Meet Leticia Pollock, co-founder of Panther Coffee

đź“· Photo courtesy of Panther Coffee

Hi, Leticia! Who are you and what do you do?

I’m mostly known for co-founding Panther Coffee, where we focus on directly sourcing, roasting, distributing, and preparing some of the best coffees in the world.

I was born and raised in Brazil, where I started my career working with wine, coffee, and gastronomy. As a young adult, I moved to Portland, OR, where I treasured further immersing myself in the wine and coffee industry! In Oregon, my now-husband and business partner Joel married and started planning our business.

In 2009, we visited Miami on vacation, fell in love with it, and decided that’s where we’d create Panther Coffee. Since then, Panther Coffee and its team have grown organically, expanding to include not just coffee shops and roasteries in Miami and Traverse City, MI, but also supplying hundreds of other companies with our coffee.

My other projects include a lovely organic tea company called River, mentoring and supporting other entrepreneurs, (especially start-ups), and some consulting and teaching from time to time. Lately, I’ve been working on our New York expansion, which we opened earlier this month in the Shopify NY building in SoHo.

But work talk aside, being a mother to Lucy is genuinely my favorite thing! There is so much we love to do as a family; she is just a dream come true.

What neighborhood(s) are you reppin’?

I’ve called many parts of South Florida home, but these days, you’ll mostly find me in the neighborhoods where our stores are located. This includes Wynwood, Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, MiMo, Brickell, and of course, our headquarters in Little Haiti. I love how each area has its unique vibe, fun regulars, and delicious local flavors.

What brings you most alive about the 305?

I love how the 305 brims with energy. Also, the Peruvian cuisine here is top-notch, and getting to speak Portuguese with people every now and then is pretty sweet. Miami’s sunshine — especially in the winter — adds to the excitement, making every day feel vibrant and full of color.

What’s your favorite Miami memory?

My favorite Miami memory, without a doubt, is the birth of my daughter. It was a moment that transformed my life personally and deepened my connection to this city. When I think of Miami now, it is more than a backdrop to my life; it is an integral part of my family’s story.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is a tough question! I could never choose just one meal or restaurant!

I’ll start with a Bulletproof Manhattan and the shrimp toast from Michael’s Genuine. Also, the fried chicken at Le Chick — mmm… that spicy maple! For dessert, Key Lime Pie! My favorites come from Cindy Lou and Fireman Derek.

But honestly, this barely scratches the surface! I love the Lomo Saltado and the Aji de Gallina from Ceviche 105. Love the Cuban sandwich from Sanguich de Miami, the croquetas de jamon from Bocadoro. And don’t get me started on Mignonette‘s lobster roll or caviar service. Or Japanese from Uchi!

The Miami food scene is just too awesome. I could go for another ten pages.

What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?

I’m mainly active on social media through @panthercoffee and @riverorganics, so I don’t spend much time browsing for personal use. But come to think of it, I always have fun with the posts and stories from Cari Garcia at @fatgirlhedonist.

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Practice kindness, both on the road and in your daily interactions. Miami’s a vibrant adventure, and a little patience and kindness can truly uplift everyone’s day. Also, make it a point to visit both your favorite local businesses and the new ones. They’re the heartbeat of our city, and though they might not always have the loudest voice in advertising, they’re always there, enriching our community.

How does Miami help you do what you do or influence your work?

In Miami, we’re surrounded by folks from some of the world’s best coffee-growing regions, whether they are visiting or have family or close friends who grow coffee. This mix naturally has led to great connections with new coffee providers. Having that close contact with new coffee growers so often visiting the shops is special and unique compared to other coffee scenes in the country. Also, can’t beat the location for travel to coffee lands!

If there was one thing you could change, address, etc. about Miami, what would it be?

One change we must address in Miami is significantly improving workforce housing availability. Our city thrives on its diverse and dynamic community, yet there’s a gap in housing for those who earn too much for subsidies but still struggle with high living costs. Developing more workforce housing options would ensure that Miami remains accessible and inclusive for all who contribute to its unique energy and culture.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

I’m always looking forward to fun new experiences!

This year, I’m especially excited about our just-opened Panther Coffee pop-up shop in New York City. When we first started Panther Coffee in 2010 in Miami, some of our first wholesale roasting was for friends and clients there. So, opening in New York feels almost like a homecoming to us.

Everyone is invited to visit every Tuesday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 131 Greene Street in SoHo, NY.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Locals to Know. Know someone who ought to be featured or would like to be featured yourself? Reach out by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2024.” If chosen, you might just see yourself or a friend in a future newsletter.