Best 50 Coffee Shops and Cafes in Chiang Mai for 2018!
Best 50 Coffee Shops and Cafes in Chiang Mai for 2018!
Chiang Mai is an absolute gem of unique culture, nature, and adventure in the northwestern part of Thailand. In recent years, people from all over the globe have flocked here for its high quality and ease of living, gorgeous natural surroundings, and abundance of cultural and life-enriching experiences to be had.
But something else Chiang Mai has become widely known for in recent years? It’s fantastic coffee culture. Local and foreigners alike have been soaking in the incredible variety of quality beans and roasts found all throughout the region, and it’s not hard to see why. The city and surrounding areas are absolutely packed with a plethora of cafes all serving up great coffee.
But in a region overflowing with coffee shops, there are some that stand out from the crowd. Cafes that provide an experience just a head above the rest, with roasters, cafe owners, baristas and staff who go the extra mile with their passion for great coffee.
Much of my time in Chiang Mai has been spent exploring its hundreds of cafes and coffee offerings, so you’ll be happy to hear I’ve done the hard work for you! Here are 50 of the essential coffee shops and cafes you must experience in Chiang Mai for the ultimate coffee experience.
The list below is in no particular order and opinions expressed are strictly mine only.
If you have any more suggestions, please leave a comment. And don’t forget to get access to Global map which includes Chiang Mai below. Thanks!
Akha Ama Coffee
Akha Ama was the first specialty coffee shop I discovered in the early stages of my love affair with specialty coffee. It holds a special place in my coffee heart, and is a solid part of my regular stomping grounds in Chiang Mai.
The cafe, located in the Santitham neighborhood, has a cozy vibe with both indoor and outdoor, open-air and garden seating options. If you spend a bit of time in town, you’ll notice a familiar crew of locals and expats who show up here daily for their morning cappuccino and catch-up with friends.
As one of these regulars, it wasn’t long before I became good friends with the founder, Lee Ayu Chuepa. I learned from him that Akha Ama sources all their beans from local farms in Northern Thailand, helping the hill tribe farmers to thrive and prosper.
Akha Ama consistently serves up quality, affordable coffee, and their commitment to socially empowered enterprise only makes this delightful cafe even better.
Akha Ama Coffee is a MUST DO for coffee lovers living in and visiting Chiang Mai!
Akha Ama Coffee La Fattoria
Akha Ama La Fattoria was the second specialty coffee shop that Lee Ayu Chuepa opened in Chiang Mai – this time right in the heart of the Old City. Conveniently located on Sunday Walking Street near Wat Phra Sing, it’s easy to pop by for an espresso when out touring temples or shopping at the famed Sunday market.
With their new Spirit Espresso machine, Akha Ama La Fattoria is pumping out some seriously kickass coffees. The ristretto is a standout, bursting off the charts with intense yet balanced acidity and fruity flavors.
Coffee at this sister location is still very affordable, averaging around 50 baht for some of the best lattes and iced coffee you can find in the city.
Because it is the Old City and a smaller cafe, though, you may be hard pressed to find a seat during busy hours. So for a great to-go fix, I highly recommend their pre-bottled Black Juice Cold Brew – I’m always stocking up my fridge to enjoy Akha Ama coffee from home!
Maled Coffee Bar
A recent addition this year to Chiang Mai, Maled Coffee Bar is fast becoming known as the next hip place to hang amongst locals and expats alike. Located off Huay Kaew road not far from CMU, you’re bound to run into local university students studying, chatting, and sipping gorgeously prepared beverages.
Maled has a great range of local and Thai beans to choose from if you’re inclined to have specialty coffee every once in a while. They also offer a variety of decadent and unique options – espresso served up in a martini glass sound up your alley?
Try their signature Iced Lava Latte or Jelly Black for something different (so long as you’re prepared for literal foamy lava to actually cascade down the side of your glass!) For the more traditional-minded, their cappuccino is a consistent winner.
Hohm Cafe – ฮอห์ม
Hohm Cafe was first established around 2 years ago by Nueng, a passionate coffee aficionado who has now become a good friend of mine.
Nueng’s dedication to producing great coffee permeates into every area of his cafe. He loves helping his customers understand the origins of the coffee, and explains his brewing techniques with such infectious passion that you can’t help but feel as excited about it all as he is!
Hohm is located in the Jed Yod area northwest of the Old City and is worth the short trip to visit. It’s a great chance to experience a local neighborhood away from the busy, tourist-packed center. Set right in the garden area of Nueng’s property, its a peaceful location to chill and drink damn good coffee in a cozy environment that truly makes you feel right at home.
