We may have mentioned it before, but Amanda and I do love our coffee — and not just any murky cup. We prefer a quality brew, some might even go so far as to call us coffee snobs. So, as snobs we know that a good cup comes from a good bean from a great estate, selected and roasted with care. We also know if you’re that interested in coffee in the coffee in your cup, you might want to see the process from plant to roast.
Last year we had the chance to take a tour of a coffee plantation in Tanzania near Ngorogoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Farm House is a wonderful place to stay on any safari and is situated on a fully functional farm complete, with coffee groves. I was fascinated as we walked through row after row of coffee plants, making me feel like we were in a hedge maze made of the shiny leaves and the small red and green berries. The guide explained the history of coffee in the region and about the practice of cultivation of the valuable plants. A key perk of the farm house is that the coffee is free. You can walk into the roasting room anytime and find a couple of pots brewed and waiting for you to take out onto the veranda and live out your Victorian Africa fantasy.
Kona Coffee, cultivated on the Big Island of Hawaii, is famous for its smooth and mellow taste and being one of the most expensive bags of beans in the world. The folks at the award-winning Mountain Thunder estate say they will “teach you about coffee from bean to cup,” offering both free and VIP tours of the estate. The family-owned and run farm takes pride in their sustainable cultivation methods and their organic certification. The Kona Coffee tours have CEO and Founder Trent A. Bateman (or his staff) take you through the process from dry-milling, sizing, sorting on the gravity table, color sorting and roasting, all the way to bagging before letting you enjoy a free cup of Kona — and maybe a visit from one of their “absolutely adorable” cats Pumpkin, Bo and Herman.
Mountain Thunder is also available for weddings and private group tours, the VIP tour also includes a nature walk, looking at a lava tube and an introduction to their 350-pound pet pig named Ezzy. You can also have a lesson in roasting with a private lesson to help you live out your Roastmaster dreams.
If a trip to Hawaii for a coffee tour in paradise isn’t in the cards, stay a little closer to home. The Britt Coffee Tour in Costa Rica will take you from farm to roasting to sipping.
Wherever your morning cup happens to originate, or how close you’ve come to the beans that made it happen, we raise our mugs to you! Cheers!