Earlier this week, for National Coffee Day, I shared a post about coffee-centered vacations. A number of my coffee-loving counterparts remarked they didn’t realize you could take a vacation that was centered around coffee. Well, you absolutely can! So I thought I’d go more in depth about what this kind of vacation would look like, and why it would be of interest.
Home to the largest coffee farm in the United States, you’ll find The Kauai Coffee Estate on the island of Kauai. Here, visitors can tour the coffee orchard, sample their exclusive line of estate-grown Hawaiian coffees, and shop for delicious souvenirs. If you visit in the spring, you may even get to see and smell the coffee farm in bloom!
Did you know that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee? Believed to have been discovered by fifth-century nomads from the Ethiopian highlands, coffee’s initial spread from sub-Saharan Africa moved first to the Middle East, then to Europe. Even today, most production is done by hand. The country’s weather and unique terrain, give Ethiopian coffee a distinctive taste. Coffee tours are often done in conjunction with food tours in local villages.
Columbia is the third largest coffee producer in the world, surpassed only by Brazil and Vietnam. As coffee tourism booms, the country offers Coffee Region festivals for eager guests. There’s even a Parque Nacional del Café/National Coffee Park offering everything from interactive exhibits focusing on the history and culture of coffee to actual theme park attractions.
Over the last decade, coffee consumption has nearly doubled in Indonesia. High in the mountains, small coffee farms are on the rise. The strong aroma, and ideal blend of sweetness and acidity, is helping Indonesian coffee gain in popularity. Through carefully curated coffee tour packages, coffee tourism is helping Indonesia’s remote farmers sell their product for higher rates, thereby improving their overall standard of living.
Guatemala is known for its superb coffee. Grown at altitudes of over 5,000 ft, in eight distinct regions, the flavor is full bodied and exceptionally delicious. (Noticing a trend here?) But more than just the altitude, the mild subtropical climate, and nutrient-rich volcanic soil create the perfect growing environment. Working plantations offer tours for each aspect of the process from farm to table.
Coffee was first introduced to the island in 1728 by European colonists. Grown high in the Blue Mountains, a combination of cool temperatures, afternoon rains, and nutrient-rich soil, produce a sweet-toned, alkaline coffee. Unlike some of the countries mentioned in this post, Jamaica is not a top producing coffee country as growing space in the Blue Mountains is limited. This makes Blue Mountain coffee one of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world. Coffee estate tours are widely available.
This list is not exhaustive by any means, but a great start on either side of the world for those into coffee culture and agro tourism. The next time you enjoy a cup of joe, pay attention to the label. Think about flavor, pH, aroma, and the country of origin. I may make a coffee connoisseur of you yet!
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