The Nine Best Coffee Farms to Visit Around the World
When we think of coffee, a few of the most popular countries that come to mind are Colombia and Brazil. But what if Home Grounds told you there was a whole world of coffee and coffee farms you’ve never even heard of?
Buckle up and join a virtual tour of the nine best coffee farms in the world.
What Do the Best Coffee Farms in the World Have in Common?
All of the world’s best coffee farms live in one of the 20 coffee-producing countries in the coffee bean belt. Located between the latitudes of 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South of the Equator, all these countries have similarly mild climates, areas of high elevation, and mineral-rich, fertile soil.
The best coffee beans in the world require such mild temperatures because coffee cherries take time to mature and develop flavor. Higher temperatures affect the flavor of the final cup—creating a more hospitable environment for coffee pests, accelerating fruit ripening, and encouraging plant tumor growth (1).
But aside from climate and geographic location, hard work, technology, and sustainability all play a part in shaping the final cup’s flavor and quality, too.
Best Coffee Farm in Kona
Though it’s world-renowned for its flavor, Kona coffee has become somewhat of a marketing catchphrase to lure would-be coffee novices into buying a coffee—most often a blend.
Often, coffee blends are sold to mask the flavor of lower-quality beans.
According to r. Miguel Meza (2):
More than half of Kona beans grown are sold to be used in Kona blends, in which only 10 percent of the beans used actually come from Kona.
But if you want to get a taste for the best Kona coffee beans, why not travel directly to the source? Plan a trip to the Big Island and visit a Kona coffee farm.
Located near the Big Island’s capital, Kailua-Kona, the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation is a one-of-a-kind Kona coffee farm (3).
On the slope of the Hualalai volcano at 3,200 feet above sea level, Mountain Thunder’s coffee beans are nourished with mineral-rich volcanic soil, plenty of rain, and sunshine. The low, canopy-level cloud cover keeps the temperatures mild. It promotes biodiversity, nourishing the soil and encouraging the coffee cherries to develop all the wonderful flavors that make for an excellent cup. Moreover, all their coffee cherries are hand-picked at the peak of ripeness, and they process and roast their Kona coffee beans in small batches on-site. If you fancy a tour, those are available seven days a week and are only a 15-minute drive from the Big Island’s capital.
Best Costa Rica Coffee Farm
Now, let’s move southeast and head to Central America for the best Costa Rican coffee: La Isla.
La Isla is a family-run coffee farm located in Naranjo, Costa Rica (4). Since the 1930s, their grandfather, grandmothers, and mother have instilled in the siblings a love for producing the finest Costa Rican coffee.
And since 2017, the La Isla coffee plantation has worked tirelessly to cultivate and process the best coffee beans using the honey processing method, which yields a sweet, clean cup.
Though it’s a relatively young farm with a small following, La Isla has garnered high praise, scoring an 88.5 in the 2020 Cup of Excellence (5). With overall tasting notes like berries, orange, honey, caramel, jasmine, watermelon, and milk chocolate, this is a family-run coffee farm you won’t want to miss.Ever been curious about where those tasting notes on your bag of coffee beans come from? Check out this Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters demonstration to see how coffee cupping is done. Also, if you want to host a coffee cupping of your own, check out our coffee flavor wheel.
Best Specialty Coffee Farms
Next, our tour of the best coffee plantations and farms around the world takes us to Honduras’ Finca El Puente, where you’ll find the best Honduran coffee.
This 2019 Cup of Excellence award-winning Honduran coffee farm is perpetually pursuing the latest technologies and agricultural methods to yield the best-tasting Honduran coffee year after year (6).
In 1996, husband-and-wife team Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera established the Finca El Puente coffee farm in La Paz, Honduras, shortly after they married. It has been an enduring, lifelong passion for both coffee and the industry around it.
Since 1915, Marysabel’s family had worked hard to cultivate and process the best Honduran coffee, while Moises had worked in the industry before he met Marybel.
Together, they’ve shaped their coffee farm into a force of not only award-winning coffee but a potent force for environmental sustainability and social good. Marysabel and Moisses are involved with every part of coffee production—sustainability, soil health, and the health and well-being of Finca El Puente’s workers (7).
Aside from their eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, Finca El Puente’s secret to award-winning coffee lies in its elevation. Spanning 36 lots, Finca El Puente, and all 40 of their coffee bean varieties grow at an elevation of between 4,921-5,511 feet above sea level, certifying it as High Grown Coffee.
Their coffee beans’ most prominent tasting notes are dark chocolate, plum, and hazelnuts. In short, it’s a classic, clean cup you need to try.
Best Coffee Plantations in Colombia
Next, we’ll be heading to the West coast of Colombia, to the town of Buesaco in the department of Nariño.
Before it was home to multi-award-winning coffee beans, Pablo Andres Guerrero’s farm, Hacienda El Obraje, began its life as a wheat farm. However, as wheat imports became more prevalent, Pablo gradually transitioned to growing coffee trees (8).
