There is so much to love about coffee, but even more to love about it when you have the chance to share a cup with someone special in your life. But, we think that there is a way to take the coffee sharing experience to a new level, and that is by getting up out of your seat and heading out the door.
We are talking about a coffee vacation. No, not a vacation from coffee, but rather a vacation that takes you further into coffee culture. There are plenty of place all over the world that are famous for their coffee culture. But, you don’t have to travel too far to immerse yourself in the coffee experience.
Some of the best locations are right here in the United States.
For the coffee lover in you, we have put together a list of 5 of our favorite coffee destinations in the US. No need for a passport, just grab your travel mug and someone to share the experience with.
1. Portland, Oregon
Why not start off our list with the unofficial coffee capital of the United States?
Portland is home to over 40 micro roasters and literally hundreds of coffee shops. That is pretty impressive for a city that reaches just over 300,000 in population.
It's safe to say that Portland is saturated with coffee culture, and that the residents are likely saturated with caffeine. If you want a destination where coffee really is an integral part of daily life, Portland wins a gold star on the map.
Visiting the local coffee roasters is an important part of the Portland coffee experience. Stumptown Roasters, Portland’s most famous, is an example of one not-to-miss stop, along with others like Coava and Heart Coffee Roasters.
This is the perfect destination for coffee lovers who might want to try their own hand at home roasting. There is so much variety, so much depth and knowledge of the coffee industry in this town that it is impossible to leave and not have your knowledge and appreciation for coffee be richer from the experience.
2. Seattle, Washington
If you are looking for a destination that is considered the birthplace of modern coffee culture, Seattle is the spot to be. It was Seattle that gave birth to Starbucks. You might love Starbucks, or maybe you’re not a fan, but either way, there is no denying that the flagship location in Seattle was the beginning of a coffee revolution in America.
Coffee culture is so big in Seattle that they lay claim to having more coffee houses than any other city in the United States. What is it about Seattle that fosters such a love affair with our favorite beverage?
To be honest, we aren’t entirely sure. There is just something about the atmosphere, the slight chill in the air that beckons a call for a steamy cup of coffee, which is better enjoyed with someone to share it with.
When you visit Seattle, don’t miss out on the chance to visit the waterfront and the Pike Place Market. Yes, this is the inspiration for Starbucks’s Pike’s Place blend, but a trip to the market and you will understand why it was the inspiration for one of the brand’s most popular brews.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is the perfect combination of equal parts spice and romance that makes it one of the best destinations for coffee lovers in the United States.
New Orleans isn’t on this list because they are a mecca of coffee culture in the same way that Portland or Seattle are. No, New Orleans has a charm that is quite different, and one that lends itself beautifully to the coffee experience.
To begin with, coffee is a bit different in this Louisiana city. So different, in fact, that it has its own name. New Orleans is famous for the addition of chicory, which is used to soften and mellow the darker roasts that are predominately preferred in the region.
While in the city, don’t forget to try a New Orleans style coffee, which is a cold brewed coffee with the addition of chicory that is steeped for at least 12 hours.
After that it is sweetened with organic cane sugar and served with milk. The result is chilled drink that is silky, smooth and a little nutty. Much like New Orleans itself.
When immersing yourself in New Orleans culture, make sure you take a stop at Café du Monde, the original coffee stand established in the New Orleans French Market in 1862. Here you can enjoy fresh beignets while enjoying a cup of the iconic Café du Monde brew.
4. New York City, New York
Is there anything more iconic than the image of a New Yorker and his coffee?
Coffee houses have always been a big scene in the Big Apple, and now indie coffee shops outnumber big chains like Starbucks in the city. New Yorkers love their coffee, but they also love the coffee experience, and that is what makes this one of the best destinations for coffee lovers everywhere.
There are two things you should do when in NYC. The first is make a plan to visit the most exceptional, outstanding coffee joints in the city and then, plan on hitting up the local roasters for a tour, and of course samplings.
No indie coffee tour would be complete without stops at The Whynot Café, A.B. Biagi, or Grumpy’s Coffee Shop. But, if the weather is just too beautiful, or you happen to be in town to enjoy the splendor of NY is around the holidays, you might want to take your cuppa outside and enjoy it while fully immersed in NYC culture. Central park, especially Sheep Meadow is the perfect spot to sip and people watch.
After a day of sightseeing and Java sipping, plan for a day of roaster touring. Check out local coffee roasting artisans like City of Saints Coffee Roasters, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters or Gorilla coffee. We promise that you won’t be disappointed along the way.
Finally, while you are in New York City, take a minute to savor your coffee and enjoy the energy that surrounds you. There are few places on earth that can provide you with that experience.
5. Kona, Hawaii
Coffee lovers know that coffee from the Kona region of Hawaii is some of the most premier coffee in the world.
The origin, known for its bright acidity is a favorite of coffee connoisseurs around the world. The perfect cup of Kona has notes that are slightly nutty, a little buttery and with just a hint of coriander.
There is only one thing better than a freshly brewed cup of Kona, and that is a freshly brewed cup of Kona enjoyed while in Hawaii.
Kona is grown in the mineral rich soils of the Kona region on the Big Island. Hawaii’s coffee growing region is viewed with as much respect as say the wine growing regions of California. There is another similarity between Kona coffee and California wines, and that is that despite it coming from the same region, you are going to find variances in flavor and nuance among different farmers.
Why do wine lovers flock to California on vacations? To tour the wineries and sample the best of the region.
Why should coffee lovers travel to Hawaii? For the very same reason.
There is no better, or more beautiful place, to sample the finest coffee in the world. What should you do on your coffee vacation to Hawaii? Here are a few suggestions.
Tour a Kona Plantation: plantation tours are popular among tourists in the Kona region. The best time to visit the plantations are when the berries are red, and beautifully ripe, which is typically somewhere between August and January. This is perfect timing for a Hawaiian vacation as the mainland United States shifts from summer into the cooler weather that brings the grey winter doldrums.
Of course, you don’t want to miss out on experience of a cup of fine Kona in a local coffee shop. Check out the Kona Coffee Café, or Daylight Mind Coffee for local nibbles, and fresh Kona coffee all while surrounded by beautiful Island views.
There’s No Place Like Home
While these are our top picks for coffee vacations, we know that there is no better place to enjoy a cup of coffee than the comfort of your own home.
Grab a Nomad Coffee Subscription and escape into a fresh cup of great coffee today.