The signature tea and mocha coffee pot blends are a standout here – delicious, and big enough to last you through an entire afternoon of peacefully soaking in the “home”-y vibes at Hohm Cafe.
Omnia Cafe & Roastery
Omnia is more than just a specialty coffee cafe serving up spectacular drinks – it also has a specialty coffee lab and training center located on the first floor.
La Lida, the owner, established Omnia two years ago, and has created a thriving place for coffee lovers to enjoy her great roasts ever since. She sources most of her beans from local Northern Thai farms – even some from La Lida’s own farm in Chiang Rai. They do sell the roasted beans to take home if you love their coffee and want to make it on your own!
With floor-to-ceiling windows and pleasant wood furnishings, this cafe is a bright and tranquil haven just off the Superhighway in the Jed Yod neighborhood. I love coming here with a book or some work and just enjoying the chilled out space with my coffee.
And if you’re into latte art, this place is your jam. Their incredibly talented baristas consistently pump out some of the best pour-overs and latte art . Ask the barista to make you an Owl – it’s the definition of “Instagrammable!”
CottonTree Coffee Roasters
Tucked away inside the Greenhill Condo complex off the Superhighway, you might not initially think this unassuming cafe would be one of Chiang Mai’s greats. But Cottontree prides themselves on their coffee-centered focus, brewing up delicious roasts in a cool space that keeps their regulars coming back for more.
Ton, the cafe owner, is not only a talented barista but a master craftsman in his roasting technique. If you’re lucky enough to have him make your coffee, you can truly taste and feel the passion for every bean he roasts and brew he pours. Whether your coffee comes from the Slow bar or the espresso machine, by Ton or one of his staff, you know each cup is full of heart, soul, and skill.
Ton has kept the cafe design spacious yet minimal, creating a bright and simple environment in which to spend time with your coffee, which is strong yet delightfully smooth – truly one of the best in the city.
You can find Cottontree right behind Maya Mall inside Greenhill Condos, just a short walk from Nimmanhaemin.
Coffee aficionados, take note: Pacamara Coffee was one of the first established specialty coffee shops in Chiang Mai, making it a must-visit when you’re here. Right on Sunday Walking Street, this centrally-located cafe attracts coffee lovers from all over the world seeking a quality pick-me-up.
Pacamara has an extensive menu of local and imported coffee to choose from. You can tell they take their coffee seriously – the standard menu actually allows you the opportunity to upgrade your bean. And if you’re not sure what each bean has to offer, the friendly staff is happy to help explain the flavor profiles of each.
The owner of Pacamara Coffee, Chartree, was the first Q Grader of Thailand (yes, this cafe boasts plenty of “firsts!”) Now, the Pacamara group has branched to several locations throughout Thailand and Singapore – so consider yourself lucky to be right here in the headquarters of this fabulous coffee roaster.
Pacamara The Sweet Factory
Pacamara The Sweet Factory Coffee shop is another branch of the original Pacamara located in the Old City of Chiang Mai.
Located in the Star Avenue just off the Super Highway 11, Pacamara The Sweet Factory is close to Central Festival Shopping Mall and the main bus station. It’s great if you’re down on the south side of the city, craving the amazing Pacamara coffee. And if you’re lucky enough to stop by when they have their chocolate lava cake, do not miss the opportunity to dig into this insanely delicious dessert!
If you’re planning on shopping for the day or about to head on a long bus journey, it’s worth stopping in for a coffee and cake. The baristas are fabulous, beans are on point, and the overall coffee experience is just like the original Pacamara: one of the best in Chiang Mai.
This quaint, pint-sized cafe serves up incredibly smooth coffees in the Old City, assuring anyone who visits that size isn’t everything!
In fact, the cafe’s smaller interior helps enhance the atmosphere. The cafe’s owner and founder uses his impeccable eye for detail to create a truly inviting space, filled with antiques and rustic furniture suitable for any fan of hipster culture.
Graph Cafe was once located north of Chiang Mai in Mae Sai before relocating to the Old City a few years ago, where they are still growing strong.
While you may not always find a place to sit inside, the coffee that’s pumped out from this place is amazing. The drinks from Graph’s Signature menu are all unique in themselves, as is the beautiful menu photography. For something truly unique, the Orange Nitro Brew signature coffee is a personal favorite – make sure to give this delicious drink a try when you stop by.
Located just around the corner from the original Graph Cafe is this larger space, serving up delicious meals during the day in addition to the quality coffee they’re known for.
The commitment to quality here is undeniable. During quieter hours, you’ll see the Graph staff sorting through roasted coffee beans looking for defects.
