Tour Checklist

Specialty coffee buyers visit the communities and estates in coffee-producing nations, known within the industry as coffee origin tours. This five-part online guide describes the purpose for hosting a coffee origin tour, and outlines steps to organize one successfully.

Part 5: Tour Planning Checklist

Do one year or more ahead

  • Determine the goals of a coffee origin tour.
  • Determine fee structure.
  • Organize a list of potential travelers.
  • Identify farming communities, estates, and facilities that match the goals of a visit.
  • Contact ideal participants to survey interest and propose dates to identify significant schedule conflicts.
  • Issue save-the-date invitations or announcements to build awareness.
  • Develop any advertisements that will appear in print.
  • Develop a sponsorship program and approach potential donors or private industry sponsors for support.

Do six months ahead

  • Confirm the dates of travel and day-by-day itinerary.
  • Confirm participation of the community, estate, and facility locations.
  • Notify producers of a deadline to deliver green coffee samples and sample information.
  • Begin sourcing any supplies needed for roasting and cupping of samples.
  • Begin social media campaign online advertising (as appropriate).
  • Issue formal invitations to guests. Begin confirming participation and assist with necessary traveler visas.
  • Develop a briefing package and Frequently Asked Questions list for participants.

Do three months ahead

  • Confirm traveler participation.
  • Confirm expected coffee samples.
  • Coordinate agenda with producers and estates.
  • Identify potential cultural stopping points.
  • Assist travelers with international flight recommendations.
  • Collect traveler contact information and supporting documents (passport copies) to make hotel and in-country flight reservations.
  • Distribute the FAQ and briefing package to travelers. Include recommended insurance, inoculations, clothing/weather, and any suggested items (small gifts, etc.) to bring.
  • Plan and time route between itinerary stops to confirm agenda.
  • Make necessary hotel and domestic flight arrangements.
  • Plan group dinners.

Do one month ahead

  • Confirm traveler arrival and departure travel details arranged for international airport transfers.
  • Develop an hour-by-hour agenda.
  • Collect all green samples and information to be used in cupping sessions.
  • Confirm roasting location.
  • Confirm all supplies are available for cupping.
  • Distribute welcome messages to travelers, including an hour-by-hour program agenda.

Do just before

  • Roast coffee samples for cupping (ideally within 1-2 days of each cupping session).
  • Reconfirm hotel arrangements, meals, and other on-the-ground logistics.
  • Track weather, news, and other information sources about local conditions.
  • Confirm the expected time of arrival, departure, and anticipated agenda with producers.

Do just after

  • Debriefing of all participants before departure.
  • Issue an anonymous survey to record traveler feedback.
  • Collect high-resolution copies of photos and videos taken from the trip.
  • Make a to-do list of necessary information and subsequent actions (e.g., ship specific samples to potential buyers for evaluation).

Do one month after

  • Confirm that all to-do items have been accomplished. Follow up with each traveler for more feedback.
  • Develop an international report describing the activity, its successes, failures, traveler comments, and recommendations for future activities.
  • Produce a written or video editorial overview of the activity that may be used for future promotion.
  • Promote the editorial piece on social media.
  • Begin planning for next year.


Return to other parts of the article:

Part 1: Why Coffee Origin Tours?
Part 2: Setting Goals for a Coffee Origin Tour
Part 3: Inviting Participants
Part 4: Coffee Origin Tour Itinerary
Part 5: Planning Checklist for a Coffee Origin Tour