As I held my left hand over the wrist of my right hand, I could barely make out a pulse. I was walking around San Jose, and I felt weak from the lack of caffeine pulsing through my veins. I needed coffee and I needed coffee stat. The red eye flight from Los Angeles had been a rough one; and, in recent years, my age has started to show through in my inability to survive all nighters like I once could.
I had read about this little coffee shop called Cafeoteca. It was an unassuming cafe in the heart of San Jose that believe it or not is one of the top coffee shops in the world. In my research, I had also discovered that they served grilled cheeses which, lets be honest, that was all I needed to know. I had a mission and that mission was caffeine and dairy.
After parking the rental car, I walked for a bit through a quiet neighborhood feeling a bit before finally stumbling upon this little coffee haven, Cafeoteca. Sitting down, I glanced at the menu, but I already knew what I was going to order. I take food in general very seriously and as such I take my research on food just as seriously. I placed my order with the front bar and waited at my little corner table soaking up loads of free wi-fi.
It wasn't until I finally glanced up from my phone that I noticed the barista preparing my cup of coffee. Immediately, I gravitated toward what was happening at the front bar. He was taking his time focusing with incredible precision on my cup of joe; and, it was all happening in this beautiful, unique ceramic device. My curiosity had gotten the best of me as I made my way towards the front. I wanted a closer look at this process. As it turned out, this coffee shop had developed and designed its own ceramic coffee makers one of which is the vondola in which my coffee was being prepared.
As with any circumstance I am involved in, I carried my camera with me and asked the barista if snapping a few photos would be ok. To my surprise, he more than obliged me and even went as far as to introduce me to the man sitting at the bar across from me. He was, in fact, the farmer of the coffee beans I was about to try. Once the farmer discovered my deep interest in coffee, we were instant besties. He spent an hour describing his plantation on the Pacific coast to me and invited me to visit any time.
He was the 'coffee man.' He went on to answer any and every question I had about the coffee farm life and explained in detail why my coffee was being prepared this certain way. As we were speaking, three Russians walked into the coffee shop and introduced themselves to the coffee man. He was there to meet them and take them to his farm. They were the top coffee baristas in Russia and had traveled to Costa Rica to further their knowledge of the coffee roasting process. What a crazy meeting of various cultures, languages, and nations in a small coffee shop in the middle of Latin America!
Excusing myself from the half-Russian / half-Spanish conversation, I returned to my table to find a beautifully prepared meal, and, of course, the succulent aromas of freshly brewed coffee. To say that this cup of coffee was perfection just doesn't do it justice. It was the best cup of coffee I have ever had. The only other rivals would be that of Reykjavik Roasters in Iceland or a few of the shops in Tokyo all of which are world-renown roasters. Even still, I have to give this coffee all the trophies. This coffee just won it all for me.
In fact, it was so delicious that I ordered a second cup prepared in another one of their ceramic-designed coffee makers. And, it too, was equally delectable. I have a feeling that it is impossible to have a bad cup of coffee here. These guys know what they are doing. And, what is even more impressive is there is not an ounce of coffee snobbery here. They are kind, hospitable, and welcoming. AND!!!!! They sell their ceramic coffee makers (excellent souvenir) which can only be found here. I now make coffee every morning in my vondola.
If you are going to be visiting San Jose, please make sure to make this a stop in your travels. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed! As always, life is a crazy ride so stay caffeinated out their folks, and enjoy your travel adventures!