The NeighborhoodCoffee Sanctuary

Coffee first. Hustle later. 

And for those of us living in West Miami, that first order of business just got tastier and closer to home. Nestled in a bustling mini-plaza on 8th Street is the newest addition to the coffee community – White Rose Coffee.

Inspired by the simplicity and aroma of white roses, owner Javier Betancourt set out to model his newest business venture after the flowers’ symbolism. Betancourt’s idea for the shop first came to him when he tried Per’La coffee. “It was aromatic, complex, and most of all, delicious.” Soon after, the bar a few doors down from Ocho Placas Tattoo parlor closed. Betancourt took this as a sign to launch his long sought after community hangout spot. And in April, White Rose Coffee opened its doors to the neighborhood.

A quick glimpse at the shop’s white walls inspires a parallel to a blank canvas that you can alter and create over. Small bouquets of white roses and wildflowers lightly adorn the café’s tables. The shop’s space is airy and ample, offering seating area where one can engage in good conversation, focus on work, or indulge in a delectable cup of java all the while listening to an eclectic soundtrack of soul, psychedelic rock, and 90’s hip-hop.

The countertop is arranged with assortments of sweets ranging from coffee cakes, stuffed croissants, Danishes, cookies, and of course, meringuitos (sandwiches and a brunch menu are soon to come).

I sat down with Ocho Placas and White Rose owner Javier Betancourt to hear what he had to say about the shop’s opening.

What inspired the name for the Café?

I use white roses in a lot of my tattoos and artwork. For the launch party of my art book, THIS IS MEANT TO HURT YOU: VOL I, I placed white roses in the gallery rooms. I just really dig them thematically so it made sense from a branding perspective. Rose is also a great and often-overlooked flavor so we offer a rose simple syrup. Tastes fantastic in a latte.

How would you say White Rose Coffee is different from other cafe’s?

Mainly the location. West Miami and a lot of the surrounding neighborhoods have a Starbucks on every corner, or a bakery where you can get Cuban coffee and pastelitos. I wanted to create a space that offers different drink varieties using high quality coffee, and where people can gather for movie nights, game nights, art events, all the fun stuff that typically requires driving to Wynwood. That’s a long and unpleasant trek for a huge chunk of the city.

What do you say to those who feel it’s a tall order to introduce specialty coffee in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood?

When you think of our location, you think of Calle Ocho and all that’s implied with the name but after working here for over a decade, I can say with complete certainty that that’s not all there is to it.

“Pre-dominantly Hispanic” is a broad brush to paint with. I’m Hispanic. Many of my tattoo clients are Hispanic. The people from the neighborhoods I’m hoping to draw are also pre-dominantly Hispanic. Being Hispanic doesn’t preclude an interest in art, good coffee, video games, or indie movies.

Is a cortadito or colada item on the horizon?

You can get both at White Rose. If you want a colada ask for a Cubano. You can get either of those things anywhere else in this neighborhood, so I’m focused on other coffee varieties like our nitro cold brew, and specialty creations like the Dark & Dale we concocted recently for our ‘zine event. We made a mocktail Dark & Stormy with coffee, ginger beer, lime, vanilla, and cherry bitters.

What customers are you looking to attract? What’s your ideal costumer?

White Rose is for everybody but it was really inspired by my clientele and the practicality of having a place to hang out while waiting for your appointment. We want to be the spot for people that don’t want to have to drive half an hour or more to hang out somewhere that offers something different than what you’re used to finding in this part of town, or settle for the corporate behemoth just because there’s one on every corner and that’s all you’ve got.

I’d love to get kids in here that want to play Streetfighter or Magic: The Gathering. You don’t even have to be that into coffee, to be honest. We carry pastries and other goodies from local bakeries, artisan sodas, and we have kombucha on tap from a local brewer.

Describe the Café in four words.

Friendly neighborhood coffee joint.

Did your background as a tattoo artist influence the concept for the cafe?

Absolutely. I wanted a clean look that wasn’t too sterile. Having white walls and gallery lighting was a deliberate choice for art events.

It sounds like Friday nights (movie night) are the times to come. What’s the idea behind this event?

I’m not much for bars and clubs but I do get super excited to see a movie and if it’s great, I stay excited for days, telling everyone within earshot that they need to see it. Now I can just pick something, cue it up on the TV at the coffee shop, and let people see for themselves. I play everything from classics that I’ve loved for years, to some new weird flick I stumbled on. It’s just whatever I think would be rad and want to share with whoever is willing to stick around. Did I mention we have a popcorn machine?

If you’re in the neighborhood, of the neighborhood, or simply want to sip quality coffee and break from the monotony of coffee chains, check out White Rose Coffee to treat your palette.