A coffee plantation tour is a unique way to spend a vacation. Many are located in remote destinations at high elevations, which makes for a beautiful place to stay for a few nights, or your entire trip, while learning more about how coffee is planted, harvested and processed.
Costa Rica’s Poás Region
Poás, as well as other locations throughout the Central Valley, are perfect for growing coffee, thanks to high altitude, volcanic soil and daily rainfall. The region takes its name from Poás Volcano, an active volcano that created the rich soil. Coffee grown and produced here is fruity with earthy undertones, which result in a very balanced flavor.
To witness, and even participate in, the harvest, visit between November and February. While in the Central Valley, visitors can also visit Poás Volcano National Park, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and the artisan town of Sarchi, which is where the colorful oxcarts once used to transport coffee are made and decorated.
Costa Rica was the first country in Central America with a coffee industry. Today, coffee lovers can also tour plantations in nearby Columbia, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Ethiopia’s Sidamo Region
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, which makes it a must-visit destination for coffee lovers. The English word “coffee” comes from the name of the region where coffee was first discovered growing naturally, Kaffa.
The Sidamo region includes the sub-region of Yirgacheffe, which produces some of the most sought-after coffee in the world. The coffee grown on plantations here is complex, with fruity, floral and spicy notes, due to the high elevation and rich soil.
Coffee is an essential part of Ethiopia’s culture, as well as its economy. While you’re here (visit in November through February for harvest), be sure to take part in a coffee ceremony, a ceremonial preparation of coffee. You should also take time to visit the nearby Omo National Park and take in the Gedeo Mixed Cultural and Natural Landscape.
Other east African countries also have coffee plantation tours worth noting, including Kenya and Tanzania.
Hawaii’s Kona Region
The volcanic soil and tropical rain of Hawaii result in a mild, fruity flavor that has developed on small farms throughout the region. The harvest spans from August to November. Each year, Hawaiians and coffee lovers celebrate the end of the harvest and Kona coffee’s centuries-old history with the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
For years, Kona was the only Hawaiian region growing coffee. This changed throughout the last few decades, with note-worthy coffee coming from Kauai and Maui as well. If your trip to Hawaii will involve a west coast layover, consider stopping in Seattle, Portland (OR) or Los Angeles to sample some of the best coffee from around the world.