What to Pack for your First Visit to a Coffee Farm

A little over a year ago, I packed my bags for a dream trip to Guatemala. Bug spray? Check. Light layers? Check. Farm shoes? Well, not exactly. I'd show you the pictures of my first (and, well, second) finca visit, but I'm almost too mortified to publish it. There, standing at the entry of the mill, was me, my mom jeans (they're cool, ok?) and open. Toed. Sandals. No, really. 

I know what you're thinking: any sane person would never wear open-toed shoes in nature, right? I'm not really sure how to explain this one away, so instead I'm going to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never existed – like that time I did an adult ballet class – and move on to a list of everything you need for your first visit to a coffee farm, so you don't make the same mistakes I did. 

1. Wear

You'll want some sort of durable shoe to protect from the elements, and I always like a hat to keep the sun off my face. In the warmer months, lightweight long sleeves and pants are best, and you could even consider bringing a waterproof jacket in case of any rain showers. Comfort is key – even if it's just a leisure visit.

2. Bring 

You will almost definitely have a run-in with bugs at the farm. I keep a natural bug spray in my bag at all times, and, bonus! It smells great. I'll also throw in motion sickness pills (don't be a hero – those mountain roads are no joke...), my camera, and some HITCHHIKE snack bars, just in case. 

3. The Extras

Most likely you're headed to the farm on a group tour, but should you be visiting for an origin or sourcing trip, you might need a few extras, like currency – especially in rural areas – cleansing wipes, and of course, questions (usually about sustainability, processing methods, and distribution).

Ready for Takeoff? 

In all honesty, my first tour of a coffee farm was probably one of the top experiences I've had on any trip thus far, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in coffee. If you're headed to one of the coffee producing countries, do a quick search to see if there's a tour in your area. You won't be sorry. 

Ellie Eckert