Best Cafes in San José, Costa Rica

Coffee cherries
Coffee cherries | © Wendy/Flickr
Jenn Parker

Costa Rica and coffee go together like rice and beans. There are plantations both big and small scattered throughout the highlands of Costa Rica, and some of the best shade-grown coffee in the world comes from this region. With great coffee comes great cafés, especially in the capital city of San José. This selection of charming spots offer outstanding coffee alongside homemade pastries, sandwiches, and other breakfast and lunch specialities.

1. Cafeoteca

Cafe, Healthy, Dessert, Central American

Café in San José, Costa Rica
Courtesy of Cafeoteca | Cafeoteca

Cafeoteca has 23 different coffees from eight different coffee-growing regions in Costa Rica. Suffice it to say this café is a coffee connoisseur’s happy place. The baristas are incredibly knowledgeable and even use multiple brewing methods. Simply put, Cafeoteca is more than just a café – it is a coffee experience – with delicious pastries that pair perfectly with their speciality brews.

2. Underground Brew Cafe

Cafe, Contemporary, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, Pastries, Dessert

The perfect sandwich
© Edward/Flickr

Underground Brew Café is an easily overlooked spot that should not be missed. Its nondescript entrance consists of a yellow gate that requires customers to buzz for entry. Once inside, electronic music hums like the effects of caffeine. The Underground Brew Café specialises in two in-house roasted coffees – medium roast black honey and yellow honey roast – and for adventurous coffee drinkers, there is the alluring spicy latte. Underground Brew Café also makes pastries and sandwiches to accompany your drink.

3. Alma de Cafe

Cafe, Bakery, Bistro, Coffee Shop, Fusion, Healthy, Coffee, Tea , Pastries

Fresh traditional brew
© Bex Walton/Flickr

Alma de Café is an elegant, 19th century-style café complete with marble floors and ceiling murals. This highly recommended café in downtown San José – close to the National Theater – has an extensive coffee menu and a superb pastry and lunch menu; they serve incredible sandwiches and their carrot cake is one of the best. The service is friendly and professional, making this an essential spot to try when visiting the city.

4. Cafe Miel Costa Rica

Bakery, Cafe, Central American, Vegetarian

The best empanadas
© James/Flickr

Café Miel Costa Rica is famous for their empanadas, a flaky pastry that is often filled with cheese, ham, chicken, beef, vegetables, and sometimes even eggs with rice and beans. There are few things things better than a perfectly crafted homemade empanada and this place certainly ticks all the right boxes. Café Miel Costa Rica also serves up freshly squeezed juices and a variety of coffee beverages. This small café packs a delicious punch in everything they serve.

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