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Though any travel destination could ideally offer a traveler a unique culinary experience, there is also something to be said for finding a culinary mainstay that transcends borders. Coffee culture is undoubtedly global in its scope, and for the coffee enthusiast, making this beverage a travel theme is easy to do. Read on for a few highlights in the coffee tourism scene.
1. New York City
For stateside travel, look no further than the NYC Craft Coffee Festival, tucked in Brooklyn’s Villain venue. For about $50 a ticket attendees can sample coffees from 20 different roasters, in addition to enjoying live music and snacks from the Brooklyn Biscuit Company and Underwest Doughnuts. Moreover, New York hosts hundreds of coffee shops, with the indie counter culture brands outnumbering big chains, meaning you’ll have access to a variety of interesting sipping experiences. The quintessentially on-the-go city, it’s no surprise that coffee culture is alive and thriving in NYC.
Indonesia is the third largest exporter of coffee, and coffee culture varies by region (and purpose, be it culinary, religion, or part of a beauty and wellness routines), often reflecting the confluence of Western and Eastern fingerprints on Indonesia’s history and development. In Bali, Satri Coffee Plantation is a oft-visited and warmly reviewed spot in the Indonesian coffee tourism scene. Reviewers cite the generous coffee and tea sampling held after the tour as the highlight. Indonesia is also the birthplace of the famous kopi luwak civet-process coffee — made from civet droppings; however, you may want to question the ethics of this brew before ordering.
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3. Salento, Colombia
Cafe Jesús Martín comes with rave reviews, but perhaps more intriguing than this is the mission of the Martín family to be “builders of a new story in a time when our coffee production should be valued and appreciated.” Committed to quality, experience, and community, Guardian travel writer Kevin Rushby described the family as one “trying to introduce Colombians to the idea of coffee as a drink,” not just a cash crop. Tourists can visit their “Experiences” page to sign up for one or all three options: the farm, the factory, and the store.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
Considered the country’s national drink, look no further than Turkey for coffee-infused travel. The Turkish Coffee Trail in Istanbul includes a trip to the Turkish coffee history museum (yes, this is real!), a Turkish coffee course, and a tour of historic Turkish coffee sites–a great way to sip on this country’s rich culture. Added bonus: your tour includes a souvenir coffee-making glass.
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5. Florence, Italy
For those who want to try their hand at learning how to craft the perfect coffee, sign up for a class at the Mokaflor Espresso Academy. Plenty of options are available for those with a vested interest in becoming a barista. For those who’d rather remain caffeinated enthusiasts, try the “Discovery” course. In three hours you’ll visit a roaster area, learn about Italy’s coffee history and culture, sample a few roasts, and learn the techniques for making cappuccinos, lattes (including latte art), and espressos.
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This is just a smattering of options for embedding coffee into your itinerary. Across the globe, one can find ways for this iconic beverage to become a “way in” to learning about and appreciating cultures across oceans and continents, or right at home.
What’s your favorite destination for coffee travel?
By Paige Sullivan