As an architect by trade, Guerrero has managed his farm to provide for the long-term health of his plants and soil. What’s more, everything is laid out to make the cultivation, harvesting, and washing/drying processes more efficient (9).
According to the Cup of Excellence, the overall tasting notes you can expect from Obraje’s Gesha coffee beans include jasmine, peach, Mandarin orange, and brown sugar, with a crisp, tangerine acidity.
Best Coffee Farms on the Big Island
Whenever people think of the best coffees from Hawaii, most people automatically think of the Kona region. But did you know there are multiple Hawaiian coffee-growing regions to explore? There’s the Ka’u Coffee Mill, for instance (10).
The incredibly fertile volcanic soil sets the Ka’u region apart from the rest. Spanning the South side of the Big Island, this soil contains young volcanic ash. The climate in this region is characterized by sunny mornings, cloudy afternoons with rain, and cool nights.
Because coffee cherries need to be at peak ripeness to produce the best-tasting cup, Ka’u Coffee Mill harvests all their crops by hand from late summer to early spring. Also, they produce washed, honey-processed, and naturally-processed coffee beans. Moreover, their roasting process is all manual, and both large and small batches are roasted daily for maximum freshness. Lastly, each of their four roast profiles was developed by meticulously cupping each small batch, narrowing down a flavor profile for the roast type, and finally, narrowing those down to four roast profiles.
Ka’u Coffee Mill’s coffee beans have a longer, sweeter finish with aromatic chocolate, fruit and floral notes, and fruity notes in the cup.
Best Coffee Farm in Hawaii
The beauty of the Big Island of Hawaii is that you have choices. If you can’t make it to one coffee farm because…reasons, there’s another excellent coffee farm to tour. In our opinion, the cream of the crop is Long Ears Hawaiian Coffee (11).
Long ears is the most distinct coffee farm on our tour, and they named it after the former sire of their mule-breeding operation.
First established in 2000, Long Ears fell into the coffee industry after noticing the naturally-growing coffee trees on their land, picking the ripe berries, and processing a whopping 300 pounds of it for the locals to try. What followed was a frantic whirlwind of buying the necessary equipment for roasting and processing coffee beans and learning all they could from former coffee farmers.
In addition to harvesting and processing their beans, Long Ears supports local farmers, with modest coffee cherry crops, by buying their beans. They are the only coffee farm on the Hamakua’ coast that exercises full control over harvesting, processing, and roasting coffee beans on-site.
Also, did we mention they’re the only coffee farm on our virtual tour that offers aged coffee?
They produce two types of aged coffee: a Misty Mountain Private Estate and an aged Pea Berry. Both of these limited-edition coffees are aged for three years, developing a concentrated flavor that is highly prized.
Best coffee farm in Maui
Next, let’s head West to the neighboring island of Maui. Here, you’ll find O’o Farm, an eight-acre farm in the farming community of Kula, Maui (12).
Established in 2000 by Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert, O’o Farm began its life as a virginal fruit orchard and a handful of coffee trees. Soon, through their dedication and hard work, O’o Farm has flourished into a thriving estate of greenhouses for tomatoes, an orchard of mature Hawaiian fruit, a coffee plantation, and vegetable gardens.
O’o Farm is a carefully-cultivated eight acres of no-till, sustainably maintained land at the core of its success. And their extensive coffee tour showcases their hard work by walking visitors through each step of their coffee process, from seed to cup.
O’o Farm offers Red Catuai and Maui Yellow Caturra. For those who prefer a naturally-processed, medium-roast coffee with a long finish, the Red Catuai offers coriander and almond notes. The Yellow Caturra is a light-roast coffee with stone fruit and almond notes reminiscent of cherries with a smooth finish.
Best coffee farm in Oahu
Next, let’s venture East of Kauai to another island in the Hawaiian archipelago, O’Ahu. Here, you’ll find the only coffee plantation on this island: Waialua Estate (13).
Situated on the Wahiawa Plateau of Oahu’s North Shore, this 155-acre farm grows coffee beans alongside cacao beans. Both of these plants encourage insects, natural predators of coffee plant pests. These symbiotic relationships within the ecosystem allow for natural, pesticide-free crops. Moreover, their diversified agricultural practices ensure the land, and its people remain healthy and profitable.
Waialua Estate sells three types of beans:
- Sunrise (a light-medium roast)
- North Shore (a dark roast)
- Pea Berry (a rare dark roast made from the Pea Berry coffee bean)
The Sunrise is perfect for anyone who’s looking for a sweet, smooth cup with no bitterness. The North Shore dark roast is smoky and bold, with notes of chocolate. Finally, the Peaberry is smoky, chocolaty, and smooth.
Best coffee farm to donate profit to
Last but not least, let’s explore some Rwandan coffee at the Rwandan coffee farm of Koakaka. In Kinyarwanda, this name translates to the Cooperative of Coffee Farmers of Karaba district.
