If you’re anything like me, a self-declared coffee addict, then one of the best parts of studying abroad in Costa Rica is becoming immersed in the coffee culture. In Costa Rica, coffee is known as the “golden bean” due to its importance and value as a trade export. However, coffee’s popularity in the country extends outside of its economical benefits, as it has a large role in the daily routine of Ticos. Unlike in the United States, where most people enjoy a cup or two of coffee a day, in Costa Rica it is common to drink coffee throughout the day and into the evening. My interest in Costa Rica’s coffee culture led me to research different cafés to visit during my time abroad. Café La Mancha was the first café I visited, and is only a ten-minute taxi ride from Universidad Veritas. Out of all the cafés I have tried in Costa Rica, La Mancha remains my favorite.
Part of the reason for my favoritism is the café’s open and relaxed atmosphere. Guests are able to sit at tables inside or outside of the café while sipping on their beverage of choice. My preferred spot is outside the café where I can admire the artwork hanging on the walls and watch the busy city life pass by on the street. It’s not uncommon to find students working on projects or preparing for exams, as the quiet space provides a wonderful study environment. In addition to students, groups of friends wishing to catch up or individuals in need of a lunch break are also frequent visitors. In short, Café La Mancha is the place for everyone!
If the atmosphere doesn’t sell immediately sell you, the coffee will. The café has its own personal brand of coffee for sale called La Mancha, which is all locally grown and supports the local economy. I’ve had a difficult time branching out and trying new drinks, as even the standard latte at La Mancha, my usual order, is complete perfection. The La Mancha staff are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to answer any questions regarding coffee culture or the drink making process. I highly recommend striking up a conversation – you can learn something new, and it’s a great way to practice your Spanish!
Before your time in Costa Rica ends, make sure you visit Café La Mancha! The café is located in downtown San José in Edificio Steinvorth on Calle 1, between Avenida Central and Avenida 1. They are opened every Monday – Saturday from 10:00am to 7:00pm. Check out their Facebook page ahead of time to get a sneak peek at their menu!
Oh, and don’t forget to try the carrot cake – the owner’s personal favorite, and mine too!