If you love coffee, how about planning your next trip in search of the perfect cup? To help you with this quest, we have prepared a list of the best coffee destinations in the world.
Just like the way you order coffee, the list is quite eclectic. It includes destinations where coffee is a millennial tradition, places to experience coffee production up close, and cities with vibrant coffee scenes full of trendy coffee shops and passionate roasters on every corner.
Coffee Destinations in the Americas
Brazil: São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Paraná
Coffee is the second most consumed beverage by Brazilians. The country is the largest coffee producer in the world, with countless coffee farms spread across several regions.
The city of São Paulo is known for its huge variety of coffee shops, roasters, and labs. It is also constantly launching trends across the country – such as the innovative Coffee Lab, which works as a coffee academy.
São Paulo is the perfect starting point for several coffee routes in Minas Gerais and Paraná. It is possible to plan complete itineraries specialized in coffee, including visits to historic farms and accommodation in rural properties.
Colombia: The Coffee Triangle
The coffee produced in Colombia is considered one of the best coffees in the world. Even its production areas have been certified by the European Union with the IGP (Protected Geographical Indication). Coffee tourism in the country is very popular, especially in the region of the Coffee Triangle – between the cities of Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío.
Argentina: Buenos Aires
Argentina is not only about parrilla, wine, and tango. It is also a coffee destination to include in your itinerary. Although Buenos Aires has offered various cafes since the mid-19th century, coffee culture has only recently begun to grow in the city.
In the city, try the classic café con Leche (similar to the traditional latte) or the lágrima, which is milk with hot foam and a few drops of coffee.
Coffee shops in Havana, the capital of Cuba, usually grind their beans on the spot. The preparation of Cuban coffee is also quite peculiar. It is served very sweet, an espresso shot full of sugar to be drunk with a single shot, usually in the late afternoon. A great choice for boosting your energy at the end of the day!
Panama: Boquete, Chiriquí
The entire Central American region has geographical (high altitudes) and climatic conditions favorable for growing coffee, from Mexico to Panama.
Panamá is the highlight of the Caribbean due to its numerous gourmet coffees. One example is El Geisha Arabica coffee, which stands out for its floral aromas, fruity tones, and delicate acidity.
The city of Boquete, located in Chiriquí, is a region surrounded by fertile land favorable for coffee cultivation and is also close to the Volcán Barú National Park.
Because of its sustainable proposal, Vancouver in Canada must be on this list. The city promotes initiatives of production and preparation of organic and fresh beans.
A walk around the city is enough to find several options of small coffee shops with baristas talented in preparing and extracting the beans. A good suggestion is to try cold brew coffee, very popular in the city.
United States: Seattle
Seattle is considered one of the world’s coffee roasting centers. Some even compare it to Rome, Vienna, and Melbourne in terms of coffee culture.
The demand for specialty beans is such that the proliferation of coffee shops throughout the city has been enormous in recent years. It is no wonder it is the birthplace of the world’s largest and most famous coffee shop chain: Starbucks, which still has its inaugural store in Pike Place Market.
Seattle has roasting points in cool neighborhoods like the University District and Capitol Hill. Even the Watertown Hotel has its own coffee shop, Pineapple.
Coffee Destinations in Africa
Ethiopia: Addis Ababa
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and one of the largest producers in the world. Coffee is so important in the local culture that it is part of a special ceremony held as a friendship sign. In the ceremony, people spend hours roasting, grinding, and preparing coffee to enjoy in groups.
In the capital Addis Ababa, you will find the best coffee shops in the country. The city offers options of coffee shops with different profiles, which mix traditions, millennial techniques, and ceremonies with the trends and novelties of the current scenario.
Coffee Destinations in Europe
Vienna is one of the world’s most traditional coffee destinations. Coffee in Vienna is even considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco.
One of the most famous preparations is the Wiener Melange (Viennese Blend), an espresso served with milk foam. Another option is the Einspänner, which is topped with a considerable layer of whipped cream instead of milk foam.
On a visit to the city, do not miss the Viennese cafes or kaffeehaus in the Weiden district, a hipster neighborhood in the region. Vienna also has a park dedicated to the founder of its first coffee house, Johannes Diodado, and hosts the famous Vienna Coffee Festival.
Italy is one of the European forerunners of coffee brewing, and Rome is one of the best destinations for coffee shop lovers. Italian creations include the famous espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and caffè d’orzo.
In Italy, it is important to know that coffee shops are called bars, and the price of coffee can vary according to the way you order. If you ask for “un caffè al tavolo”, at the table, it can cost twice as much as “un caffè al banco” – consumed at the counter.
Each region of country blends its cultural identity, bringing different types of grains and roasts into the drink preparation. For example, if you visit Sicily, try caffè d’un parrinu, an Arabic-inspired coffee flavored with cloves, cinnamon, and cocoa.