First established in 2003, Karaba district brings together coffee farmers from three different sectors. With a total of 1,316 members, only 296 of these farmers are women, but they plan to expand their coverage further to include more coffee farmers.
Year over year, Koakaka has won the Golden Cup award at the Cup of Excellence and their dedication to quality shows. Overall, their Bourbon coffee beans are fragrant, with an aroma and flavor of citrus lemon, melon, and green apple, balanced by notes of honey. Its acidity is “snappy”, with a velvety/creamy, long finish.
No matter which of these coffee plantations you visit, you’re sure to find coffee beans to delight your palate. From the honey and jasmine of La Isla, to the dark chocolate plums of Finca El Puente, you’re sure to find your next coffee obsession.
Have you tried any of the coffees above? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.
There are more than 25 million coffee farms worldwide (14). While most people conceive of coffee as a large-farm crop,60% of the world’s coffee is produced by small coffee farms, estimated by Enveritas to be 12.5 million.
These small farms rely on their coffee crops for most of their income. However, according to this data, 44% of these small farms are in poverty. The remaining 22% live below the poverty line. So, ensuring your coffee beans are sourced ethically and fairly is essential.
Brazil is, by far, the largest coffee-producing country in the world (15). With more than 2 million hectares dedicated to coffee production, Brazil supplies 30% of the world’s total coffee supply, producing 43 million bags of coffee annually. Seventy percent of this coffee production is Arabica, and much of the coffee harvesting and processing is done by machinery.
Brazil’s coffee farms consist of large and small plantations. Some larger-scale coffee-growing operations can produce more coffee than Bolivia in one year.
You can buy exotic coffee beans worldwide through subscriptions like Atlas Coffee Club. Every month, the Atlas Coffee Club sends a 12-ounce bag of coffee to you—freshly roasted and ready for you to enjoy.
Each of their coffees comes from micro-lots from countries like Tanzania, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Your bag of coffee beans also comes with tasting notes and a postcard with brewing tips to help you bring out the best in each country’s beans.
The Atlas Coffee Club pays the coffee farmers far above the market price for their crops, so you can rest assured you’re supporting farmers, who are this industry’s lifeblood.
- Climate & Coffee | NOAA Climate.gov. (2015). Climate.gov. https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-coffee/
- Connor, A. (2017, June 21). Why You’re Not Drinking Coffee Grown in America. Gear Patrol; Gear Patrol. https://www.gearpatrol.com/food/a364976/hawaiian-coffee/
- The Mountain Thunder Story | Mountain Thunder Coffee. (2017). Mountainthunder.com. https://mountainthunder.com/content/mountain-thunder-story/
- La Isla – A Specialty Coffee Farm in the Mountains of sunny Costa Rica. (2017). Laislacr.com. https://laislacr.com/
- Cup of Excellence. 88.5. (2020, July 21). Cup of Excellence. https://cupofexcellence.org/directory/88-5-7/
- The Tastiest Coffee from Honduras is Back – Dabov Specialty Coffee. (2020, August 31). Dabov Specialty Coffee. https://dabov.coffee/the-tastiest-coffee-from-honduras-is-back/
- Barista Magazine. (2019, June 19). Master Q+A Continued: Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera. Barista Magazine Online. Thunder https://www.baristamagazine.com/master-qa-continued-marysabel-caballero-and-moises-herrera/
- Rushton, D. (2019, December 5). Map of the Month: Bringing Smallholder Coffee Farmers out of Poverty. Carto.com; CARTO. https://carto.com/blog/enveritas-coffee-poverty-visualization/
- Brazil | Melbourne Coffee Merchants. (2022, January 26). Melbourne Coffee Merchants. https://melbournecoffeemerchants.com.au/origin/brazil/
- Coffee, A. (2018, August 14). Farm Tour: Hacienda El Obraje – Ally Coffee – Medium. Medium; Ally Coffee. https://medium.com/ally-coffee/farm-tour-hacienda-el-obraje-9eaca21c368f
- Obraje – Colombia 2021. (2021, May 5). Cup of Excellence Farm Directory. https://farmdirectory.cupofexcellence.org/listing/obraje-colombia-2021/
- Kau Coffee Mill. (2013). Our Process | Kau Coffee Mill. Kau Coffee Mill. https://kaucoffeemill.com/our-process/
- Long Ears Hawaiian Coffee – Gourmet Dark Roast Coffee. (2022). Longearscoffee.com. http://www.longearscoffee.com/about.htm
- O’o Farm. Our Story. (2022). Mybigcommerce.com. https://oofarm.mybigcommerce.com/our-story/
- Waialua Estate. About Us – Chocolate and Coffee Grown in Hawaii at Waialua Estate on the North Shore of Oahu. (2022). Waialuaestate.com. https://www.waialuaestate.com/about-us/
- Cup of Excellence. 89.47. (2018, January 22). Cup of Excellence. https://dev.cupofexcellence.org/directory/89-47/