On Saturday, White Rose Coffee hosted Happy Zine 3, a gathering of kooks from Miami’s blossoming DIY print culture. Dale Zine, print-bros who honor the integrity of underground zine-making better than the blue-chip art book distributors who tend to monopolize local zine fairs, organized the event. Thanks to the distance from the Biscayne corridor, this gathering was small. There was a manageable number of printmakers and artists slinging their weird and beautiful wares to mostly very sophisticated high school misfits. You really got to know people. With Uno decks and Battleship on the tables, plus a thoughtful playlist, it’s clear White Rose was made for this very low-key kind of afternoon.
White Rose brews coffee from homegrown specialty roasters Per’La coffee, served in a variety ways unfamiliar to me—-nitro cold brew, Kalita Wave pour-over, and affogato to name a few. From the friendliness of the White Rose baristas, though, you know they’d be glad to whip up an Abuela-standard cafecito. Despite canvases of graffiti artist Atomiko’s ubiquitous Orange Bowl mascot mounted on the walls, White Rose has that sterile but chill atmosphere refined in LA skate shops. The menu is even written in vinyl lettering on a tall mirror.
It’s possible White Rose Coffee signals a different kind of cultural life in West Miami, a municipality known to serve the commercial needs of Westchester. With two artifacts of Miami’s anglo-dominant past nearby (Frankie’s Pizza and Arbetter’s Hot Dogs) and storefront oddities like botanicas, Pentecostal churches, thrift stores, and hypnotists, this wouldn’t be the first municipal makeover. Who knows what’ll come of it?
Having worked up a hunger after a few losing rounds of Uno, I approached the counter for a snack. I order my favorite, a pastelito de carne. Noticing the ravenous eyes in my bloated face, the barista warns me it is vegan. “But,” she says, “it’s really good. I know what you’re thinking. Trust me.” Of course, I was skeptical. But I shit you not, this pastelito, made from the ingenious hands of Bloodless Vegan, tasted like the real thing. There’s a possible metaphor about what bittersweetness White Rose could bring to a place like West Miami. But never mind that right now, just get to White Rose Coffee soon.
Follow White Rose on Instagram and visit their storefront in West Miami for a solid cup of coffee.
WORDS BY: Michael Angel Martín
Michael Angel Martín was born and raised in Miami, FL. He earned his MFA at Florida International University. His interests include stringed instruments, Benedictine contemplation, and mall food. His poems can be found in or are forthcoming in Dappled Things, The Offbeat, Green Mountains Review, and Jai Alai Magazine. He works for O, Miami, an organization that connects people through poetry. Find his work here.