There is no lack of cafes in Paris. Many of which with tables on the sidewalks of charming streets. Sitting down to a Parisian-style coffee is like being in a scene from a movie.
The trendy 11th arrondissement neighborhood is where the creative community gathers for fun and good food, including bars and boutique cafes.
The city of Lviv in Ukraine was also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its coffee tradition, dating back to the late 18th century. The Austrian newcomers to the region who established the coffee culture, an important part of the country’s history.
For a taste of Ukrainian coffee, be sure to go to the Virmenka coffee shop near the Vintage Boutique Hotel, a 15th-century building located in Lviv’s historic center.
It is no surprise that Holland is on this list. Amsterdam boasts several coffee shops and roasting spots frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Turkey is undoubtedly one of the most traditional countries in coffee culture. The country has been drinking coffee since the Ottoman period. Istanbul is an excellent destination if you like full-bodied, concentrated coffee and are in the mood for a unique coffee experience.
The traditional Turkish coffee preparation is quite different from the conventional one. For Turkish coffee, the bean must be dark roasted and finely ground. The drink is not strained, and the coffee powder is mixed with water until it boils in a kettle called a cezve. Then it is served directly into cups, traditionally made of porcelain (kahve finkanı).
Since Turkish coffee is unfiltered, coffee grounds remain at the bottom of the cup. You need to stop drinking a little before you reach the end to avoid drinking the grounds.
Have you ever heard of Caffeomancy: the art of reading the future on coffee grounds? Well, take advantage of your trip to Turkey to read your fortune at the bottom of the cup.
Coffee Destinations in Asia
Vietnam: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
The coffee bean was brought to Vietnam by French settlers in the mid-19th century, who employed a unique brewing style for Robusta beans.
The most popular preparation is the Cà phê den, made with a metal filter (phin) that directly drops the drink into the cup. It is a short, strong, full-bodied coffee with a persistent chocolate flavor.
Besides pure black coffee, Vietnamese coffee is also served with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom of the glass, hot or with ice. The reason is to sweeten and balance the bitterness. This type of coffee is called Cà phê sữa.
But the most unusual preparation is the Cà phê trứng, translated as Egg Coffee, which takes a cream on top made with egg yolk and condensed milk, practically a dessert.
Although it is one of the world’s leading coffee producers, India’s tea is still preferred among the locals. For this reason, the production of Indian coffee beans has been focused on exporting to Europe, especially Italy.
But, coffee has its place, being widely consumed in the south of the country. One of the most traditional ways of drinking coffee in India is the Filter Kaapi. The drink, which goes by the name of Kaapi, is a strong, full-bodied mixture that contains approximately 80% coffee beans and 20% chicory. It is prepared with a little milk and sugar using a typical Indian filter. The best place to try Filter Kaapi is in Chennai, where it is called Madras Coffee.
A highlight in Indian coffee is the process called Monsoon Malabar, in which the coffee beans are exposed during the monsoons from July to September. Its main characteristics are low acidity, intense flavor, and full-bodied.
Read more: Discover India’s most traditional beverages
Indonesia: Jakarta and Yogyakarta
Indonesia is another producing country with a coffee culture well rooted in the local lifestyle. The country is famous for its unique varieties and methods, such as Java, Sumatra, Toraja, and Gayo coffee.
Jakarta is full of coffee shops, offering a whole experience of its rich coffee culture with beans from many islands of the archipelago. For a more immersive cultural experience, add the city of Yogyakarta to your itinerary, which is also on Java Island. There, try the Kopi Joss, a cup of coffee literally heated with embers, served at street stalls called warung kopi.
Want to know more? Check out the typical foods of Indonesia.
Indonesia also produces one of the most expensive coffees in the world: Kopi Luwak, which has its beans harvested from the feces of this animal native to the region.
Note: If you are going to try Luwak coffee, look for certified companies. The lack of regularization in the industry has contributed to the emergence of businesses with abusive practices and animal mistreatment. For this reason, we chose not to try the Luwak coffee during our stay in the country, giving preference to other types of coffee, which by the way, are delicious and worth trying!
Taipei has become a true paradise for coffee lovers. One of the city’s outstanding techniques is cold brew, made with a long cold infusion or water at room temperature. The technique, of Japanese origin, is already employed in several other countries and has opened doors to create various coffee drinks and cocktails.
Expect to find modern coffee shops in Taipei with high-quality, freshly ground beans.
Coffee Destinations in Oceania
Melbourne is considered the coffee capital of Australia with numerous options of coffee shops. Each area in the city has coffee shops with different styles, from hipster ones to more traditional ones.
Also, Melbourne is the home of the International Coffee Trade Show. Your coffee shop tour must include Abode 361 and Axil Coffee Roasters.
New Zealand: Wellington
Wellington is a coffee destination where the culture is based on its diversity. The city offers a few options of roasting points in the downtown area. There, you can smell coffee already from the streets.
The coffee shops scattered around the place range from modern, hipster to more traditional waterfront options.