Calling all avid travelers! If you like browsing artistic collections of teapots or exploring the history of infamous caffeinated brews around the world, then you may enjoy the following museums, which focus on coffee and tea.
Trenton Teapot Collection – Tennessee
From a teapot shaped like an elephant with gold accents to one depicting a mermaid, the Trenton Teapot Collection is credited with carrying the largest collection of Porcelain Veilleuse-Theieres (also known as “night-light teapots”) in the world. Specimens date between 1750 and 1860 with some hailing from India, France, Spain, and Italy – highlighting significant cultural details. It is free to take in the colorful sights of the highly creative teapots. Located in Trenton, Tennessee, the city also hosts a teapot festival.
Kona Coffee Museum and Farm – Hawaii
For a taste of Big Island coffee production, the Uchida Coffee Farm (located south of Kealakekua town on the Kona Coast) offers a tour with guides dressed in period costumes. The original farmhouse, bathhouse, coffee mill and drying platforms await your curiosity.
Coffee Museum – Santos, Sao Paulo
Located at the Official Coffee Exchange in the port city of Santos, you will find the Coffee Museum – dedicated to coffee in Brazil. A historic architectural sight in itself, the Museum is part of a short tour that costs about $1 and runs every 30 minutes. A vintage streetcar starts in front of José Bonifácio Palace and takes you throughout the downtown area, where you can walk over to the Museum and visit at the end of your sightseeing.
Highlights of the museum include the imported marble floor of the Trading Room, the striking stained glass panel on the ceiling of the Trading Room, the coffee scales, and the chance to purchase special coffees at the gift shop. If you’re lucky, you can arrange to attend the three-day barista course held at the Museum that takes place every month for a fee of $180.
Museum of Coffee Technology – Germany
If you enjoy the technical side of making coffee just as much as drinking it, you may want to check out the Museum of Coffee Technology in Emmerich, Germany. It is here that you’ll encounter a collection of about 600 household coffee mills – many of which are fascinatingly decorative. A great deal of roasters is on the premises, highlighting items from 1884 to the 20th century. Large and small commercial and industrial grinders are also on display.
National Tea Museum – China
Possessing the longest history in the world of tea, China is often considered its birthplace. Interestingly, the National Tea Museum claims the only attraction of its kind that offers a tea theme. Opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in 1991, the Museum is quite unique, as there are no external walls, but instead – vegetation serves as its boundaries. The history and development of tea in China is separated into four different groups of buildings.
For example, step into the exhibition building to find six halls devoted to the history of growing and processing tea throughout the country: Hall of Tea History, the Kaleidoscope Hall, the Hall of Tea Properties, the Tea-friendship Hall, the Tea Sets Hall, and the Tea Customs Hall. Visit the Kaleidoscope Hall to browse more than 300 kinds of tea. It’s a learning experience that also includes conferences centered on tea culture, tea art performances, as well as a chance to sample a variety of teas.
Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum – London, England
Located in London, England, The Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum is known as the first museum in the world to completely devote its exhibits to the history of tea and coffee. Covering more than 400 years of commercial and social history, it’s been educating and enlightening tourists since 1992. A visit to the museum brings you close to the London Bridge station and Borough Market, where it is open daily. Onsite, there is a tearoom that serves coffee and tea to guests for a price. Enjoy Cream Tea (including scones with clotted cream and jam, cake and tea of your choice for £7) or Afternoon Tea (with cucumber sandwiches, hot crumpet, tea cake, cake and choice of tea for £9). At last check, the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum was undergoing refurbishment, so it would be a good idea to call before planning a visit (020 7403 5650).