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Cosechas: Costa Rica in a cup
When a food engineering expert and a restaurant specialist combine forces…
Ordering at Cosechas is all about choice.
You can, of course, order off the menu, which has mouthwatering combinations of pineapple, celery, cucumber and parsley; orange, mango and peach; and banana, pineapple, mango and avocado.
But the real fun is in customizing your own smoothie from the watermelon-coloured counter, where you will find a whole range of fresh, seasonal, and delicious fruits and vegetables to choose from.
Since launching in 2008, Cosechas's range of 100% natural products has gained popularity among millions of Ticos looking for a healthy drink or snack.
For many, it has become a firm favorite, offering an alternative way to consume a wide range of fresh fruit and veg. However, a big part of its success lies in the fact that it pays homage to the diversity of our produce.
"Cosechas is, undoubtedly, one of the coolest Tico ventures in our country. It is something we are very proud of and want to share with all visitors because it gives people an opportunity to taste the wonders of our country in a different, fast, and accessible way."
Thanks to our year-round tropical climate, the variety of agricultural goods grown in Costa Rica is vast. You only have to visit a local pulpería to get an idea, where you will find everything from cas, guava, avocado, and granadilla, to dragonfruit, guanabana, nance, sapote, and papaya, to name just a few.
Cosechas celebrates this fact by providing Ticos with these juicy fruits and veggies in the freshest, most natural way. And it's no surprise that the concept has caught on abroad, too.
A family blend: How Cosechas became the go-to smoothie spot
Ticos love a good homegrown family-run business. And there are few better examples than Cosechas.
Carlos Hernández and his wife, Yu Yun Chang, launched the company using a loan from the family nearly 15 years ago. They were the perfect duo: Carlos had trained as an agronomist and had a doctorate in food engineering, while Yu Yun was a specialist in hotel and restaurant management.
After spending time studying in Taiwan, Carlos was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Asia, where the scale of business didn't not matter and every idea was worth something.
"They are very hard-working people who tend to undertake small things," he told El Financiero back in 2013.
As such, he drew up a business plan for Cosechas and went back to Costa Rica to execute it. His idea was simple: to establish a bar-type environment serving freshly made smoothies, which customers could either choose from a menu or personalize themselves.
He said that the personalization part (which has since proved so successful among customers) was also inspired by his time in Asia, where businesses specialize in one specific area, but allow their customers to contribute to the final product.
Cosechas was an immediate hit and quickly expanded its presence across Costa Rica.
With Yu Yun’s knowledge of the Taiwanese market, the couple grew the concept into Asia under a franchise model, while also opening in the US, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. In each market they make sure to choose the most local and delicious products, just like they do in Costa Rica.
As the business grew, its offerings also expanded. Today, Cosechas not only offers fresh juices and smoothies but also cold brew coffee.
Adding coffee to its menu is yet another way the company has leveraged local products to not only grow itself but also support farmers in the region.
They also offer healthy meals such as wraps and a Cosechas "At Home' range that consists of frozen fruit concentrates, free of sugar and water, that customers can simply blend at home for a delicious drink.
This is the latest move in what some have dubbed "The Smoothie Wars" in Costa Rica, which has seen rivals such as Mandarina Tropical Juice Bar, Juice House, and Cosual Fruit (which claims to be have been first in the smoothie game), all trying to steal market share from one another.
However, many agree that both the family-run aspect and the fact that it uses high-quality local ingredients, means Cosechas will remain a favorite among Ticos, both at home and abroad.
"Something that I love is that they have so many products to choose from," says Indira Frias, who regularly visits her local Cosechas store in Costa Rica's capital of San José. "Whether you are looking for a supplement for your diet, a refreshing smoothie, or a delicious cold coffee on a hot afternoon, you can find it all at Cosechas."