About 7 or 8 years ago, it seemed coffee tourism was everywhere. Tour operators that created and guided excursions to coffee plantations, roasting facilities, and educational centers where you could experience a day-in-the-life-of-the-coffee-bean. Now, it seems that most of the tour operators I once knew of are out of business, which is a shame to java-philes like myself. The good news is that, while it is hard to find a coffee-centric tour operator, it is easy to find local coffee plantation tours in lots of countries.
First things, first. Where do you want to go?
Hawaii, Colombia, Thailand, Guatemala, Australia, Costa Rica, India? How about Ethiopia, El Salvador, Uganda, or Bali? Maybe Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Tanzania, or Mexico? Pick a continent and you are likely to find a coffee plantation to tour! If you like warm (or hot) and humid destinations like I do, then you will enjoy these destinations for more than just a cup o’ joe.
With a little research you can find a tour to meet all your needs, whether you want a quick 2 hour tour and taste or an immersion experience complete with accommodations. Here are a few options that look promising:
1. Third place: Selva Negra Ecolodge and Coffee Estate, Nicaragua. In addition to what look like great accommodations and sustainable farming, you can enjoy what they call a “seed to cup” tour. This one makes my list because I’ve been to a few countries in Central America and I am sure I’d love Nicaragua, especially when I am surrounded by coffee!
2. Second place: A shorter excursion awaits on the big Island of Hawaii at Hula Daddy Kona Coffee. With tours offered as people arrive, you can enjoy free coffee tasting, visits to the orchard and the roasting room. While I don’t dig the big island, this place makes my list because of the name. Hula Daddy? Yes, please!
3. First place: At the very top of my coffee tourism list is this Coffee Tour in Ethiopia, the country that gave us coffee!! Traveling to the Kaffa (sound familiar?) region with a visit to the largest and oldest coffee plantation in Ethiopia, Bebeke Coffee Plantation, this tour sounds like a fascinating dive into the birthplace of coffee. If anyone wants to give me a birthday present, this is it!
4. Honorable Mention goes to the tours offered by the Espresso Academy in Florence, Italy. While no coffee is grown in Italy, there is a strong coffee (get it?) culture. Espresso, anyone? From an afternoon glimpse into Italian coffee life to the professional five day Coffee Route itinerary for those contemplating opening or upgrading a coffee shop, the courses are held in English by teachers with years of experience in coffee (including an Italian coffee champion!). This makes the list because…A. It’s Italy and B. It’s coffee IN Italy!!!
No matter how you grind it, coffee tourism may just be your cup of tea! 😁☕️