Slideshow: 5 Great Vacation Spots for Coffee Lovers

Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Eco-lodges in the coffee-growing region of Nicaragua not only allow guests to get up close and personal with the plants themselves, but also give them a bird's-eye view of some of the most beautiful natural environments on earth. The mountainous Matagalpa region is home to, among other things, a beautiful historic coffee farm dating back from 1891, Selva Negra. A luxury resort on the property doubles as a haven for bird watchers, hikers, horseback riders, and eco-tourists of all stripes. Guests can explore the grounds, eat in the farm's homestyle German-Nicaraguan restaurant, and, if the time of year is right, maybe even try their hands at picking ripe coffee cherry.

Picking coffee cherries in Nicaragua. [Photo: Meister]

Italy
Italy
Making a trip to espresso's birthplace can be a bit like a barbecue fanatic's first trip through the smoked-meat belt: Each region has its own coffee culture and style, and there's nothing quite like downing an espresso in the shadow of the Colosseum or after a brisk walk across Ponte Vecchio.

Remember to drink like an Italian, but don't overdo it: A cappuccino in the morning, a shot of espresso around lunchtime, and one more after work hours should satisfy your need for caffeine without sending you over the edge. (Take it from me: I got caffeine intoxication in Rome after downing eight straight shots and lost half a day of touring because I had to sleep off the shakes.)

Must visits:

Caffe al Bicerin, Torino: The namesake chocolate-coffee confection alone is worth the trip.

The La Marzocco Factory, Tuscany: An espresso-machine museum greets visitors to the factory, where the pieces are still hand-crafted to order.

Sant'Eustacho il Caffè, Rome: What's the secret to this coffee? The baristas won't tell, and you won't care: Don't ask, just drink.

Espresso in Florence, Italy. [Photo: Meister]

Brazil
Brazil
There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil, and plenty of ways to vacation amidst it. You can take a horseback tour through a typical historic plantation, or spend some dedicated time touring different fazendas, or farms, with a group to get the full immersive experience.

Although Carnival will fall in early February this year—a bit early to partake in both the revelry and the beginning of the coffee harvest, which typically kicks off around April—planning a visit around the party should still correspond with plenty to see on working coffee farms. Cherries will be just starting to ripen, and the larger operations will surely be in high-gear, prepping for the start of picking.

On a Brazilian coffee farm. [Photo: Flickr user Jaminsky]

Kenya
Kenya
Coffee and tourism are two of Kenya's biggest industries, so it's only natural to combine them with plantation tours. Several trekking companies offer agricultural tours in addition to the more traditional safari trips, and guests can walk the grounds on coffee, tea, and flower farms among other things. Kenyan coffees are a coffee-connoisseur favorite, and what would be better than enjoying a cup of it under that massive Kenyan sky?

Washing coffee cherry in Kenya. [Photo: Counter Culture Coffee]