There are only two things in Chiang Mai. Maybe three. Mostly just two. This post only focuses on one.
When I arrived in Chiang Mai, I felt like I had been adequately prepared to have myself some good coffee (thank you coffee Yoda!). And I was with some people who wanted good coffee. Because there is nothing worse than to be with people who are not willing to have more than three cups of coffee within a 24 hour period when all you want to do is drink coffee. Because it is literally all around you. You can drive 100km up a mountain through a national park and still find a decent latte from an Italian machine. And if Ponganes Coffee Roasters turns out to out to be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, that’s totally cool. Akha Ama is just a hop and a skip away. What about brunch? Well, Overstand, The Larder and Rustic & Blue make food their primary objective, but their lattes are still above the norm of what you’d get back home. Also: see chicken and waffles. So thanks to the massive list that blogger to the north, Alana, put together, I thought I’d leave you the top three ways you could have your coffee.
Stay at an Airbnb in Chiang Mai. For only one reason: you don’t get screwed by a hotel breakfast. Wake up and immediately leave the premises. Don’t be confined to very restrictive breakfast hours. Walk around any corner and you’ll probably find a really good. Like a latte that’s shares a table with Sriracha Maple Syrup Chicken Waffles at Rustic & Blue, Or The Larder’s Chorizo Breakfast Hot Dog if you’re in the Nimman Haeminda neighbourhood. Or the damn good breakfast pizza at Overstand in the Old City. The list is literally endless.
So many points for innovation, going outside boundaries and being a little nuts here. Sometimes it’s a little showy (yes, we get you won world’s best latte art), other times you’re thinking “how the heck did you get there?” And sometimes your coffee winds up tasting like a Christmas chocolate orange. Whether it’s fancy lattes with equally fancy names at Ristr8tto, or charcoal-laced concoctions at Graph Café and Graph Table, you’re going for something a little outside of the box.
When more than one friend asks you to bring back coffee from Akha Ama, you get yourself a piccolo latte and their signature orange-infused Manee Mana cold brew concoction. The coffee served here is literally single sourced, when families from the Akha tribe in a northern town in Thailand cut out the middle man and began to not only produce, but process the beans themselves, all in a sustainable and ecologically free way (read: reduced use of chemicals). Inside the cafe, they’re equally proud of what they’re making. Baristas are coffee nerds to the highest degree.
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for the shakes.