I am by no means a snob—but I know immediately by saying that I’m not a snob in many circles automatically makes me one. I wouldn’t even consider myself a connoisseur, because that isn’t the right word for it either. I know what I am and it takes great courage to divulge this but here it goes…I’m addicted to coffee. I’m addicted to coffee. Alright, I’m making light of addiction, but that is the best description I know: it’s the first thing I think of upon entering the waking world, sitting at work I’m thinking of my next cuppa, I’ve worked many jobs in the coffee world and it still excites me. I love the taste, I love the aroma it presents, I love the good and bad tingles it gives, I adore how it pairs with a cigarette in the AM and I love how it begs gathering around it’s warm (or icy cold, in my preference) pot. Have a cuppa at some of my favorites and trust me, they do serve only the best!
What do I think qualifies a great cup of joe, you may ask? Well, I know everyone is different and that is okay in my book, but if you continue reading that book I constitute a great cup starting with great beans (from growing regions, roasting methods, and packaging—even if you are not sure about all of this, you can still tell by the great taste) and in the hands of a skilled coffee slinger that knows what to do with these beans. I will only ask that one doesn’t sully a cup with milk, flavors, or trinkets—that’s okay if you do, just keep it to a minimum, please.
Tucked away in a small and often overlooked soi (my favorite!) close to Thae Pae in the Old City walls, you will stumble upon Coffee Home. This is literally a home that you are invited into off the streets where you can dine on some great Thai dishes and some positively great coffee! Sitting on this front porch, wooden veranda you are surrounded with woody trunks, sleepy cats, green plants to soothe the soul and even an adorable rocking booth. The coffee is superb–it is dark and rich with mild earthy tones to round it out. From 30-50 baht, I will happily enjoy this reprieve from the bustling streets with a great cup of coffee any day. Also, treat yourself to some fine home cooked Thai dishes as well. While not an overly extensive menu, what they offer is delicious (and inexpensive)!
And literally just down the corner is another great coffee joint! Overstand Coffee is lofty with their ambiance and even loftier in their ideas of great music, better food and fantastic coffee. These Aussies dish out some strong coffee, and know all too well about what works in café culture; in fact, I think they could pull anything off. Not only does this coffee-teria stay packed before they officially close at 2 pm, but they are also on the great party radar late nights on pre-planned dates too (ie dating auctions, biking extravaganza close outs, and art galas among a few). Though I’m hesitant to stamp artisanal to Overstand because that might mean more to foodies out there than I wish to intend, but they go above and beyond with great coffee and equal atmosphere! A total must!
19/3, Ratchamanka Road Soi 2, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100
Closed Tuesdays!! Check ’em out here!
Already featured by the talented Allison McCarthy only a few months ago, this garden delight is now under a differing joint management and a new name. Equipped with a new café and a fresh as ever delectable menu, I unveil the lush Faces in all her shining glory. Amidst the old terra cotta bonanza, ponds and flowing waterfalls, you will almost entirely escape the confines of CNX, and be zipped away to an ancient temple grounds like Sukothai, Ayuthaya, Angkor Wat, or even one of the newest temple grounds that were just discovered months ago (mentioned ‘grounds’ without piling on the puns, fyi)!
Enjoy your coffee from the café as you peruse the gardens, but be sure to grab a bottle of repellent or a windy coil because as stated already, you are in the middle of a rainforest once you enter the gates of Faces. Be sure to try a pizza from their new wood fire stove. A for sure crowd pleaser. And just as these “ancient” grounds are breathing new life, so is their night life: wild colored lights, chill music, bring your next Tindr match here, for sure.
36 Soi 2 Phrapok Klao Road. | Phrasing Subdistrict, Chiang Mai 51000
New website coming soon! Here is the old one!
My Guy Coffee
I call this next one “My Coffee Guy” to everyone, really. And I know we all have ‘A Coffee Guy’ but this man is it! I also call this place that because the legal, binding name is Brewed Coffee and Tea (which even My Coffee Guy is not the biggest fan). This spot boasts two stools and two chairs at most, the rest is standing room only, which is probably why I’ve never seen another farang that I didn’t bring in the first place, here. Literally just a bit more than a hole in the wall, here you will find the strongest coffee at the best price (iced coffee 30 Bt) in sleepy ‘ole Chiang Mai. Tong, the 21st century “pusher”, mans his post alone, and serves up my most favorite caffeinated cup of colossal glory to get you through the morning maladies and/or the afternoon ailments. Tong puts ice cubes made of coffee (coffee cubes!!!) in his iced drinks! Come on, people!
This is what sets him apart: his utmost attention to detail. There are very many in CNX that pay close attention to detail, and it often goes unnoticed—not with Tong. He’s planning on changing the name because he cares about the small and seemingly unimportant things from day to day, but it shows. The place is great, the coffee is great! During the week, you will find great food tables set up as well, so don’t miss this memorable experience!
Brewed Coffee and Tea 8.00am-3pm everyday.
I hope I didn’t ruffle too many feathers with naming some of my favorites. There are more that I visit, but seeing as I love coffee sooo damn much, I haven’t the gusto to list every single one of them. I will say that Wawee Coffee is fantastic and they usually open very early for some of you early risers. What about coffee on Nimman? Coffee on Nimman will have her own dedicated segment! But you missed my coffee guy or my coffee gal (I have some of them too!), share your favorite spots—chances are they are unknown to me! When I first arrived in Chiang Mai years ago, I felt the coffee scene was abysmal and lacking, but goddamn has everyone stepped up! From one coffee lover to another, I hope you enjoy!