You know an item has made it big when it becomes the first word in a travel package. Make way for the coffee vacation, the latest thing in expensive coffee breaks. No stay on a coffee plantation this, but here's an example - a tour put together by Austrian Airlines to entice travelers to come to Austria. When we say Austria, what do you think of? Classical music, art, history, elegant literary parties, museums? Most likely, few Americans would think coffee among Vienna’s major attractions. That could soon change, due to the efforts of the Austrian Airlines Vacation Center. Coffee is a major attraction of the Coffee, Culture & Klimt vacation package they’ve developed. Admittedly, indeed, the second draw is art. In the tour description, the advertising states that “coffee houses have been the home away from home for Europe’s artists, writers, composers, politicians and thinkers….”, and even in the modern versions, coffee house guests can imagine being back in the Art Nouveau period. Besides airfare, three nights of lodging and a daily buffet breakfast, tour participants will be provided “Coffee and a slice of the original Sacher-Torte at Hotel Sacher with a dollop of fresh unsweetened whipped cream, and coffee and cake of your choice at Café Central.” Presumably there will also be free time to visit as many of the 1600 additional Viennese coffee shops as one can pack into three days. In between coffee house visits, a ticket to the Gustav Klimt art exhibit can be used, as part of a sightseeing tour of the city, also provided. Austria is aiming this vacation at the coffee-cultural-classical art- inclined, but it’s important to note that the first and most important draw is the coffee! If this starts a precedent, we could soon be seeing Coffee-Wine tours of France and Italy, Coffee Cruises on the Mediterranean, or Coffee Along the Rhine River Cruise, and who could resist the spectacular Fall Foliage Coffee Cruise? We’ve come a long way since coffee was an after-thought to finish up a delicious dinner out, or a wake-up beverage served with a pastry in the morning. Those of us who would take a 2-hour ferry ride across a body of water to savor a cup of coffee on the waterfront understand this kind of vacation package. May we all enjoy one soon. Brew on luxuriously. And if you can’t get that ticket just yet, let the world’s coffees come to you. A few suggestions from European roasters are below.
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