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Best Places for Coffee Tourism

Best Places for Coffee Tourism Photo

Photo by Shady Ady

Posted on January 16, 2008 in Trip Ideas

As far as we’re concerned, one cup of coffee is never enough. So we’re serving up a second round of the world’s best places to engage in coffee tourism, with IgoUgo writers sharing their favorite places for every kind of caffeinated vacation.

Best place to find the coffee of the rich and famous: Kona, Hawaii
Frequent Kona visitor MilwVon traditionally spends her last day in Hawaii filling bags with the area’s celebrated beans. She went straight to the source on one recent trip, touring hillside coffee plantations Greenwell Farms and Kona Joe. She got to view the entire roasting process, starting with picking coffee cherries off the trees and ending with cups of the Kona Joe coffee purported to be among the best brews in the world.

Best place to volunteer at a coffee farm: Quizarra, Costa Rica
For a prolonged caffeine high and the thrill of contributing to ecologically sound growing practices, visit or volunteer at La Finca Escondida, a farm with an “international reputation” recommended by Shady Ady. While he was living near the organic coffee plantation, the temporary resident loved visiting it for “tremendous views” and a “diversity of species.” He says that there are so many things to do there, you’ll never get bored—and you’ll have plenty of coffee to keep you going.

Best place to enjoy a best-kept secret: Vientiane, Laos
SeenThat’s favorite place to sip Laos’ coffee-and-condensed-milk specialty is in the city’s morning markets. They seem like very public places to drink coffee that has the effect of “blackening the drinker’s teeth and tongue,” but since he says it tastes a lot like chocolate, it sounds worth the risk. And the markets are one of the few places you’ll find the delicacy; SeenThat reports that “despite the extremely high quality of the local product, Laotian coffee is mainly ignored by the world, maybe a result of the low yields.”

Best place to sip coffee in the clouds: Boquete, Panama
After hiking Panama’s cloud forest, reward yourself in the manner of ext212 and become a “coffee snob” at Boquete’s Kotowa coffee plantation. Seconding ext212’s raves about the coffee is buzz_1919, who explains that you have the altitude and climate to thank for the coffee’s great heights.

Best place for a formal cup of coffee: Vienna, Austria
“Come early, linger, and leave late” is becks’ recommendation for milking the enjoyment of Vienna’s coffeehouses. We can only imagine how good Kaffee and Sachertorte taste when served by a waiter in the customary tuxedo.

Best place for cheap beans and free samples: Coban, Guatemala
Both ToeAnne and lcampbell direct Coban visitors to Finca Santa Margarita for a tour of the coffee-making process, “plus free samples!” Beyond the free stuff, they recommend buying loads to take home: it’s “fresh, delicious, and cheap here.”

Best place to learn the basics: San Juan, Honduras
SkewedStyle visited a coffee farm as part of a longer hike around San Juan, where she was able to “watch the adorable children of the family pick some beans as an example, hull them, and then giggle uncontrollably in front of the camera.” Her host then showed her how to toast the coffee on a “large, flat stovetop,” a lesson that San Juan’s tourism cooperative says is widely available.

Best place to try the unusual: Java, Indonesia
For the truly die-hard coffee fan, Java’s local drink packs the most exotic punch on the planet. Marianne downed a cup offered by her hotel, only to learn afterwards that it was kopi luak—the beans were previously digested by an endemic cat. But she says that she “really enjoyed the taste of this coffee” and ordered a second cup even after being fully informed of her drink’s past.

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