This is a clear indication to me that Graph takes pride in each and every cup of coffee they produce, ensuring a consistent and flavorsome coffee every single time! I’ve never once had a bad coffee here, and don’t expect I ever will. Their food is on point, and the atmosphere is perfect for weekend chilling, working, or simply enjoying their delicious brew.
GRAPH One Nimman
I was delighted to recently find that Graph Cafe opened a location in Nimmanhaemin, inside the fancy new One Nimman shopping center. This cozy new location serves up the same high-quality coffee, in a decidedly posh atmosphere unique to the Nimman neighborhood.
Just the fact that GRAPH has opened up three locations throughout the city speaks volumes about its quality. And in addition to their coffees, Graph One is a great place to stop off for a sweet treat while out and about in Nimmanhaemin. Their adorable cheesecakes are every bit as delicious as they look.
Graph One Nimman has bottled up their quality cold brew, so you can stop by to pick up some great coffee to go. Overall, I love this cafe for its location in Nimmanhaemin and dedication to the quality coffee I’ve come to expect from the Graph brewers!
Asama Cafe Chiang Mai
Asama Cafe is a very special place, essentially built right into the owner’s home – showcasing one of the things I love most about the unique Chiang Mai cafes. It’s located way off the beaten path in a residential area off Canal Road, making this cute cafe an absolute delight to stumble upon if you aren’t looking for it!
You might never think some of the best coffee would come from such a coffee shop located far from the main center of Chiang Mai – but indeed, it does. And the peaceful location right on a creek bank only takes the experience up a notch or five.
Mok, the talented main barista, is known for judging coffee all around the world, often returning with many specialty whole roasted beans for you to try from the slow bar.
And let me just say – Mok’s espressos are to die for! I go as far as saying that her espressos are the BEST I’ve tried in Thailand.
Mok uses her craft in adjusting the coffee grinder during the day to cater for the humidity with her Thai-South American origin blended coffee, whilst constantly dialing-in the Spirit espresso machine they operate to produce your finely tuned espresso each and every time.
And if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, the Espresso Panacotta hits the spot like nothing else!
With a spacious location just past the south side of the Old City, Artisan is a much-loved establishment among the Chiang Mai coffee-loving crowd. The decidedly hipster atmosphere attracts locals and expats alike looking for a cozy place to work, study, or just chill out with friends and great coffee. You’re bound to run into digital nomads and regulars who swear by this place as their #1 hangout.
Artisan’s coffee is always on point, served up with lovely latte art by friendly baristas. Artisan also offers a variety of pastries and sweets to accompany your coffee if you so desire. The croissant and pan au chocolat are two particular favorites of mine. I come here again and again for the atmosphere and consistently great coffee at surprisingly good prices.
Hana Zono Cafe
Hana Zono quant hidden away location is worth the adventure down the soi’s in the Suan Dok area of Chiang Mai.
They have a range of specialty beans that can be hard to come by. One of the owners is Japanese and frequents back and forth often, generally returning with roasted beans from the most renowned roasters of Japan.
Hana Zono can be a nice place to work from or to chill with your coffee.Hana Zono’s quant, hidden-away location is worth the adventure down the sois in the Suan Dok area of Chiang Mai. A bit off the beaten path, it feels like a secret treasure that you won’t want too many others to find!
This lighthearted, unique cafe serves up a range of specialty beans that can be hard to come by. One of the owners is Japanese and frequents back and forth often between there and Thailand, generally returning with roasted beans from the most renowned roasters of Japan.
With decidedly sweet vibes and unique roasts, Hana Zono is a cool spot in a local neighborhood to work or just relax with great coffee. And if you’re feeling hungry for a sweet, make sure to try their waffle with whipped cream, the perfect accompaniment to a cafe macchiato!
Ristr8to – Specialty coffee
Ask any local Chiang Mai resident about the coffee scene in town, and they’ll be sure to namedrop Ristr8to, a cafe that’s been at the forefront in putting specialty coffee on the map for Chiang Mai.
The inspiration for their coffee has come from around the world, especially from Melbourne – a place many consider to be the coffee capital of the world.
Ristr8to’s founder, Arnon Thitiprasert (Tong), spent four years learning his coffee craft before bringing it back home to Chiang Mai. Look up the definition of “coffee badass”, and you’ll probably see his picture. Tong has competed in a series of Latte Art competitions since 2011, and won the World Latte Art Championship for 2017!
So you won’t be surprised to see some of Chiang Mai’s best latte art right on top of Ristr8to’s drinks. This cafe is always busy, and for good reason; their coffee selection is off the charts, and all the coffees I’ve personally tried there have been top-notch quality.
