As I took a sip from my morning cup of Arabica coffee, I was taken back the the highlands of Colombia. I recall the fresh air, the green landscape and the incredible aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans.
One of the pleasures of travelling the world is discovering a country’s culture and history. Coffee and tea plantation tours offer a great way to see a place. Apart from enjoying the unique landscapes, you get a glimpse of the rural life and get to know more about where your favorite hot beverage comes from.
Here are some of the world’s best coffee and and tea plantation tours, as told by travel bloggers:
Wonosari Tea Plantation in Malang, East Java, Indonesia
For tea lovers like us, a visit to a tea plantation is always a treat, especially when the trip takes us off the beaten path. Our visit to the Wonosari Tea Plantation, Malang in East Java was one of those experiences. Located on the slopes of Mount Arjuna about 30 km from the city of Malang, the Wonosari Tea Plantation is a destination in and of itself with accommodation options and other facilities available on site. The tea plantation tour takes visitors through the tea grounds, the sorting room, and the processing plant and ends with a tea tasting session of the finest teas from the region. We walked away with a new love for Jasmine Green Tea!
Oksana and Max – Drink Tea & Travel
Kiambethu Tea Farm near Nairobi, Kenya
A little outside of Nairobi, you’ll find Kiambethu Tea Farm. The lovely English cottage where the lovely owner Fiona lives is surrounded by nothing but greens. Her garden is an oasis and a short walk away the fields of tea are found. They only grow black tea here, which is mainly exported to the UK. You can book the experience online, explore the tea fields and Fiona and her staff will serve a wonderful lunch with several courses. Enjoy a day outside the bustling Nairobi and listen to the stories that Fiona has to tell. To know more, check out Viktoria’s tea farm experience in Nairobi, Kenya.
Viktoria – Chronic Wanderlust
Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation in Kona, Hawaii
As coffee-lovers, we were ecstatic to visit Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation during a visit to Kona, Hawaii. Besides having an awesome name, a visit to their tasting room with gorgeous views high up on the mountainside overlooking Kona and the sea is a great way to spend a day on the Big Island of Hawaii. During our visit to Hula Daddy, we sampled nutty, and rich caramel-tasting coffees as well as taking a walking tour that included actually putting on a basket and picking cherries from the arabica trees in the plantation. Along with their award-winning coffee roasting methods, this boutique coffee company is eco-friendly and does not use any pesticides…but they do have a problem with wild pigs who like to eat the cherries! If you are visiting Kona, be sure to save an afternoon to check out Hula Daddy. To know more, check out Liz and Josh’s experience at Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation in Kona, Hawaii.
Liz and Josh – Peanuts or Pretzels
BOH Tea Plantation in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Tea plantations dominate Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands region, where jagged rows of green leaves blanket the hilly countryside. BOH Plantations is the largest, producing 5.5 million cups of black tea per day, or 70% of all tea grown in the country. Tours of the plantation take visitors through the fields and the factory, explaining how tea is grown, harvested, and processed – and of course, you can try a cup of tea in their café at the end. The plantations can be visited independently if you have your own transportation, but the easiest way to reach them is on a day tour from Tanah Rata, the largest town in the Highlands.
Jen and Ryan – Passions and Places
Pedro Tea Estate in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya is a popular destination in Sri Lanka for people who want to get out of the heat and experience “Little England”. It is also a great destination for people who love tea! Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by tea plantations which makes for a very scenic train ride to this town. Once you are here, a popular tea plantation to visit is Pedro Tea Estate. Pedro Tea Estate is an absolutely stunning location and you can do tours of the factory. The factory is very simple with a fair bit done by hand which adds to the experience. The final part of the visit is tea on the balcony. Being Sri Lanka, ceylon tea is produced. The tea at Pedro Tea Estate is a very light variety with its own distinctive taste unique to the area. You can also walk through the plantation and there are some lovely walks in the area. To know more, check out Sharon and her family’s experience at Pedro Tea Estate in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.
Sharon – Where’s Sharon?
Tea Estates in the Hill Country, Sri Lanka
My favourite thing about Sri Lanka is tea, of course. I love the landscape in the Hill Country covered with tea estates and the smell of dried tea leaves inside every tea factory. The process of manufacturing is a must see in Sri Lanka as it helps to understand how complicated is tea production and how hard is this work for local people (unfortunately, for a little money). In Sri Lanka there are many places where you can visit a tea factory and try some tea tasting, like Nuwara Eliya, Hatton or Haputale. However, my favourite is Halpewatte in Ella, where you can see the process of the production of black tea and later go for a walk in the mountains and admire tea estates.
Hanna – Hanna Travels
Coffee Plantation – Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
I’m addicted to coffee! One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new destination is to find out if there is a coffee tour in town. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, I found many cute cafes selling from international beans to local coffee. But my craving for good coffee was only satisfied when I visited the hill tribes in the Doi Inthanon National Park. In a small village we had the opportunity to walk around the Arabica coffee trees growing in the wild, to see the families drying the beans and even to roast our own coffee on a wooden fire. The history behind this organic farm is impressive. Back in 1979, the beloved King of Thailand visited the hill tribes to help them replace the illegal opium crops for coffee trees. Nowadays, the region produces one of the best coffees in Thailand, where all the beans are picked and roasted manually, giving the coffee an aroma and taste that is hard to resist. If you travel to Thailand, you must visit the Doi Inthanon Mountain. Visiting the coffee plantations is one of the best and most unique things to do in Chiang Mai.
