and not ordering one of their homemade pastries would be like skipping the fries with your burger—the two just go together. A delicious pairing here would go something like this: a warm, Colombian pan de bono (Which you can now buy by the dozen!) and a cortado made using Counter Culture Coffee or a raw energy bar with a cold brew you’ve sweetened yourself with either the homemade milk syrup or homemade vanilla syrup. They’ve recently started serving a “counter brunch” on Sundays, a light spread of breakfast sandwiches and pastries intended for those on the go.
Brewing Buddha solves the dilemma of choosing between coffee and dessert after a meal. At the Pinecrest coffee shop, your standard caffeinated beverages are turned into eye-catching, indulgent drinks that do more than keep you awake. Take the marshmallow coconut cupcake cappuccino or the for-grownups-only Cinnamon Toast Crunch latte, made with house-made cinnamon whipped cream and topped with cereal (the drink was a recent monthly special, but we encourage you to ask for it anyway). On tap, you’ll find coconut cold brew, a hydrating and energizing coffee made with coconut water, and nitro brew. Owners, and brothers, Jordan and Cassidy Athos also keep the walls of the shop interesting, showcasing their original photography and other artwork.
If you thought a customized drink order at Starbucks was confusing, you haven’t tried your luck at Pasion del Cielo. You see, personalization goes beyond dark and light here. With every drink order your barista will ask you to choose the type of beans you’d like used, such as Colombian, Cuban or Brazilian. Not sure which to choose? Count on the friendly staff to give you a brief geography lesson in coffee production and offer suggestions, making the five seconds of panic you experience at the register are well worth the cup of coffee you’re about to receive.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andrew Giambarba
Cafe Demetrio is the quintessential coffee shop, where suits, students and artists alike feel right at home. Supporters of this family-owned business and Coral Gables institution rave about the great service, while serious coffee drinkers frequent the cafe for its selection of traditional drinks (chances are your cappuccino will have foam art) and delicious fare—the quiches in particular are remarkable. Though if it's ambiance you’re after, you have the option to sit out back in the shaded courtyard that feels like you’ve stepped onto the patio of an Italian villa.
Nothing upsets regulars like an inconsistent cup of coffee. But that’s seldom the case at Alaska Coffee Roasting Co., which uses the Sivetz Fluid Bed Coffee Roaster to ensure a smooth, clean taste every time. Founder Michael Gesser, who opened up in Miami three years ago after a successful 22-year run in Alaska, trusts the beans he imports from around the world to this special roasting method that skips on out filters altogether. Clearly a fan of machinery and specialized equipment, Gesser also imported a brick oven from Italy to make his famous, handcrafted breakfast pizzas.
Co-owned by Chris Johnson and Cristin and Ernesto Garces—both of whom are Colombian coffee growers—Eternity prides itself on sourcing its beans directly from farms in Corcordia just outside Medellin, Colombia, as well as other major coffee-producing regions in Ethiopia and Guatemala, among others. This sort of farm-direct trade is what allows the roasters to provide a true seed-to-cup experience, which is only made better by the low-key soundtrack and laid-back coffee-house vibe that encourage lingering—though the discounted parking upstairs helps, too. On weekends, you’ll find what Johnson calls “Java Junkies” sitting down to a game of Scrabble over a cup of nitrogen-infused cold brew (available on tap).
Even with hundreds of outposts around the world, Nespresso feels like a locals’ spot in tourist-laden Lincoln Road Mall. Pop in during the day to find people holding business meetings over designer espresso drinks and fancy patisserie, or tourists lingering over a cup of coffee at one of the patio tables—perfect for people watching on Lincoln Road. Like most other locations, this Nespresso boutique is sprawling, with indoor and outdoor seating options, a lunch menu and a counter that sells pods and equipment.
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Yon Garin