When I first came to Miami this time last year, one name was on everyone’s lips when it came to speciality coffee: Panther Coffee. From its home in Wynwood, where all the coffee’s roasted on-site, it had grown to a chain of three shops, all in Miami (although since my visit, another three branches have opened, including two in the last month!). Sadly I wasn’t in Miami for long last time, so only had the chance to visit the original in Wynwood.
However, on my return, I was determine to explore, so as I drove into Miami from the Everglades last night, I made a detour to visit the Coconut Grove branch. Very different in look and feel to Wynwood, it’s long and thin, with the counter on the right.
You’ll find all the usual Panther Coffee goodies here, with a choice between the East and West Coast espresso blends, plus multiple single-origins on filter, with Chemex or Clever Dripper if you’re prepared to wait, or bulk-brew if you’re not. There’s also cold brew and a collection of soft drinks as well as some craft beer. This is all rounded off with a limited selection of ready-made sandwiches and cakes/cookies.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest settlement, is south of the centre on the shores of Biscayne Bay. It’s a pleasant (and very green) neighbourhood, with lots of sidewalk cafes and worth a visit in its own right, even if it’s not high on the tourist hit-list. Add in a branch of Panther Coffee, though, and it’s a must-visit destination for the coffee connoisseur.
Opening in May 2015, you’ll find Panther Coffee in a small parade of shops at the north-eastern end of Main Highway, by the junction with Grand Avenue/McFarlane Road. Long and thin, it has a very different character from the original in Wynwood. The entire front is occupied by a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling window, a glass door inset towards right. Despite all this glass, Panther’s west-facing aspect means that it needs all the light it can get, particularly towards the back, where multiple light bulbs come into their own.
There’s a small outdoor seating area, slight set back from the busy street and screened off from Panther’s neighbours by tall potted plants. There’s a concrete bench on the right (with no tables, so as not to impede access to the door) while on the left, a similar bench has a couple of tables. The bulk of the seating is inside, starting with a three-person window-bar to the left of the door. A long, padded bench runs the length of the left-hand wall, seven pairs of small stools serving as coffee tables. The counter runs the length of the right-hand side, which is where you’ll find the remaining seating. The front of the counter has a curving wooden top, reminding me of a boardwalk, which projects out nicely to accommodate seven low bar stools.
You order at the till, which is at the back on the right, past the espresso machine, a two-group La Marzocco, and its grinders. There’s a small merchandising/retail section on the back wall to your left where you can buy Panther Coffee branded t-shirts and rucksacks, as well as the full range of Panther’s beans. There’s also a shelf along the left-hand wall with more coffee-making kit for sale.
Panther offers two espresso blends, the more traditional East Coast blend and the more adventurous West Coast blend, which is lighter and more acidic. I tried them side-by-side when I visited Wynwood and loved them both. Ideally, I should have sampled one of the many single-origin filter coffees which are available through the Clever Dripper (immersive) or Chemex (pour-over). However, I hadn’t had a decent espresso-based drink for a week, so that swung things back to a choice between the East and West coasts, a choice made even easier by the temporary unavailability of a second grinder, which had removed the West Coast blend from the menu.
That only left a choice of with or without milk and since I’d tried the West Coast as an espresso last time, I went for a milk-based drink this time. I was tempted by a cappuccino (a pleasing 6oz in size) but decided on a cortado instead, which turned out to be the perfect ratio of coffee to milk. The East Coast blend is a lovely, classic coffee in milk: rich and with a chocolately taste, there’s a hint of acidity that lifts it above the everyday. Definitely worth the detour!
December 2018: Panther Coffee, Coconut Grove was a runner-up for the 2018 Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
|3407 MAIN HIGHWAY • MIAMI • FL 33133 • USA|
|Monday||07:00 – 21:00||Roaster||Panther Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 21:00||Seating||Counter, Window-bar, Benches, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 21:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 21:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 21:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 21:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||07:00 – 21:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||21st January 2018|
You can also see what local coffee blooger, Jonathan of South Florida Coffee, made of Panther Coffee.
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