Mmmm, the euphoric scent of coffee brewing, warming up the atmosphere of a cafe and stimulating hours of relaxed yet vibrant conversation is like…like…like… lucid breathing!
Ristr8to and Akha Ama are my top-rated picks for taste and coffee quality. Smooth, strong, unsweetened, just how I like it.
Impresso is a great place to get work done during my lunch “break.”
I’m going to give recognition to James from Melbourne’s blog because his “30 cafes to visit in Chiang Mai” is solid: http://www.nomadicnotes.com/travel-blog/chiang-mai-cafes/
Not sure why it took me so long to bookmark, but I return to this list over and over again during days I can no longer deny my coffee addiction. Check it out! Some of those shops have since closed, so don’t be surprised if there is an empty lot when you’re out looking.
Not mentioned in the list (All have free wifi!):
My Secret Cafe is a very relaxing garden restaurant/cafe with an artsy boho touch. The owner makes the most delicious cakes and baked goods, while the coffee is smooth and not too sweet. There is also a small lunch menu of a couple types of flavorful curries and salads. Read more here.
8 Days a Week is on a soi just off Nimmanhaemin or Canal Rd. and a bit south of Huay Kaew: map. It is a chill hipster cafe with black and white photography highlighting the cement walls, excellent wifi, comfy sofas and a couple sweet cats. You can sit outside in the sunlight or inside next to large windows. The coffee is smooth and non-sweetened.
Cafe Arte on Moon Muang Soi 7 just opened a month ago and is already a favorite! The boss is a ceramics artist named Pop and his barista is another artist, Man. They bring strong aromatic quality coffee to the much in-need Old City. Man just moved back to CM after spending 5 years studying English in Sydney, and now wants to show-off what true cafe taste is all about. He even uses dark chocolate in his mochas – geez, in love! Pop’s art gallery and guesthouse are just behind the cafe and garden.
Luvv Cafe on Nimman is my top spot to chill on a sofa and get some major work done until late at night. I think I’ve been there until midnight and I’m never the last one to leave! They also have Twinings tea and fast wifi.
Chan Neung on Nimman Soi 1 makes a great date cafe for it’s quiet conversation-stimulating environment, romantic big band oldies and jazz tunes playing in the background and warm atmosphere. Seems to be little known and super relaxed. There are only a few tables. Upstairs has recently been converted into a design space.
Chiang Mai Coffee on Charoen Rajd Rd. along the east side of the Ping. This bucolic coffee shop is like a small town antique store/cafe/restaurant with the sounds of 60’s era oldies soothing the soul. There are only two tables in this cafe, which also serves up fantastic fare from Regina’s Kitchen. Definitely in my top 3 for CM!
I ordered a plain iced coffee with milk, which was a bit sweet, but that’s a simple fix. The flavor was very smooth and creamy without a burnt aftertaste – nice! For dinner, I chose the pork spareribs with lemongrass and what a delightfully surprising presentation! The pork, wrapped around shoots of lemongrass, retained all of its juicy flavor, and was covered in shredded dried lemongrass, surrounded by fresh veggies. Besides the delicious meal, the ladies working there are super sweet and great to help you practice your Thai. This is a must-visit!
Librarista on Nimman Soi 5 just stole my heart away. With the minimalist decor, massive book collection, bean bag pillows and XL windows, this is THE spot to get your reading done while basking in the sunlight. Talking not encouraged and phones must be turned off (shock for Thailand!), which sets the tone for serious studying or napping. The ice cream is good and the coffee unsweetened, nice! The coffee has a slight burnt aftertaste, so I wouldn’t go here purely for the mud, but the bean bag chairs are so awfully comfortable, it’s worth it! All the photos below are of Librarista!
Uh, yes the cover photo is me holding a Starbucks coffee cup. I’m not trying to promote Starbucks (it’s crappy and over priced, especially here in Chiang Mai), but I have no other good pictures of coffee! Probably because I’m so engrossed with drinking my cuppa joe that I forget to take a picture. My bad.First published March 27, 2013