Panther Coffee has brought West Coast coffee culture and the inviting aroma of freshly roasted beans to Miami. It’s hard to miss the coffee house with colorfully painted walls and orange patio chairs in graffiti-splashed Wynwood. Inside, the industrial space percolates with camaraderie as neighborhood artists and professionals stop in for a caffeine fix.
Owner Joel Pollock was working as a roaster in Portland, Ore., when he met his wife, Leticia, at a coffee convention in Minneapolis. She grew up in the coffee region of Serra da Mantiquera in Brazil, and was employed by an Italian espresso machine company. They moved to Miami two years ago after noticing on a holiday here that we didn’t have a coffee house with an in-house roaster.
Joel roasts in a German-cast iron Perfekt drum machine built in 1927. It sits near stacks of huge burlap bags filled with green coffee beans, mostly single origin from South and Central America and Africa. He pours 20 pounds into the funnel-shaped hopper, where they tumble around in the combustion box as he controls the heat using a needle valve attached to the gas line. When the beans expand, turn brown and start to crack, they are released down a chute to a cooling tray and bagged or transferred to coffee grinders at the counter.
The selection of small-batch beans changes every few months. For a coffee drink select a bean and then the method of brewing: French press, Clever coffee pot dripper, Japanese Hario V60 ceramic filter or glass siphon vacuum pot. On a recent visit there were beans from farms in Peru, Brazil and Honduras, each with a different taste, texture and finish, from velvety and sweet to clean with floral notes.
There’s iced latte, espresso macchiato with a puff of foam and sweetened cortadito with a shot of steamed milk to go with a gourmet doughnut, scone or vanilla bun with chocolate-covered bacon. Miami coffee fanatics can now attain java nirvana.