The Thirty A Review March 2021

t r e a t s

Panama City Coffee Co. b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t

W hile economic depressions and times of national crises would hardly be the most ideal moment to start a business, it was during the height of the COVID quarantine in 2020 that Daniel Pratt decided to seize the day and launch something he’d been dreaming of: A grassroots company that would “bring life back to the community.” In a way, it all began in October 2018, when Hurricane Michael destroyed the Panama City area and left the surrounding communities feeling broken and lost. Driving around two years later, Pratt was struck by the amount of damage still left behind. It was seeing that devastation, those remaining ravages, that inspired him and soon became an epiphany for something creative in a time when people needed to be given a reason to smile. “I went to sleep with a burden to do something meaningful and woke up with an idea: ‘From Panama, For Panama’,” says Pratt. “My grandmother is from the country of Panama; so, I’m familiar with their culture and, most importantly, their delicious COFFEE! I thought that serving fantastic coffee in a brand-new way was exactly was needed to bring back some of the much- needed life in our communities.” From that idea came the plan for Panama

Sourcing all their beans from major distributors based in the country of Panama, Panama City Coffee Co. has hopes of changing their practices to establish direct and fair trade with the farmers of Panama in the future. “COVID has placed travel restrictions on getting into the country, but we plan that once the borders open back up, we can work directly with the farmers rather than going through the major distributors.” He also envisions brick-and-mortar locations to be somewhere in the future. “I’ve got lots of ideas,” he says with bright eyes full of excitement. “More bikes, coffee shops, wedding catering, airport shops… But sincerely, I just want people to have a meaningful experience any time they encounter the Panama City Coffee Co. brand. The news paints the picture that the world is looking grim and dark, but my experience has been the opposite. People are caring and genuine, generous and servant hearted. I want every person that encounters my company on a bike or in one of my future coffee shops to leave knowing they had a meaningful human interaction, and that the world does, indeed, have good, loving people in it. As long as that is being accomplished, Panama City Coffee Co. will grow in whatever capacity it needs.” Clearly, there’s more to this little coffee company than just coffee, and people can sense that. It could well be said to be the secret to his success, even in times such as these. “I think what people love best is the experience they get when they buy coffee from me on the bike,” Pratt posits. “I try to genuinely have a meaningful

Daniel Pratt

City Coffee Co., using a unique business model that takes the notion of mobility to a whole new level. Rather than setting up shop in a food truck or even a coffee cart, Pratt has done something even more novel: employing bicycles to literally pedal his wares to his customers. “We get our coffee exclusively from Panama, roast it ourselves locally, and then sell the beans online or as nitro cold brew from a bicycle,” Pratt explains of his process, which is amazingly simple and focused. “People are always in awe when they first see a bicycle selling nitro coffee!” A musician by trade, Pratt has long seen a correlation between coffee and music. Having grown up in DC, he saw no end of coffee houses that hosted open mic nights and small hometown concerts. “There was one particular coffee shop called Jammin’ Java that always had amazing musical acts come through. I remember thinking that coffee and music go together, hand-in-hand.” And while he might not have loved his first sip, he began drinking black coffee at the age of 13. “I forced myself to drink it until I liked it!” he laughs. “I pretty much never looked back after that.”

conversation with everyone that comes by. Some days, it can be lonely just sitting on the bike all day. Sometimes, I probably keep people around too long, asking them questions about their life, their kids, their work…But I’m the crazy guy on a bike! I get to ask those questions!” Serving his coffee with a smile and a genuine interest in his customers, Pratt has brought back something we’ve all been craving even more than caffeine: Human connection.

We get our coffee exclusively from Panama, roast it ourselves locally, and then sell the beans online or as nitro cold brew from a bicycle.

For more information, visit www.panamacitycoffee. com or follow them on Facebook.

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