In 2018, Scott and I traveled to Hawaii to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. That trip was beyond incredible for so many reasons– truly a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list level trip. But one of our best days was touring and experiencing a Kona area coffee farm. My husband is definitely a coffee aficionado– we buy our beans whole and green and he roasts them in small batches a couple of times a week. Every morning he makes a French Press full of coffee for us that we keep in a special carafe to stay warm in the morning. He even has a special percolating kettle (I have no idea what it is actually called) that makes some delicious espresso in the afternoons. Basically, we love our cup of joe.
There are so many places all around the world with connections to coffee. There are the well known places, like Hawaii, Colombia and their eponymous bean, and Ethiopia the “birthplace” of coffee, but there are other locations with deep coffee connections that you might not have considered traveling to before.
Istanbul has a long history with coffee– the drink was introduced there in the 16th century by a governor from Yemen. Over the past 500 years, the coffee culture in Turkey has only grown, even developing the delicious “Turkish Coffee.” Served in dainty, espresso-like cups, Turkish coffee is lightly spiced with cardamom and typically served sweet. There are cafes all over the city and even country, so you can sip while soaking in the East-Meets-West culture of Turkey. Another great coffee attraction in Turkey is the annual Istanbul Coffee Festival with workshops, panel discussions, tastings, and even the SCA Turkey Coffee Championship where contestants vy to be the country’s best barista, latte artist, roaster and more.
Vietnam is actually the second-largest coffee producer in the world, just after Brazil. Vietnamese coffee uses the robusta bean, which has a higher caffeine content and rich, buttery notes. Vietnamese coffee, called “ca pha sua da” is served either iced or hot, but with sweetened condensed milk to create a creamy, luxuriously sweet drink. The southern Da Lat area of the country has the rolling hills and climate best suited to grow coffee, so when you are visiting the country, be sure to set aside several days to journey down into the southern area both for coffee and some gorgeous beach resorts.
Most Americans know the Dominican Republic as a strip of beach resorts, and a quick cruise day stop off. And yes, Punta Cana, Bavaro, and Puerto Plata are all amazing places to relax with a cold drink, dig your toes in the sand and shed the worries of your everyday life. But when I travel, I like to mix in a little time to experience the culture of where I am visiting and get off the resort when it’s safe and possible. The Dominican Republic really offers the best of both worlds.
Coffee is mostly grown in the mountainous region of the central Dominican Republic, but there are opportunities to see small, family run farms not far from Punta Cana and other resort areas. One of the best tours I have ever been on was an all day open air safari truck tour. We visited many family run businesses– coconut oil production, cigar rolling, and then the chocolate and coffee farm. Our host walked us through his process both for chocolate and coffee. He even allowed me to purchase a bag of green coffee beans to bring home for Scott to roast himself!
These are obviously just 3 places you might not have considered before when thinking about coffee tours. Other locations where you can find some great options from farm to cafe are Jamaica, Costa Rica, Vienna, Paris, Panama, and so many more. No matter where your next trip takes you, there is coffee to be found! What is your favorite cafe, or cup of coffee that you’ve had on a vacation?