Rio Coco Cafe – Restaurant Review

by “The Food Guy” – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine

My next tasting experience takes me north on 43rd avenue, close to the Vero Beach Airport, in what appears to be an industrial looking strip mall.  Owners Michael and Laura welcomed me to the cafe and began to tell me the story behind how and why this place exists.  Opening in December of 2011, they seem to have developed quite the following of customers as I noticed a steady stream of them coming and going during my time there.  The cafe is operated as a non-profit business, where all profits are sent to educate Miskito Indian children along the Rio Coco in Northeastern Nicaragua.  All of the employees at the cafe are volunteers and do not take a salary.  According to their website, they have two locations currently, one on the Caribbean island of Utila Honduras, and the Vero Beach location.  The cafe in Vero is also where they craft roast all of the coffee beans for both locations.  Twice a week, they roast coffee from 10 different countries including Ethiopia, Columbia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Timor, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and Maui.  They then ship their coffee to Utila, as well as offer it for sale on their website and ship it across the United States and Canada.

Now that is one cool looking coffee roaster!  All coffee beans come into the cafe raw are slow roasted at lower than normal temperatures in small batches.  This allows the roast master to closely monitor the beans and it produces a better product.

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!

Daily Brew – ($1.87 / 12 oz) –  When I drink coffee at home, it’s prepared with cream and stevia, so it’s more like drinking hot chocolate than actual coffee.  One of the reasons for that is that I don’t like the bitter aftertaste you get when you drink black coffee.  Michael challenged me to come in and try their coffee without the use of cream and a sweetener, and taste the difference.  The one on the left above was a dark roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and the one on the right was the Columbian medium roast.  While I preferred the Columbian, both were really good with no bitter aftertaste.  If I had to drink black coffee, it definitely would be one of these two varieties.

Salty Poolman – ($3.97) –  My mom joined me for this review, so they brought out one for each of us to try.  This is from their Signature Espresso Drinks menu and is made with a double shot of espresso and swirled together with sweet flavors, topped with whipped cream, and a caramel sauce drizzle.  They were sweet, but not too much so you felt like you were drinking a dessert.   These were served to us cold, but you can get it hot and/or blended if you would like.  These were really good and my usual go to when I order coffee at a coffee shop.

Peanut Butter Padster – ($4.44 / 16 oz) – My mom and I are HUGE chocolate and peanut butter fans, so when I saw this on the menu, I knew that we had to try it.  This is from the Smoothies & Shakes part of the menu and was absolutely delicious!  The milkshake had a rich peanut butter flavor, just the right amount of chocolate, and was smooth and creamy!  With so many different things to try at each review, I have a hard time finishing each item, but not this one.  There was barely a drop left in either glass!

Lentil Red Curry Soup – Laura makes a few special items each day that are very healthy.  This is one of the specials on the day that we visited.  It’s made with cooked lentil’s, chicken broth, red curry, and carrots.  The lentils were perfectly cooked with just the slight chew to them that I expected, the chicken broth was rich and flavorful, and the curry flavor was subtle with just a bit of heat on the back end.  It was served over white rice and very tasty!

Rio Coco Mini Dips – ($5.37) – The description on the menu sounded interesting, so we requested to try this item.  They are made with round toasted bread with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, and served with a side of maple syrup for dipping.  The bread had a nice crunch on the outside and was soft on the inside.  Both my mom and I commented that the bread was almost like French toast in texture and flavor.  The eggs were freshly cooked and the portion was quite generous for such a small sandwich.  We tried the sandwich without the syrup first, and while it was good, the dip into the syrup made it all that much better.

In Conclusion:

I never know what I will learn about a business until I go there and do a review.  I had visited Rio Coco previously when I did my review for R Cakes.  We used a back room for the tasting, so I didn’t really pay that close attention to that visit and what all they did.  I thought it was just a regular local coffee shop, but after talking to the owners, they are anything but regular.  Their sole purpose is education funding for the Miskito Indian children along the Rio Coco in Northeastern Nicaragua.  How refreshing it is in today’s world to find people that are that giving and generous of their time to support such a worthy cause.  If you have not yet had a chance to try Rio Coco, please do so knowing that your money is being put to good use, and have some really great coffee and eats too!

Have you tried Rio Coco?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 4 Forks

Service – 4 Forks

Food – 4 Forks

Ratings Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Rio Coco Website 

Address: 3300 43rd Ave #3, Vero Beach, FL 32960


Tuesday 7:15AM–4PM
Wednesday 8AM–4PM
Thursday 8AM–4PM
Friday 8AM–4PM
Saturday 9AM–2PM
Sunday Closed
Monday 10AM–4PM



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