You can’t be as popular in Chiang Mai as Ristr8to is without opening up a second location to cater to the quality coffee demand! Ristr8to Lab is the second addition to the original Ristr8to, located just a few hundred metres from its counterpart on a quieter soi. The Lab is a more peaceful place to enjoy your morning sipping session without the bustle of the main road of Nimmanhaemin.
Most of the coffee roasting for both Ristr8to locations takes place at the Lab, so if you’re interested in the process, you’ll definitely want to check Ristr8to Lab out for yourself.
I highly recommend trying the Shakerto From Hell and the Mexican Latte for something a little different. Ristr8to Lab is truly a haven for coffee connoisseurs, offering up a wide variety of roasts and blends for the most exquisite of tastes.
Nine One Coffee
Nine One is yet another fantastic coffee shop in the caffeinated sois of Nimmanhaemin, right in the heart of the neighborhood on Soi 11.
Pi One, the owner and founder, is one of the pioneers of the coffee industry in Northern Thailand. His Nine One Coffee shop and farm are out in Doi Saket, a trip I highly recommend taking for a relaxing day and ideal spot for specialty coffee.
As far as the coffee goes, you really can’t go wrong here. Their Fruity Flora roast is particularly super tasty as an Americano bursting with sweet fruity notes and a soft lingering aftertaste. But all of the drinks are fantastic – by harnessing the power of the Slayer espresso machine, Nine One pumps out superb espresso coffees of all genres in addition to the brew style coffees from the slow bar.
If a coffee adventure is what you’re craving, I highly recommend making a day trip out to Nine One Coffee in Doi Saket, approximately 50 km from Chiang Mai toward Chiang Rai.
Ponganes Coffee Roasters
Located in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City, Ponganes Coffee Roasters is one of the original specialty coffee roasters in Chiang Mai – and truly one of the best.
The founder and resident roaster, Pi Pong, brought his coffee passion and knowledge from Melbourne where he studied in earlier years.
His part-time job in Australia was making coffee at AFL football games at the MCG during the chilly freezing months. Pong developed an intense love for great coffee, and after learning more about the process, decided to open his own cafe in the Old City.
Ponganes has now grown to be one of the major suppliers in Chiang Mai, with a variety of beans mainly from Northern Thailand and also some international single origins and blends.
Ponganes can be hit and miss with opening hours, as Pi Pong’s primary focus is on being a roasting supplier. However, you will find his coffee shop mostly open on weekends. The cafe has limited seating and no Wi-Fi, but you won’t need it – their coffee is best enjoyed with your full attention!
For the espresso lover, Ponganes hits the spot for super intense sours and citrus notes with their signature Breeze Blend brews.
The old Chiang mai Cafe’ & Espresso bar
This adorable cafe is found right at the base of the foothills of Doi Suthep area in the sweet Baan Kang Wat village – map location here. If you’re looking for a peaceful, nature vibe – this is your cafe. The setting couldn’t be more tranquil, as you’re surrounded by cute boutiques, gardens, and open grassy areas.
The cafe itself serves up quality beans in a chilled out atmosphere. Don’t count on great Wi-Fi, but you won’t need it as this place inspires more connection and reflection than screen time.
This part of Chiang Mai really feels removed from the city, surrounded by a local artsy vibe out in nature. Every Sunday Morning, various markets pop up which makes for a great day out enjoying the festive vibe and good quality coffee. I highly recommend this cafe as a fun, unique spot to meet up with friends for a relaxing weekend morning over delicious coffee.
Originally based in Nimmanhaemin, Somkiat recently moved to the Baan Kang Wat area, a more hipster and artsy part of the city. This new location has created a very chilled out setting whilst maintaining the hipster feel of the original cafe.
Somkiat Cafe’s mix of espresso and slow bar coffees makes a great place to take some time out or get out of the hustle of Chiang Mai life for a peaceful work location. They offer a nice combination of modern indoor and garden outdoor seating, as well as an array of food options on their menu. The coffee is smooth and rich, a hidden gem in the Pong Noi neighborhood!
The Barisotel by The Baristro
The Barisotel by The Baristro is one of the newer cafe additions to the Nimman area. Stepping into this cafe, you definitely feel a unique vibe that sets it apart from many others in the area: pure and minimalist, with an all-white color scheme that somehow feels more cozy than stark.
The contrast of minimalist decor and lack of visual stimuli allows you to be 100% present with your coffee experience without distraction. It also seems to be a great place for focusing on work, as you’ll tend to see the “digital nomad” crowd gather here for work sessions on their laptops.
