Janet Cantillo: Good Coffee’s Fragrance Arrives in the Caribbean

When Janet used to travel to the capital with her family, an image always caught her eye: the landscape full of coffee fields. In her homeland, Guapiles, Limón, coffee is not the predominant crop because their ground is more appropriate for different products like bananas. We know coffee plants like the highlands.

But Janet’s coffee dream was growing in perfect ground. “I’ve always liked coffee and I kept the idea of some day working in something related to it,” she remembers. Today we are surrounded by the sweet aromas of coffee in the Costarican Academy of Coffee, Janet came with her brand new dream: Café Cantillo. And we’re sitting down to have a conversation about its story.

Janet Cantillo

“After I got married, I had it clear that I wanted to enter the coffee world, so I got informed and started my formation to become a barista at the ICAFE ( Costarican Institute of Coffee), I was very excited”, she says. Janet’s passion was and is to bring the good coffee to her homeland: Guapiles, Limón. But the road couldn’t be easy. “I had no experience in the field like some of my classmates, so the class was a big challenge for me, but even though I was new to  this, I had all the passion for coffee.”

Café Cantillo is sold in Limón and Heredia.
Café Cantillo is sold in Limón and Heredia.

When she finished and obtained her barista certificate, Janet began to explore ways to start her project. “I did everything while holding God’s hand,” she points. “The Costa Rican coffee Academy helped me choose the most adequate coffee to use”. Janet decided that the coffee’s name will honor her dad and her family; and that’s how Café Cantillo was born in 2015.

Café Cantillo has a surrounding fragrance. It comes from the Tarrazu area, from the Finca La Pira and its process is washed. I have been trying it for a few days and is a very aromatic cup, with the characteristic notes of Tarrazu.

But Janet’s idea is not to just tag her coffee and sell it, she wants to create a coffee culture in Limón. “I work it like something personalized, I go to the clients and explain them the process of the coffee, its characteristics and I prepare it  with a manual brewing method so they can taste it,” she explains. And in that mission her family has become involved, they also teach to anyone who asks about Café Cantillo, about the coffee culture.

Janet Cantillo  Barista - ¿Un método de inufusión?: "Chemex, por la limpieza de taza que produce".  - ¿Una taza de café?:  "Me gusta el americano".
Janet Cantillo
– A favorite brewing method? “Chemex, because of its clean cup”.

“At first people react to the fragrance of the coffee,” affirms Janet. “And starting there I show them the quality of fragrance of a fresh coffee compared to a more commercial one that has been in the package for a long time and has lost all his properties.” In that process, Janet has discovered the need that exist in her hometown to learn more about coffee. “People ask me where can they learn more. They called me to come and give presentations about coffee and then I take the opportunity to not only sell my coffee but also to teach them more about the coffee culture.”

Janet proudly holds two bags of coffee, her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for coffee are evident. “I know that to this point and from now on it is God who’s opening doors for me. Looking to the future, I hope we can keep expanding the business and be able to work with other kinds of coffee,” she projects. We wish this brave woman the best so that Limón can have more opportunities to know and drink good coffee.

If you wish to contact Janet:

  • Email: janetcantillo@hotmail.com 
  • Phone: +506 60757897. 

* Translated by Karen M. Pratt.