Vacation is usually all about rest and relaxation, but what if you spent your holiday getting caffeinated, too? We explore why chasing down a coffee dream makes a great getaway, and offer five possible destinations (no decaf) for your first trip of the new year.
Coffee traveling is a job for some (myself occasionally included), but visiting a farm or taking part in a traditional coffee-drinking ceremony doesn't have to be all work and no play. For one thing, coffee grows best in vacation-friendly climates: It thrives in lush, mountainous regions between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, where "frost" is something you might do to your hair, rather than something that threatens vegetation.
Additionally, places where coffee is central to life have other adventures in store for a jittery traveler: Kenya has a complicated colonial-coffee-plantation history as well as incredible flora and fauna, while Nicaragua has miles of unspoiled coastal beauty in addition to its tropical coffee farms, and Italy has the corner not only on espresso, but also pasta like Nonna used to make (only better).
Not only do I try to incorporate coffee into my own for-pleasure travel—ask me about my favorite coffee shops in Oklahoma City and Flagstaff, Arizona, for instance—but I also always manage to sneak a little fun into my coffee-related trips as well. (Ask me about seeing a howler monkey on a hike in Nicaragua, or about jogging past ancient ruins to run off a caffeine high in Rome.)
Here are a few great places to start planning out a mug-worthy trip—and don't forget to send me a postcard!
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.