The Piccolo Latte has been my favorite from The Barisotel, and they serve their coffees with a cinnamon stick which makes for a nice extra touch! They also offer an array of delicious-looking cakes and desserts to compliment the simply delicious drinks and environment.
A Day In Chiang Mai – Coffee Brew
Located on the lower-east side of the Old City, A Day in Chiang Mai is a small yet bright little cafe serving up a variety of quality coffee drinks. With a minimalistic design offset by wood, brick, and antique accessories, it’s a pleasant spot to spend time away from the crowds in the city.
I personally love having the opportunity to meet and connect with the owner of the coffee shops I visit, which is perfect in Chiang Mai where so many cafes are locally own and run. The owner and head barista here shows great passion for his coffee, and welcomed my feedback on the experience.
A Day in Chiang Mai uses a variety of international and local beans, which have produced a great cup of coffee every time I’ve been to visit.
If you’re in the southeast side of the city, make sure to give this lovely little hipster cafe a try.
Right near CMU, this two-story cafe is often frequented by university students chatting and studying over one of their decadent coffees or green tea lattes. Their Aeropress bar serves up quality coffee from mostly local beans in the Nimman neighborhood.
The staff at Posrest are exceptionally friendly, and happy to modify any of your drinks to your liking – even offering almond milk as a substitute for those non-dairy drinkers. I particularly enjoyed the variety of seating options here, from the more traditional tables downstairs to floor seating on cushions upstairs, and a bar overlooking the entire spacious interior.
The coffees and other drinks are elegantly prepared, and consistent in quality. They do have a few options for small sweet snacks, but the focus here is definitely on the beverages. A great spot to do some work or catch up with friends in a cozy yet bright atmosphere.
Impresso is one of the longest-running cafes in Chiang Mai, and an absolutely establishment in Nimmanhaemin between Sois 11 and 13. While relatively smaller inside, Impresso has a nice patio where you can enjoy your coffee while people-watching and enjoying the general bustle of the Nimman neighborhood.
They boast not one, but two huge espresso machines serving up great coffee that always hits the spot for me. While a bit more on the expensive side, Impresso is worth it for the consistently delicious and strong espresso, and good vibes both inside and outside the cafe.
A few of the more interesting items on the menu include a black forest frappe and some other non-coffee concoctions – but the latte or cappuccino is your best bet to experience the quality of their beans.
Photo Source: FourSquare
Suan Pailom Coffee Roasting
On the outer northeast side of the city, in a lush area many foreigners refer to as “Nana Jungle”, you’ll find this adorable cafe tucked away amidst the leafy green plants and trees – map location here. Shawn, the roaster there, is a friend of mine and absolutely brilliant at what he does. A true connoisseur of coffee roasting, he had his own roaster designed and custom made – so there’s truly no other coffee experience like this in Chiang Mai!
This is a great cafe to visit particularly on Saturday mornings when the farmers market opens up in the Suan Pailom neighborhood, drawing a lively crowd of locals and visitors to enjoy local organic foods, crafts, and of course – coffee. Dip into the cafe for a fabulously roasted V60 pour over, but be prepared to give up your technology – they’re so passionate about the coffee experience, that they’ll actually confiscate your phone so as to eliminate distraction! The perfect weekend cafe to relax and catch up with friends in a jungle vibe.
Photo Cr. Suan Pailom Coffee Roasting.
186 Cafe & Bar
To visit 186 Cafe & Bar you’ll have to take a trip outside of Chiang Mai, as it’s located north of the city right across the road from Mae Jo University. Whether you’re on a day trip or just want to experience a new area, this cafe is definitely worth the trip!
Pi Bang, the owner, has become a good friend of mine who’s taught me all about the local and important roasted beans they use in the cafe. He’s so passionate about creating a wonderful space that he actually co-designed the architecture of the cafe itself!
I love this cafe for chilling and working if I’m heading up north, as the baristas consistently serve up great coffees from their slow bar and espresso machine. The vibes are spacious yet cozy, the perfect combination for a cafe I love returning to again and again.
TOONGs Coffee HQ
Down near the south entrance to the Sameong Loop, TOONGs Coffee HQ is a gem of a find if you don’t mind making the drive! It’s always fun to discover fabulous new coffee shops outside of the main city, and this one fits the bill perfectly.
They import and roast local and international “green beans” which they then supply to many of the popular cafes around Chiang Mai, including the Larder.
