Sometimes our customers call us and ask if they can visit some of our coffee suppliers. We've generally declined the requests since we're not really in the travel and tourism business. (Except when we bring employees to visit coffee farms; in my case, I get to bring employees to Mexico every January). But there are some farms and farmers you can visit in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and these are folks who sell us coffee. You can do all the arranging directly, have a nice vacation down south, drink some great coffee and learn a little more about the coffee business.
1) Costa Rica . We buy coffee from a place called La Hilda Estate. It's north of San Jose, it's owned by our good friends the Vargas family, and they have delicious coffee. You can do a coffee tour and stay in a B and B on the sister farm called Doka Estate. Try some of our coffee that has some of their coffee in it. Info about their coffee tours.
2) Nicaragua . There's a tourism project called The Coffee Route where you can visit fair trade farmers near Matagalpa , Nicaragua . You can visit the following communities - La Pita, La Corona, La Reina, El Roblar - all of whom have farmers who belong to a 1 st level coop called UCA San Ramón, that makes up part of CECOCAFEN, who sells us some of the coffee we use in some of our Newman's Own Organics blends. Apparently you can even visit their dry mill, Solcafé, and their offices. While we travel quite a bit in this area, we haven't actually done this tour, but imagine it's a fascinating experience. I think this would be a better trip for perhaps a ‘young-at-heart' type traveler who can speak some Spanish. Learn more.
Here's where CECOCAFEN is - it's based in Matagalpa, but is a very large coop.
2) Nicaragua . Selva Negra is a famous coffee farm and estate just outside of Matagalpa. Beautiful, inspirational and very comfortable is how I would describe it. Of these three places – this is the one place I've stayed and can highly recommend it. In addition, it's where our employees stay when they are on their Nicaragua source trip every winter. We haven't actually started selling their coffee yet – but it's in the works. One of the owners – Mausi – was just here in Waterbury cupping coffee with Lindsey. Here's where they are and here's their website.
If you do any of these trips, please let us know how it went and send pictures!