For many non-morning people, coffee is a life-giving elixir. But have you ever wondered where your coffee came from? From quaint farms located in far-flung destinations, coffee beans are carefully harvested for your daily enjoyment.
With coffee tours, you can observe the entire process first-hand to get more in-depth, expert knowledge about coffee, from the farming process to insights on the global coffee industry. Plus, you’ll get to experience the local coffee culture and take part in tasting sessions.
So if you’re an avid globetrotter, here are some of the world’s best coffee tours that you should have on your list of places to visit.
Panama | See how one of the most prized coffee beans is grown
Despite its name, Geisha coffee beans don’t originate from Japan. In fact, they come from Ethiopia. When Panama’s coffee farms were hit by “leaf rust” in the early 2000s, their local coffee crop was devastated. Geisha beans, however, appeared to be immune, so farmers switched to the variety.
The Geisha beans grown in the mineral-rich volcanic soil of Panama’s Boquete region have a light, floral flavour that is now sought worldwide, selling for a pretty penny thanks to its rarity. Be sure to visit the most renowned coffee plantations in the country for a tour, namely Don Pachi Estate, Finca La Valentina and Hacienda La Esmeralda.
Indonesia | Catch a breathtaking sunrise from a highland coffee farm
Bali may be famous as a travel destination for its sun, surf and sand, but its coffee tourism is starting to gain steam. Take in the island’s natural beauty whilst enjoying its locally cultivated coffee through a tour of its coffee plantations.
For the adventure seekers, opt for a tour that takes you on an early morning hike up Mount Batur to catch stunning vistas illuminated by the sunrise. If you’re looking for something more laid-back, check out one of Ubud’s many coffee tours, which include tasting various coffee varieties and Instagram-worthy swings that take you soaring over the Tegalalang rice terraces.
Costa Rica | Satisfy your sweet tooth
Like your coffee on the sweet side? This one’s for mocha lovers. Get the best of both worlds when it comes to coffee and chocolate at Caribeans Chocolate and Coffee. This humble, family-owned business in Puerto Viejo works closely with the local community and indigenous tribes to support them in making a living through coffee.
Using sustainable farming practices, the farm takes pride in the organic, fair-trade coffee beans and chocolate it produces. Hike through their cacao forest, taste the cacao fruit straight from the tree and visit the ‘chocolate lab’ to see how yummy concoctions are created from the cacao beans and coffee beans.
Ethiopia | Take part in a traditional coffee ceremony
It’s believed that the Arabica coffee bean, considered the top tier coffee bean variety, originated from Ethiopia, which is why it’s often associated as the birthplace of coffee. Indeed, coffee is ingrained into the local culture, from the original coffee houses (known as ‘Kaveh Kanes’) to the traditional coffee ceremony.
Most coffee tours available in Ethiopia include the elaborate coffee ceremony, which involves the long and labour-intensive process of roasting the coffee beans and boiling the coffee in a clay pot (‘jebena’). The ceremony is an expression of respect and camaraderie, as everything is done by hand and with care. Equivalent to Japan’s tea ceremony, it’s a can’t-miss experience for coffee lovers.
Vietnam | Go green at eco-friendly coffee farms
Nestled in the picturesque highlands of Dalat are Vietnam’s coffee farms, providing the coffee beans that are made into the country’s unofficial national drink. Vietnamese coffee is unlike any typical coffee – traditionally made using coffee beans roasted in butter for a stronger, richer taste, the ground beans are slow-dripped right into a cup using a metal filter (‘phin’) before adding condensed milk to counter the bitterness.
Go cafe-hopping around the city’s charming cafes and take in the fascinating remnants of French architecture before you head to the countryside for the coffee plantations, some of which are run by those from the local K’ho tribe. The most well-known among them is K’ho Farm and Son Pacamara Farm, both of which produce organic coffee following eco-friendly principles.
Colombia | Seek out caffeinated thrills at a coffee theme park
If tours around plantations and tasting sessions aren’t your cuppa, how about a theme park dedicated to all things coffee? For the young-at-heart, check out Colombia’s national coffee park, Parque del Café. Opened in 1995 by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, the park is located within ‘Eje Cafetero’, the country’s famed Coffee Triangle.
Much of Colombia’s heritage and culture is closely linked to coffee, which visitors to the park will get to learn about, alongside fun rides, attractions and shows. Hop on the Coffee Train to navigate through the history of coffee in Colombia and wander through the Interactive Coffee Museum to uncover the story of coffee via animatronic figures.