TOONGs doesn’t mess around when it comes to their espresso machine of choice. They opt for the Slayer – essentially the Ferrari of espresso machines. You can trust that they’ll craft you a delicious handmade coffee every time, making this cafe well worth the trip for devout coffee lovers or those interested in exploring outside the beaten path of the main city.
Nitro Cafe Chiangmai
What sets apart Nitro Cafe from the rest in Chiang Mai is their focus on (surprise!) Nitro Cold Brew coffee. So what is nitro coffee, exactly? Nitro Cafe’s Cold Brew is regular cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen to give it a delicious, creamy texture and flavor that’s similar to a chocolatey Guinness stout.
The result is a delicious and refreshing coffee with a rich, creamy head – perfect for a hot day in Chiang Mai, and totally unique to this great cafe. Nitro Cafe is right in the back of the Sirimangkalajarn area near Nimman, and is a must-try for serious coffee lovers. This is one of my go-to places when I’m craving a fully refreshing coffee that’s different from a regular iced Americano or cold brew.
Right on the east banks of the Ping River, Khagee is a unique and delicious cafe with bright, minimalist vibes and super friendly owners. Their coffee is consistently good, the cappuccino smooth and Americano perfectly strong. But the standout feature here is the baked goods selection, the quality of which rises far and beyond the rest of Chiang Mai.
With everything from artisan breads and bagels to handmade lemon tarts, scones, and chocolate cakes, this Japanese-style bakery is the perfect hideout for lovers of sweet treats and smooth coffee. You can really feel the love the owners have put into this cafe – I love coming here for a weekend treat.
As one of the coffee capitals of the world, Chiang Mai is always popping up with new cafes – and Brew Fact is one of the latest and greatest. Located in the east side of the Nimman neighborhood, off Sirimangkalajarn Soi 7, this great little cafe is still relatively undiscovered. While Nimman is jam-packed with coffee shops, this other side of the neighborhood is less concentrated as of yet, making Brew Fact a real stand-out.
This new hotspot sports amazing baristas and a slow bar for V60 pour-over coffee, with a real eye for detail. The coffee is consistently delicious, and the cafe great for working. I have no doubts that Brew Fact will catch on soon and become one of the more popular cafes in the area!
With a bright and modern interior, it’s a great place to spend a morning with a book or laptop – so make sure to jump on the bandwagon before it becomes too crowded!
Previously all the way out by Payap University, the Brewing Room has recently just moved closer to the city, just over the Ping River on the way to the train station. And this is good news – because it’s a great spot to grab some of your favorite international roasts here in Chiang Mai!
It’s a pretty wild, small world when you’re enjoying Portland, Oregon’s Stumptown Coffee in Thailand, but that’s exactly what you can get here at Brewing Room. While they do offer up some local roast, this cafe prides themselves on their international variety.
One cool thing about Brewing Room is they don’t have Wi-Fi, so unlike most “digital nomad” cafes in Chiang Mai, you can spend your time actually connecting to your coffee and those around you!
Both the espresso and slow bar coffees are exquisite. A must-visit on the east side of the city by the Ping River!
*some images from old location
NowHere – Roast & Brew
You know how sometimes, you find the best food at hole-in-the-wall places? Well, NowHere reminds me of exactly that. This place is literally a hole-in-the-wall coffee booth just off Moon Muang Soi 6, in a hippy, backpacker corner of the Old City.
While it’s easy to walk by without a second glance, NowHere is definitely worth a stop. The owner loves the slow coffee life, and roasts his own beans by hand so you can really taste that handcrafted difference.
As you might expect, his cafe serves up only slow bar coffee! It’s places like this that really make me appreciate slow coffee culture, and the truly personal aspect of this approach. NowHere is a great place to stop by for a delicious espresso, chat with the owner, and soak in real coffee culture with your java.
Roxpresso Coffee Craft
If you’re looking for a place that’s truly serious about their coffee, Roxpresso is your place. There’s only one type of coffee served up here: and that’s the highest quality kind brewed up in the ROK espresso machine.
What sets ROK-brewed coffee apart from the rest? The espresso machine manual and non-electric, giving the barista more control over each pour. It takes a skilled barista to produce a great shot every time with this machine, since it’s not automated, and Roxpresso delivers. This machine produces a richer, more subtly-flavored espresso than most electric machines.
While not cheap, the coffee from Roxpresso Coffee Craft is definitely worth if you’re looking for a top-notch coffee experience. It’s also a good place to work from, with a clean aesthetic and tables spacious enough for a laptop.
Situated right next to the popular Food4Thought Cafe off Canal Road, Bay’s Cafe is run by Bay himself, a friendly and engaging coffee passionista. Dedicated to great coffee, he serves up slow bar coffee only, mainly using the V60 and Aeropress brewing methods.
