Devotees such as myself of the authentic, unique flavor that an espresso from Panther Coffee brings can see it as either a blessing or a curse; the former as a coffee lover's dream come true, the latter as the unfortunate ruining of every other coffee cup in town. I keep asking people to try it themselves; buy an espresso from Panther, take it to any other coffee shop in town and taste them one after the other. There is no food or beverage genre in town where the gap of flavor is so wide.
Living in Doral and working in Coral Gables makes my addiction to Panther coffee a weekend event to look forward to at best. Being a person that cannot function properly without coffee (yes, call me a junkie if you wish), makes my workweek routine somewhat uninspiring when it comes to caffeine, or one which I do not look forward to, sans my Panther fix.
I have often found myself wandering the streets of Coral Gables after lunch in hopes of encountering something vaguely similar and ... Nada. My enthusiasm was curbed after I discovered a place that actually served Panther coffee... but there is something about the machine, the grind, the water I guess, that yielded an uninspiring attempt.
I've always had to settle for the artificial, sour, flavorless options in the neighborhood.
And then one day I saw an instagram from @panthercoffee themselves speaking about their training of staff at newly opened "Cafe Curuba" on Almeria Avenue, image and words that had me in seconds at their front door. The espresso I had was virtually identical to the ones I enjoy on weekends, which led me to instantly think (and tweet and instagram) that "a miracle" had occurred on Almeria Avenue.
Little did I know that my thought had such a true, strong meaning. Founder and owner Debbie Rabinovici, a true barista trained at some of the most religious coffee spots of Brooklyn, New York City, suffered days after signing her lease an unexpected attack from a rare neurological disease that landed her in intensive care for months. The fact that she is today candidly and graciously tending her shop is nothing short of a miracle also.
Cafe Curuba doesn't just serve the only other "real" Panther espresso in town. It offers Counter Culture single origin drip coffee, various loose-leaf teas, and best of all, their home-baked pastries. Who doesn't like Guayaba? and who doesn't like a pan de bono? But only Cafe Curuba has put them together.... you have to go there and try it yourself.
Address: 2626 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Hours: Open Mon-Sat · 7:30 am – 7:00 pm