Travel

Top 5 Travel Destinations for Coffee Lovers

Forget Starbucks! From Ethiopia’s ancient ceremonies to Portland’s sustainable revolution, explore how coffee culture is celebrated around the globe.

You don’t have to be a coffee snob to appreciate a good cup of brew. For centuries, people from around the world have been coming together to enjoy coffee in their own traditional sense, but some places are downright reverent. See how everyone’s favorite stimulant is celebrated around the world through these five coffee-centric travel destinations.

#1 Ethiopia

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Coffee’s geographical lineage can be traced all the way back to 9th century Ethiopia, where a goat herder by the name of Kaldi discovered this strange berry. Ever since, elaborate coffee ceremonies have been embedded into the country’s cultural tradition, created to engage the five senses.

Coffee-lovers will feel right at home in the many cafes of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, where “coffee culture” is nothing new. Try joining in on a coffee tour, taking part in a ritual or cafe-hopping on your own to get the full experience of world-class brew tasting in Ethiopia.

#2 Portland

Coffee-drinking is as part of local life in Portland, Oregon as cycling (or recycling) is, and when it comes to preparing a cup, people in this city are just as concerned about the process of making it as they are in the final product. With over 30 coffee roasters in town, chances are you’ll find a blend that’s calling your name.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a primary stop for coffee-centrists in town, and rightly so, but there are endless options in Portland when it comes to quality, sustainable brew. There are cafes specializing in single-origin brews (no blends,) clean-roasting (which is juice-like) and local-roasting (in shared workshops). In Portland, you’ll find some of the most knowledgeable baristas in the world, so take advantage of the local flavor.

#3 Hawaii

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Seriously, do we need any more reasons to love Hawaii? As the United States’ only commercial coffee growers, Hawaii plays host to around 800 production farms that churn out millions of pounds of fresh grounds year-round.

Coffea Arabica first found its home in Hawaii in the 1800s and made a special match on the Kona coast, where the famed Kona Coffee Belt can be found today. Due to its perfect blend of altitude, sun and exceptionally fertile soil, this region’s tropical fields produce what is arguably the world’s best coffee.

You may even want to visit during the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, which features free tasting, parades, a coffee-picking contest and even a beauty pageant!

#4 Colombia

As the third largest exporter of coffee on the globe, Colombia’s coffee is of such importance to the economy that all cars entering the country are sprayed to kill bacteria that could harm crops. The Eje Cafetero or Coffee Triangle might be the world’s best coffee region, and it’s located right in central Colombia within hours of the country’s capital.

Coffee is an integral part of Colombian culture and nowhere is this more celebrated than in the Eje Cafetero, where you can drive down Coffee Highway, stroll through Coffee Park or tour coffee haciendas (colonial-era country homes) that dot the region.

Cities like Manizales, Pereira and Armenia make good bases to explore the coffee plantations in the area, but even a drive through these sloping green valleys yield the aroma of fresh ground in the springtime air.

#5 Vietnam

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Vietnamese coffee hasn’t become popularized for its special production or fascinating history, but for the way it’s served: strong, sweet and iced. A French metal filter sits atop your cup taking in coarse grounds and exuding concentrated, bitter brew that’s spiked with sweetened condensed milk and usually enjoyed cold.

Coffee was introduced to Vietnamese culture in the late 19th century during French colonial rule. Most beans are of the robusta variety (as opposed to arabica) and come from the country’s central region. A great place to sample the iced coffee is on Hang Hanh (Coffee Street) in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

From Coffee Street in Hanoi to Coffee Highway in Colombia, people around the world are showing their love for coffee in distinct ways, and taking the time to enjoy it on their terms can open you up to experiencing the world in a completely different way. So on your next vacation, make sure to take your coffee the way the locals do.

About the author

Bani Amor

Bani Amor is a travel writer from Brooklyn by way of Ecuador. She is a travel columnist for YouQueen.com, a contributing writer for Nowhere Magazine's blog, and editor of Everywhere All The Time's Postcards series.

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