Bay’s beans vary between local Thai and international roasts, and he’s always happen to explain the different varieties and brewing methods to his guests. The Cold Brews are a standout, served up either black or with milk. Bay’s is the epitome of handcrafted coffee, served up with passion and flair.
And the vibes couldn’t be better, right in lovely the Food4Thought garden where you can work with your laptop or order some of the fresh, healthy food from the restaurant. Bay’s is a delightful spot to enjoy truly great coffee, meet other locals expats, and chill out for as long as you like!
กาแฟทอฝัน ( Thor Phan Coffee )
This Thai-named coffee shop, which means “Dream Coffee”, is found just outside the east side of Thapae Gate in the Old City. Primarily a roaster, they do offer a cool, chilled-out space to relax and enjoy your coffee away from the crowds.
In the midst of plenty of chain cafes around the Thapae Gate area, Thor Phan is a standout and welcomed haven for quality roasts. Their espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos are all great and beautifully-presented, while the brick interior feels cozy and inviting. I highly recommend checking out this cafe if you’re in or around the Thapae Gate area!
Chiang Mai’s Old City is endearingly packed with little cafes, a crowd of coffee contenders where Bart Coffee stands out as a particularly great hole-in-the-wall. Another one you may stumble over without noticing,
Bart’s coffee is so good that it hardly matters you won’t find a place to sit. (You will enjoy a great respite from the heat, however, in the tiny air-conditioned quarters!)
Stepping into the nicely chilled box of a cafe, the coffee aroma is absolutely delicious. I ordered a cappuccino, and discovered that the owner and barista is brilliant at his latte art! I always love receiving a beautifully-presented coffee, and this one topped the charts.
My second time here, I ordered the cafe macchiato, which was incredible. The owner blends up his variety of beans with such artistry that I plan to return to this little dive cafe again and again – and recommend you do too!
Flour Flour Cafe
With a name like Flour Flour, you’ve got to expect this cafe to dish up some serious baked goodness along with its coffee – and you’d be right. Tucked into Nimman Soi 17, this little hideaway is lesser known among the expat crowd, which makes it feel like a decadent break from the masses.
One thing you’ll notice about many Chiang Mai cafes is that they’re decorated with certain themes – and Flour Flour follows suit, taking on an Amish, farmhouse style that feels both quaint and breezy. As promised, their breads and baked goods are some of the best in town. The cakes pair delightfully well with the slow bar local Thai coffee, and their breads are on point.
For savory cravings, make sure to order their open-faced smashed avocado toast. Anything on bread here is sure to be a winner!
Qahwa Coffee Estate
Not often that you get to visit a full-on coffee estate, right? You’ll need to make a trip out of Chiang Mai to visit this one, but trust me, it’s worth it.
The estate is owned and run by Pi Lek, an incredibly talented roaster, farmer, and coffee producer. Their slow bar coffee is well worth the trip for the true coffee enthusiast – and it’s a great opportunity to see another area of Chiang Mai as well!
My favorite bean and coffee at Qahwa is made with his local Thai ‘Dirty Honey’ process. Super naturally sweet and fruity, this bean tastes stronger when brewed with the Aeropress. This is another great cafe to get to know the owner, learning about the roasting process, and really get a taste for slow local coffee.
Caliente Coffee Roaster
Caliente really is one of my go-to cafes in Chiang Mai, in part because An, the owner, has become such a wonderful friend. I can’t emphasize enough the enjoyment of having a personal connection with a cafe owner, to fully experience their passion and love for the craft.
An roasts his own beans here, sourcing a variety including the Typica beans from Laos. Sometimes he will even have Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, best served as an Americano (so as not to dilute the quality of this bean with milk!)
Because Caliente has become so popular, An has opened up two locations: one right at the West gate in the Old City (now called West Gate Cafe under new ownership), and the other 15 minutes south. I love that Caliente continues to serve up some of the best coffee at such an affordable price in the Old City, always made with passion and artistry!
Yellow Crafts Cafe
Off Suthep Road near the university, Yellow Crafts Cafe is an unassuming little hideout that serves surprisingly bold and rich coffee. While you may not want to set up shop for the work day in this small cafe, it’s perfect for chilling and enjoying your drink in a cool atmosphere.
Yellow Crafts mostly sources their beans from other roasters, but their V60 brew is phenomenal. Another perk is that they offer soy milk as an alternative to regular dairy, which is becoming more and more common in the Chiang Mai coffee scene.
