Coffee is not usually the first thought that comes to mind when considering the Himalayas and Nepal for your next adventure - yet Nepal, a small landlocked country, tucked away, high up in the Himalayan Mountains, is becoming one of the world’s best kept coffee secrets.
For those of you not yet completely aware of the concept of coffee tourism, it is more than just traveling to places known for great coffee and cafés.
In the purest form, coffee tourism is about getting to the root of it all, visiting the plantations, picking the cherries, getting dirt on your hands, and truly learning how coffee is cultivated. Coffee tourism is about supporting a local economy, providing business and economic livelihood to the farmers that sweat day in and day out to cultivate their coffee.
The Himalayas present unique growing conditions for coffee and Nepal has joined the third wave of coffee as a hidden gem of a country producing high quality specialty coffee. So what exactly does coffee tourism look like in Nepal? We’ll cover the basics so you can start to plan a Himalayan getaway and help boost Nepal’s coffee economy on your next adventure abroad.
A feature piece on coffee tourism in one of Nepal’s major newspapers, The Himalayan Times, mentions that across Nepal’s 42 districts, over 27,000 families are involved in some capacity with coffee farming. This has caught the attention of Nepal’s National Tea and Coffee Development Board, which sees coffee tourism as an opportunity to improve economic livelihood for quite literally thousands of families.
Currently, there are a few areas in Nepal where eco-friendly coffee tourism is being practiced, primarily in the centrally located districts of Nuwakot and Kaski. Both districts are centrally located and near the capital of Kathmandu, so making your way to freshly grown Himalayan coffee is easier than you’d think.
Nepal has long been on the list of destinations for many climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. Now just imagine adding a few more nights to your expedition and wandering the green hillsides at the foot of the Himalayas, sipping on farm-fresh roasted coffee.
It’s this kind of mystique that makes Nepal’s coffee tourism future so promising and sure to put this Himalayan country on the map of coffee aficionados and thrill seekers alike.
But even if trekking isn’t totally your thing and bigger cities make you feel more alive, Nepal’s budding coffee sector has something for you. Kathmandu’s coffeehouse culture is growing rapidly as Nepal becomes a more popular tourist destination, so finding a great cup of Himalayan coffee is easier than you’d think (though we always recommend visiting a farm and supporting growers when possible).
Because coffee tourism is becoming more common throughout Nepal and the Himalayan region, it is important to be aware of tours and farms that skirt around best practices socially and environmentally.
Although finding formal tours in Nepal is somewhat difficult right now because of how young coffee tourism is in Nepal, they do exist. Perhaps one of the best ways to find out if a coffee farm offers tours or accepts visitors, is to check out their website, or just ask. Nearly all of the more established coffee farms in Nepal these days, have their own websites (even if they don't have internet access on the farms!).
So whether you’re a high altitude adventure junkie or just looking to explore the streets and cafés of a new city, we are certain the Himalayan gem of Nepal has a coffee destination that fits what you're looking for.
(Pictured Above: Guest house at Plantec Coffee Estate in Nuwakot, Nepal)