Defining The Coffee Belt
Coffee destinations are found across the "Coffee Belt," which sits between 25ºN and 30ºS of the equator. Over 50 countries exist in the region and share similar climates and precipitation levels for growing coffee trees. But while these countries share similar conditions, they also have key differences. When choosing a coffee destination, ask yourself what roasts you personally enjoy and follow the trail.
Experience Robusta Coffee in Vietnam
Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee producer and the leading esporter of Robusta coffee. While traveling the country's 2,000-mile coast, one can experience regional differences in climate, traditions, food, and, of course, coffee.
Hanoi is home to the creamy egg coffee that's perfect for the north's crisp mornings. This delicious drink consists of whipped egg yolks with condensed milk on top of fresh espresso. If you visit a café in warm Ho Chi Minh City, you'll likely see patrons sipping on iced coffee with condensed milk. But it's in Vietnam's Central Highlands, away from the big cities, where one can truly experience the country's coffee culture.
In the 1920s, the French established coffee production zones in these central provinces due to their distinct seasons. Buon Me Thuot is now the region's largest city and the country's official "Coffee Capital." The city hosts an annual coffee festival and is home to the Trung Nguyen Coffee Village, an immersive museum on the region's rich coffee history.
Explore Coffee Plantations in Brazil's Heartland
The world's leader in coffee production, Brazil produces 2,652,000 metric tons annually. About 80% of Brazil's coffee industry produces Arabica coffee beans in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Paraná. But it's in Minas Gerais, Brazil's Heartland, where travelers can fully dive into Brazilian coffee.
Here, tourists can take guided tours of coffee farms, participate in barista courses, and experience "tasting rituals" for various Brazilian blends.
Visit Coffee Farms in Colombia's Andes
Colombia's coffee industry sits in the Andes Mountains, where conditions are perfect for growing Arabica coffee beans.
Colombia's "Coffee Triangle" includes the government departments of Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda. These mountainous regions are full of picturesque towns, colorful haciendas, and educational experiences for learning about Colombian coffee.
The vibrant town of Pijao is another great coffee destination and filled with cafés serving freshly ground coffee. Visitors can also tour local farms, partake in coffee tastings, and enjoy their hot morning cup in the breathtaking Andes Mountains.
Island Hopping, Coffee Style — Indonesia
With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is an incredibly diverse country with a significant role in our coffee network. In fact, coffee is sometimes referred to as "Java," a nickname that comes from Indonesia's most populous island. While there's still a vibrant coffee industry in Java, you'll also find plenty of coffee in Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Bali.
Indonesia is yet to develop a national coffee route for tourists, but you can taste regional specialties at local cafés. Sumatra's Arabica coffee has earthy flavors originating from the island's volcanic soil and is wet-processed. Java's Arabica coffee is also wet-processed and tends to have a sweeter, smoother finish. Sulawesi Arabica coffee has a signature spiciness with hints of cinnamon and cardamom. And Bali is famous for its kopi luwak – one of the world's most expensive specialty coffees. Known for its peculiar fermentation process that involves Indonesia's palm civet cats, kopi luwak is both controversial and highly sought after for its sweet and full-bodied flavors.
Although these regional specialties are primarily Arabica, most of Indonesia's coffee exports are Robusta coffee beans. These exports make up a large portion of Indonesia's instant coffee and espresso production.
Ethiopian Coffee – The Original Brew
Ethiopia's Kaffa Province is the Arabica plant's original home and where we sourced the word coffee. Nowadays, coffee plays a significant role in Ethiopian culture. It's a means for gathering with friends and is the central component in traditional coffee ceremonies.
When visiting villages or bustling Addis Ababa, coffee tourists can partake in elaborate coffee rituals performed by local women. In cities, you'll regularly find street vendors preparing coffee in this traditional style for people on the go. Coffee rituals are typically a way to welcome guests or celebrate and can take two to three hours. The host roasts raw coffee beans over a fire and boils the grounds in spouted clay vessels. Your host may offer you sugar, infuse your Ethiopian coffee with cardamom, or provide snacks like popcorn with your fresh cup.