Nat and Rob – Love and Road
Tea Plantation in Kericho, Kenya
Making our way into the damp highlands of West Kenya was a welcome relief after the weeks of camping across the arid central part of the country. We had arrived in Kericho, the tea capital of Kenya and the third largest tea producing area of the world behind India and Sri Lanka. Its climate is famously reliable, year-round afternoon rain showers make it the most important tea-growing area in Africa.
The tea fields seemed to go on infinitely into the distance with the highest produced tea plant being black tea. Green tea, yellow tea and white tea are also grown but on special order only. Surprisingly, Kericho is the largest exporter of tea to Britain and makes up a large portion of Kenya’s export trade.
Lina and David – Divergent Travelers
De la Gente Coffee Tour in Antigua, Guatemala
De la Gente means “from the people” in Spanish & that’s exactly where their coffee comes from. They’re a non-profit organization, working with local coffee farming communities to improve production & reap better rewards from their harvest. De la Gente’s 100% Arabica coffee is grown on the slopes of volcanoes. On their tour, you walk through coffee fields with a local farmer, before returning to their house to roast, grind & brew your own coffee! In Guatemala, the traditional way to roast coffee at home is over a fire, on a hot cooking plate. You have the chance to try this, as well as grind your own beans with a stone rolling pin! For an authentic & meaningful cultural experience in Central America, don’t miss the Coffee Tour with De la Gente – we guarantee that you’ll never take a cup of coffee for granted again! To know more, check out Sheena’s story about the De la Gente Coffee Tour in Antigua, Guatemala.
Sheena – DIY Travel HQ
Tamara Coffee Estate in Coorg, India
The best way to explore a coffee plantation is to stay in one. We opted to stay at a sprawling estate in Coorg, India called the Tamara, which offered fantastic views of the plantation as well as a plantation tour as an in-house activity for guests. Walking in a plantation is a very satisfying activity especially so because it involves most of our senses – you smell, see, touch and taste the coffee. The activity was informative as well, from differentiating between a Robusta and an Arabica tree, to a short demonstration on the various processes used to arrive at the coffee bean we use for our cuppa. The best part was that after the guide detailed out the processes, we were asked to “process” the beans in small scale models of the machines to arrive at the final product. We were then instructed on creating a blend with an optimal mix of the beans for the best flavour. The beans we created became our takeaway from the tour and we each got to taste the coffee made from our “batches”. A stimulating end to what was one of the best laid tours we’ve seen. To know more, check out Rishab and Nirali’s experience at Tamara Tea Estate in Coorg, India.
Rishab and Nirali – Gyspycouple
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate in Munnar, Kerala State, India
We drove all the way from Bangalore to Munnar. The resort owner helped us book a jeep to drive through the tea plantations of Kolukkumalai tea estate which is one of the highest tea estates in the world. We drove through the mist covered intricate patterns of verdant tea plantations to the summit of 7130 ft., which is the border between Tamilnadu and Kerala states. We also visited the tea factory where a guide walked us through the factory equipment and the processing of the handpicked leaves into packaged tea using traditional methods. The tour ended with several cups of refreshing tea. To know more, check out Rashmi and Chalukya’s experience at Kolukkumalai tea Estate in Kerala, India.
Rashmi and Chalukya – Go Beyond Bounds
Finca las Brisas in Salento, Colombia
Colombia is famous throughout the world for its coffee. It is the third biggest producer of coffee in the world! No trip to Colombia is complete without exploring its “Zona Cafeteria” or coffee zone which features incredible mountain scenery, charming colonial towns and various coffee plantations. We went on a coffee farm tour in Salento, Colombia at Finca las Brisas (Don Elias) — a small, family owned organic farm. From the stages in the life of a coffee plant to the concept of organic farming, our guide gave us the chance to learn how they grow their coffee. We were also shown how coffee beans are processed. He explained the cycle from the harvest of coffee cherries to the roasting or coffee beans. Finally, we got to try Colombian Arabica coffee — it was delicious. It was definitely the best coffee we had ever tried!
Selva Negra Coffee Estate in Matagalpa, Nicaragua
We knew little about Nicaragua until we went there. To our surprise, this country filled with natural wonders is also home to great coffee. In the highlands of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, as we went for walks along cloud forests, we also came across coffee farms. One of the more popular ones in the area is Selva Negra Coffee Estate, a flash retreat close to nature. While we didn’t get the chance to do a proper coffee tour, we did see a lot of coffee plants. We also got to try the delicious arabica coffee from their restaurant. If you had the chance to to a coffee tour in Matagalpa, let us know what it the experience was like.
Coffee Plantations of Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador
In the heart of El Salvador’s coffee region lies the scenic Ruta de las Flores (Route of the Flowers). Ruta de las Flores consists of five small towns along a winding 35 km stretch of highway along the mountains. The name “Ruta de las Flores” was derived from the coffee flower blooms during the month of May. It was also a great place to enjoy delicious El Salvador coffee. Coffee tours can be arranged from certain towns if you want to know more about the coffee. But you can also walk along certain coffee farms near town on your own.
Have you done a coffee or tea plantation tour during your travels? Where did you go? Let us know.