Filadelfia has a new treasure made by Guanacastecan hands called Raices (Roots), a coffee shop that seems to have come from a travel postcard, a photo from Pinterest or a decoration website. It is a small oasis full of pots, cacti and hammocks that give us a respite from the noisy highway and the August rains.
How does everything combine so well? Andres Badilla and Reiner Vasquez, the owners, tell us that they made everything themselves: the menu, the logo, the pallets turned into seating, the hammocks and everything else.
We visited them on a slow Tuesday and asked them to bring us the dishes they like best. Among the options came a panini of shredded meat with mozzarella cheese and salad, accompanied by some seasoned potato wedges that customers love, according to Andrés.
The ciabatta bread— toasted on the outside and soft inside— is made by a baker from Tamarindo.
“There aren’t enough hours in the day for us to do it ourselves,” Andres confesses with his eternal smile.
When they started, they didn’t know anything about being baristas, but today they made us two different specialties: a hot latte and a cold brew latte. The latter is a cold coffee extraction technique that is then combined with condensed milk and normal milk and served in a glass bottle to mix all the flavors together. Interestingly, it is not an explosion of flavor but a soft and slightly sweet caress on the palate, refreshing and energizing. I think it combines very well with the Chilean cake.
The coffee is bought from Tamarindo Coffee Roasters, who bring them coffee beans produced right here in the higher elevations of Nicoya, although some also come from Tarrazu. Their thing is to connect and team up with entrepreneurs in the area to strengthen not only their business but that of their suppliers.
Reiner and Andres have cultivated the patience of saints since November, when they started with coffee, which is really the second part of their venture. The first part was Guanalettas, a popsicles business that has expanded throughout the province in just two years and that doesn’t resemble a coffee shop at all.
Sometimes they wonder if they took the step of opening the coffee shop too quickly. “Customers are getting to know us, but it is slower,” relates Reiner, who is always inside preparing food while Andres is in charge of serving customers.
While they get a feel for the market, they make themselves known among customers for their special offers. On weekends, for example, they have churros with ice cream (which they obviously make themselves). They also sell the popsicles there, along with going out in the mornings to distribute them, while the coffee shop is closed.
The walls are decorated with messages that rhyme with indie music in Spanish. One says “Que nunca falte el café” (Never run out of coffee). The other reminds people: “Sin miedo a soñar” (Without fear of dreaming), pretty much summarizing the story of Raices, Andres and Reiner.