Costa Rica – Cafe Rica The Unique Elixr

Cafe Rica, The Unique Elixr

My wife, Sandra and I started each day sipping Costa Rican coffee out on the balcony of our apartment. After bringing home a bottle of Cafe Rica our mornings got off to an even better start.

Café Rica is the country’s unique liqueur, a delicious elixir distilled from coffee, and sold exclusively in the country. It is available in supermarkets and souvenir shops in the tourist areas. The bottles are packaged in a burlap sack, a miniature coffee bag.

The first morning we were eagerly preparing our coffee and Café Rico when a tiny gecko exited the burlap liquor sack and hid behind the refrigerator. Imagining the tiny lizard’s journey from the plantation into our apartment became a breakfast pastime. From under a coffee bush the gecko had somehow made it through the roasting facility, the distillery and warehouse, into the local store, and finally into our apartment.

Café Rica has been manufactured since 1978. Edward Drews a Jamaican founded the Salicsa Company and pioneered the recipe. However, similar home brewed elixirs had been cooked up on plantations for over a century.

Coffee began its transformation into Café Rica in the 1700s when the plant was first introduced into the Caribbean. By the mid-1800s it was the most important cash crop. Profits from coffee exports paid for Costa Rica’s railroads, roads, and institutions and monumental buildings like the National Theatre in San Jose.

Café Rica has been manufactured since 1978. Edward Drews a Jamaican founded the Salicsa Company and pioneered the recipe. However, similar home brewed elixirs had been cooked up on plantations for over a century.

Where it starts

Coffee began its transformation into Café Rica in the 1700s when the plant was first introduced into the Caribbean. By the mid-1800s it was the most important cash crop. Profits from coffee exports paid for Costa Rica’s railroads, roads, and institutions and monumental buildings like the National Theatre in San Jose. Today the country ranks in the top 10 of coffee exporters in the world, annually sending out over 150,000 tons. Coffee is also a tourist attraction, with plantation tours on the agenda of many visitors to Costa Rica’s central highlands.

November through March is the harvest season. The coffee shrub is never cut down, only pruned. Each bush produces close to 3 kilograms of beans yearly.

Unlike other coffee growing countries, Costa Rica only produces premium quality beans. That is one reason that Café Rica has a superior flavor to other coffee based liqueurs. It also has much higher alcohol content than Kahlua or Tia Maria. Café Rica is not merely a flavoring additive. Though I never found an alcohol percentage marked on the label, Café Rica clearly tastes stronger. The manufacturers, Salicsa believe that not only is there more coffee essence, but the beneficial effects of coffee are also in greater strength. These include improved heart rhythm, help against dementia, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Aside from sipping Café Rico straight as a liqueur there are a few classic recipes that work best with genuine Café Rico.Recafe: Add one ounce of Café Rica to your cup of coffee.Brown Cow: Mix two ounces of evaporated milk with three ounces of Café Rica, chill thoroughly.Café Cabana: Half and half Café Rico and Club soda.

By Andrew Kolasinski

Costa Rican Black Russian: Three ounces of Café Rica and one ounce Guru Vodka.Also add Café Rica to desserts, pour onto vanilla ice cream or onto cake or fruit salad. MORE ABOUT CAFÉ RICA Café Rica manufacturer, Salicsa Company: http://www.salicsa.com/licores.html

 

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