With minimalist decor and a small selection of cute little sweet treats to accompany your drink, the focus is most certainly on the coffee at this winning cafe.
Zzziesta Chiang Mai
Zzziesta is one of my favorite cafes in the local, up-and-coming Santitham neighborhood. It’s attached to a hotel of the same name, and has a great ambiance that’s perfect for spending a few hours working or chilling away from the bustle of the Old City or Nimmanhaemin.
Their espresso is a standout here, and there are a variety of spacious tables and stand-up counters with a garden view for getting work done. While this cafe is spacious and bright, it doesn’t seem to be too well-known among the nomad community yet, so you’ll normally be able to find a space just fine.
With good vibes and fast Wi-Fi, this is definitely a go-to spot for spending time with great coffee and some work.
Street Coffee Crew
If you’re out and about Chiang Mai at various events, you’re bound to run into the Street Coffee Crew at some point! They pop up with their coffee cart at one of the city’s many art or music fairs, markets, or festivals to serve up their signature coffees. While it’s hard to give them an intentional visit (because they have no official location!), this makes it all the more fun when you do finally pin them down.
The hip barista, who moonlights as a barber, is a fantastic latte artist – not something you’d probably expect from a coffee cart! Their iced lattes are a particular favorite, strong and flavorful. It’s always a treat to run into the high-energy Street Coffee Crew and watch them doing their thing! The cart always has a line of eagerly-awaiting customers ready to caffeinate with their delicious brews.
The recently remodeled Begin Again is truly a unique establishment in the Pong Noi area of Chiang Mai, near Wat Umong. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a striking modern design, this is one cafe that will stick in your mind after you leave.
I particularly love exploring cafes with great coffee and a unique ambiance, and Begin Again delivers on both accounts. Their slow bar coffee is delicious, and the Slayer espresso machine serves up consistently good espresso beverages each time. They also have a food menu with typical Thai dishes if you’re feeling hungry.
My favorite part of Begin Again, aside from the fab coffee, is the unique garden atmosphere outside where you really feel like you’re surrounded by the jungle. The long wooden tables with benches are a perfect place to spread out with friends and chat amidst the palms and vines while sipping high-quality coffee.
Artisan One Nimman
The Artisan chain of coffee shops have been quite the institution in Chiang Mai, so I was excited to discover they finally opened a spin-off right in the new One Nimman complex. Their handcrafted coffee truly stands out in a city with what seems like ten coffee shops on every corner. Bold and beautifully presented, the coffee at Artisan always hits the spot for me in a way that fuels my coffee-loving soul!
Artisan One Nimman has teamed up with a restaurant their focus is fully on the coffee – making this the ideal spot to grab a great cup and a great brunch from the same location. Like its larger cafe counterparts, the Artisan One Nimman is effortlessly stylish, committed to the great coffee that so many of Chiang Mai’s residents have known and loved for years.
This is definitely one cafe location that I hope to see stick around.
If you’re down for adventuring a bit outside the city, Bluekoff is a worthy find out in the northeast area just outside the Ping River. Just stepping into the cafe, you know they mean business with their coffee. With high-end espresso machines and a team of baristas busy serving up gorgeous lattes, this is one cafe you’ll want to stop and take a seat at – and probably stay for more than just one coffee.
Bluekoff sources their beans locally from the “Doi Chang” area of Chiang Rai, a few hours north of Chiang Mai. They are committed to social enterprise, helping to improve the livelihood of local farmers, while preserving the natural environment. So if local and sustainable is important to you, Bluekoff is right up your alley.
Come here for delicious local roasts, impressive latte art, and a fresh modern vibe off the beaten path north of the city.
Image courtesy of Bluekoff
This fantastic, bright cafe really stands out on Huay Kaew road as a perfect spot to get some work done over great coffee. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but Thesis is extremely spacious inside, with tons of seating to accommodate remote workers, university students studying for exams, and those just here for the coffee.
The coffee itself is consistently great – the mochas are particularly delicious, and the Americano is always a winner. They also serve a variety of tasty desserts if you’re feeling peckish, including scones and brownies with whipped cream (impossible to resist!)
Definitely don’t miss Thesis Coffee if you’re looking for a place to get things done – the stand-up tables and spacious interior make this cafe a fantastic office away-from-home.
Overstand is a bit of an establishment for local expats in the Old City. Serving up fabulous brunches, this cafe is nearly always packed with “farangs” on weekend mornings. While their coffee hasn’t been a little hit or miss for me, their espresso is generally good and they offer a variety of milk options which caters well to the foreign crowd.
What it sometimes lacks in consistency in the coffee realm, