In case you didn't know it yet, Miami is paradise for coffee drinkers. Alright, maybe it's not heavy in the alt-bohemian-cafe sector (we're working on it) but we certainly do have plenty of places to grab the caffeinated beverage of your choice.
Wander around the city and you'll certainly run into one or more Cuban cafeterias, or even the occasional grocery store (looking at you, Sedanos) serving up piping hot shots of colada (Cuban espresso) and silky cafe con leche (Cuban coffee with milk).
If you want the best of the best of this genre of java, we suggest going to one of the more well-established ventanas (that's window) like Versailles in Little Havana or La Caridad in North Miami.
Then of course there are charming cafes at which to read a good book and relax while enjoying a nice, flavored iced coffee or a comforting warm cup of joe. Places like Lemoni Cafe in MiMo or SpecialTEA, which technically specializes in tea but certainly holds more than its own when it comes to all things coffee.
We also have some unexpected contenders for best coffee, like Lan Pan Asian Cafe, which undoubtedly serves up one of the best Thai coffees we've ever had.
Check out the full list to see who makes it out on top!
A legend within the sphere of Miami Beach, the News Cafe is always packed with happy customers. Patrons planning to dine should expect to wait for a table, as this cafe is set on a popular corner near South Beach. Because of its prime location on ocean Drive, News Cafe provides the perfect ambiance for a morning (or afternoon) of people watching. It's fairly easy to nick in for a quick cup of gourmet coffee (hot or iced), though, a common practice among the locals. The adjoining store sells books, newspapers and magazines that go well with a cup of joe. (305-538-6397)
Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop
Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop is a small Cuban cafetaria-style eatery feeding hearty breakfasts and lunch specials to the hungry working class citizens of Midtown and Wynwood. You'll find the usual morning staples like tostadas (buttered Cuban toast), empanadas (chicken, guava and cheese, and thensome), and cafe con leche (coffee with milk) along with interesting varieties like a sweet plantain omelet and cream cheese toast. Media noches (ham, pork, and cheese) and pan con lechon (roast pork with onion) sandwiches are served alongside BLTs and french fries. Try a batido (milkshake) while you're at it, in flavors like mamey, papaya, and trigo (wheat), that are part of Cuban tradition. (305-573-4681)
Lemoni Cafe Inc
A true hidden gem among local coffee houses, Lemoni Cafe serves up a range of classic panini and creative salads. It's their hot and cold coffee and tea selection, however, that keeps locals and vacationers alike coming back. On the menu, you'll find everything from Cuban cortaditos to macchiatos, iced lattes, and espresso shots. If you're feeling extra indulgent, add a dollop of whipped cream to your brew. Vegans are also welcome to add a little almond milk to their beverage, not to mention enjoy many of the sandwiches and other yummy foods on the menu, which is a blend of French Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Located in the vibrant Design District, Lemoni Cafe's European coffee selection alone is unparalleled in Miami. Drop in for a near perfect cup of coffee and a delightful dessert before or after hitting the town. (305-571-5080)
Lan Pan Asian Cafe
Chef Johnson Teh has got Asian food covered. Not only does he do Thai, Japanese and Chinese flavors in this pan-Asian cafe, he likes to add in Filipino, Taiwanese, Korean and a blend of original interpretations that Miamians can only label "yum." So while it's difficult to perhaps pinpoint all his influences in some dishes, such as the crispy almond snapper in the saffron-soba broth, it's also hard to really care. From appetizers like the wild mushroom salad with cilantro-ginger dressing to the Filipino rice bowl topped with pork, a sunny-side-up egg and pickles, it's a veritable bonanza of playful Asian flavors.
Complementing the fare, Teh also serves authentic bubble teas, house-made sodas, and a select sake and wine list. A sibling establishment in Coral Gables, Yuga, expands on the pan-Asian theme in a slightly more elegant way, and a food truck, Lan on the Go, has put the bubble teas on wheels. (305.661.8141)
Patrons swoon over deliciously authentic Cuban food and the dining room's opulence, complete with candelabras, gilt-framed mirrors and tuxedo-clad waiters. Still, everything's not as upscale as it sounds – the vibe is relaxed and dishes are happily affordable. Ropa vieja, made with zesty shredded beef, is a fine introduction to the bold cuisine, and arroz con pollo may forever change your opinion of chicken and rice.
Keep in mind that the restaurant stays open until very late, until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3:30 and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights respectively, making it the Jersey diner of Hialeah. Want to know what's going on politically in the exilio community, or maybe just in your Latino teenager's life? Grab a cafe cubano, a guava pastellito and have a seat, then keep both ears open. (305-444-0240)
La Caridad Coffee Shop
If you're searching for coffee shops that serve truly authentic Cuban coffee, look no further than La Caridad. A neighborhood staple in North Miami, this family owned and operated establishment draws lines of loyal locals throughout the day. In addition to one-of-a-kind java, La Caridad is also known for its extensive sandwich menu, available for dine-in or take-out and complete with delectable, affordable digs like the $4.50 steak sandwich or equally affordable croquetta sandwich. If you're running in for breakfast, you can easily stay under $5 with their $2.50 breakfast combo featuring 2 eggs any style, a tostada (that's Cuban bread and butter flattened and crisped to perfection), ham, and pork sausage. (305-651-7881)
For a quick breakfast or a leisurely meal, fuel up at this hip cafe and you'll be ready for a day of sightseeing, shopping, or business meetings. The cozy, comfortable room is perfect for perusing the morning paper or meeting up with friends. Or grab a table outside and relax as you enjoy an excellent cappuccino, espresso, or the favorite of the house, the Frappuccino Demetrio. This cool, creamy concoction is sure to start your day off right. Team up your beverage with a bagel, eggs, toast, various baked goods, or a tasty breakfast sandwich. The upbeat vibe offers a perfect pick-me-up any time of day. (305-448-4949)
SpecialTEA Lounge & Cafe
SpecialTEA Lounge is a must for discerning and selective loose-leaf tea and java drinkers. The organic fair-trade beans and extensive array of exotic teas served here promise to impress even the most scrupulous aficionados. Patrons can grab a cup of pressed coffee and dash or settle in for a piping mug of loose-leaf oolong tea perhaps accompanied by the renowned Carolina Dreamin' Panini. And speaking of paninis, SpecialTEA also offers a selection of scrumptious sandwiches and other goodies that will perfectly accompany your drink of choice. Vegetarians and vegans will also find plenty to eat at this veg-friendly establishment. Located near FIU South, you'll often find college students working from their laptops, playing one of the available board games with friends, or simply relaxing between classes. (305-554-8327)
This colorful cafe in the heart of Wynwood has been brewing small-batch coffee for a few years now and has literally taken over the coffee scene in Miami. From their location in the arts district, they've since expanded to serve coffee in Coconut Grove and Sunset Harbor. It's essentially the "hipster coffee spot" but don't worry, you don't need to recite the entire discography of Sunny Day Real Estate to get in (but if you can, you'll definitely fit right in). Feel free to ask your baristas questions and rely on them for recommendations: this place is much more than say, a Starbucks. They really know their coffee here. Check out their current offerings (also listed online) which at anytime may include Mulish (Ethiopia), Brisas del Mogoton (Nicaragua), and Fazenda Santa Lucia (Brazil). (305 677 3952)
Pasion del Cielo
Pasion del Cielo is a coffee lover's paradise. Located in the heart of Kendall (with locations in Coral Gables, South Miami, and Wynwood), this coffee house features nothing but high-quality brews alongside delicious sandwiches, pastries, and snacks. They feature an extensive array of coffee beans (Nicaraguan, Jamaican, Hawaiian, the list goes on...). First select the type of beverage you'd prefer (a latte, macchiato, you name it), then decide where you want your beans to be from, and they'll fix it up just the way you like. It's the type of place that swirls art into your drink, which is always a nice treat. Add a warm and rich empanada, a toasty bagel, or other treat to make it a meal. No pretension here--just straight up good coffee and good food and great service. Ambiance and flavor make Pasion la creme de la creme when it comes to Miami's coffee houses. ((786) 347-3507)
About Priscilla Blossom
Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.
She spent the bulk of the past decade taking trips on a whim, falling in love with and in such places as New York City, New Orleans, and a large portion of Nicaragua.
In 2011, she took off on her own and traveled around the U.S. via bus, bunking with strangers thanks to the power of CouchSurfing. She is currently writing a novel about this.
Read her words at PrisBlossom.com.
Read more about Priscilla Blossom here.
Connect with Priscilla via: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+