Seeing a market for Costa Rican coffee and cocoa that adhere to sustainable and organic practices, Oscar Chacon, president and owner of Costa Rica Original Coffee Inc., launched the El Gusto Foods brand in 2010. The distributor, based in White Plains, has been rolling out new products through the years as the coffee-drinking public grows increasingly knowledgeable and discerning.
“Over the years, I’ve met a growing number of consumers who have traveled to Costa Rica and know about the great value and quality of our product,” Chacon says. The brand offers four distinct coffee types, each demonstrating its terroir, or the characteristics of the environment in which it’s produced. Customers can taste different notes from the coffees. There are chocolate notes in the San Marcos beans, citrus notes from the wild naranjilla fruit in the San Ramon blend, malt tones in the espresso, and chocolate and sweet fruits in the dark roast. Chacon says, “We source beans from different altitudes and areas, and that comes through in the taste.” A light roast is slated to be released next year.
For those who want instant coffee with superior quality, in 2020 El Gusto released single-use drip coffee bags. Chacon says it’s similar to the convenience of a tea bag but with different technology — the sachets of coffee are infused with nitrogen and keep fresh for up to 18 months.
For non-coffee drinkers, there’s a line of Costa Rican cocoa. There are four items available: a dark chocolate; the classic, which is the sweetest in the assortment; a cocoa powder; and a sugar-free option, sweetened with monk fruit, which Chacon says is considered to be a superfood.
In Westchester, El Gusto products are available at such stores as Mt. Kisco Farm, Rye Country Store, and New Rochelle Farms. Additionally, they can be purchased through Amazon.
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