Today, caffeine fiends will head straight for the nearest ventanita to sip Cuban-made café con leches, cortaditos, and thimble-sized plastic cups of super-sweet espresso.
But what if you're more a French press or pour-over type of coffee drinker? Or if you only drink your cup of Joe when it comes from an ethically-sourced farm or is made using house-roasted beans?
And last, what if you require a plethora of flavor options, milk variations, and a seasonal latte (pumpkin spice, we're talking about you)? A few breakfast pastries or sandwiches could help, too.
Here are the ten best coffee shops the Magic City has to offer, listed in alphabetical order.
Alaska Coffee Roasting13130 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami
alaskacoffeeroasting.com In 1993, Alaska Coffee Roasting owner Michael Gesser founded his business in Fairbanks, Alaska. The coffeehouse, which finishes its own fresh beans in a Sivitz small-batch roaster, opened a second location as far from the flagship as possible — in North Miami. The philosophy, however, remains the same. Coffee beans from the far corners of the Earth — think Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Nicaragua — are hand-selected and roasted on-premises. What results is a taste of what Gesser calls "the wine of the tropics," just another way to say a beautiful cup of coffee for a fair price.
All Day1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami
alldaymia.com Camila Ramos' All Day closed for an extended time during the pandemic but reopened this spring to the delight of Miamians who seek out the café's combination of coffee and community. Choose a single-origin pour-over, nitro brew or spring for the special drink of the day. All Day also offers a good selection of breakfast and lunch items, as well as wine and beer.
Eternity Coffee Roasters117 SE Second Ave., Miami
eternitycoffeeroasters.comIf you love java, you owe it to yourself to visit Eternity Coffee Roasters. The beans here come with dossiers and pedigrees from small farms in Colombia, Kenya, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. There are also pastries from Zak the Baker. The downtown location makes it easy to stop in for cup if you work or study in the area — especially with validated parking in the garage upstairs. Free Wi-Fi and a selection of sandwiches make you want to linger. You can also take beans home to experience Eternity every day.
House of Per'La2626 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
drinkperla.comMiami coffee roaster Per'La Specialty Roasters runs this Coral Gables café that pours espressos, lattes, and other coffee drinks made with Per'La's exclusive beans roasted right here in Miami. Instead of the usual mass-produced muffin or nuked egg sandwich, the food selection includes freshly-baked croissants, pastries, and other freshly-made goodies.
La Colada Gourmet1518 SW Eighth St., Miami
instagram.com/lacoladagourmet When a trip to Versailles seems a bit too obvious, try La Colada Gourmet instead. This Little Havana coffee shop is also known as “The House of Cuban Coffee,” and offers up a dizzying array of Cuban classics with a twist. Whether it's a cortadito, cafecito, or café con leche — or something from the long list of fun-flavored, Frappuccino-inspired drinks — there's always something new to try. The tiny spot is best known for its crafty and colorful coffee creations, some even spiked with liquor. Try the tres leches coffee for dessert in a glass. Heading out for a night on the town? Try the "Capablanca" (Cuban espresso with Baileys) or "Café Bom Bom Borracho" (Cuban espresso with rum and sweetened with condensed milk). The shop also sells beans, cafeteras, and cups.
Nespresso Cafe1105 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach
nespresso.comIs it a café or a shop selling high-end, celebrity-endorsed espresso machines? It's both. At the front of this futuristic, rainbow-colored shop, espresso and coffee drinks are served, along with a limited and expensive light-fare menu. Skip the food and go straight for the coffee. Choose from more than a dozen crus with notes such as spicy, floral, woody, malt, cereal, and honey. You'd almost think you were perusing a wine list with all the talk of terroir, blends, and origins, but the folks at Nespresso want you to become a pod person. The entire café seems like a pitch to get you to buy one of their Euro-style machines, which brew a perfect cup of espresso from exclusive pods.
Neverland Coffee Bar17830 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach
neverlandcoffeebar.com Escape the ordinary with this artisanal coffee shop that offers up a plethora of traditional — and not so familiar — beverages. The shop whips up espressos, lattes, macchiatos, and hot chocolate, along with hot and cold herbal teas. On those particularly hot and steamy days, head here for an iced coffee, made wi 24-hour steeped coffee and cocoa beans blended with sweetened milk that's hand-shaken and poured over fist-sized ice cubes into a Mason jar. Or warm up with the hot golden coffee, espresso paired with a choice of almond or coconut milk and accented with turmeric, cinnamon, coconut oil, and ghee and sweetened with brown sugar and condensed milk. A rather substantial menu includes the house-made Tinker Bell waffle served with fresh fruit, syrup, and a sprinkle of pixie dust; truffle croissant stuffed with truffle oil-infused mushrooms, sweet onions, and mozzarella; or the golden tater tots, two eggs paired with homemade tater tots, kosher-style bacon, avocado, arugula, and aioli.
Panther CoffeeVarious locations
panthercoffee.com Owners Joel and Leticia Pollock talk about their coffees like the brews were their children. Each one has its own story, most beginning with "Once upon a time, on a little farm in Brazil or Peru, a coffee plant was born." The Pollocks hand-select the beans on buying trips and custom-roast them. Panther Coffee is sold not only at the shop but also at discerning restaurants around Miami. As one of the area's first local roasters, the shop has since grown to multiple locations in Coconut Grove, Wynwood, South Beach, Little Haiti, and the MiMo District, making Panther Miami's hometown coffee company.
Suite Habana Café2609 N. Miami Ave., Miami
suite-habana-cafe.myshopify.com Suite Habana Café founder Nayelis Delisle says one of her fondest memories of Cuba was watching as her grandmother prepared cafecito sweetened with brown sugar cane for neighbors and friends. Today, she's modeled her Miami coffee shop as her own paladar — the name for restaurants found inside private residences in Cuba. Her mission is to share authentic Cuban coffee culture with Miami. Here, you won't find the overly sweet cafecitos the Magic City ventanitas are known for. Instead, the house roast offers a full-bodied, smooth, and well-balanced flavor profile to create the perfect café con leche, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more. Married with a delicate balance of milk or sugar, each variation allows the house roast to shine. Bags are also available to take home.
Vice City Bean1657 N. Miami Ave., Miami
vicecitybean.com This industrial-looking coffee shop, located at the Filling Station Lofts, is the project of Roland and Eva Baker, who turned their coffee obsession into a place where java lovers can share their passion. Featuring Madcap Coffee out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the store offers espressos, pour-overs, and cortados. Or try a latte with the shop's house-made almond, oat, or other specialty nut milks for a change of pace. The shop also serves vegan and vegetarian snacks, pastries, and specialty dog treats for your four-legged friends.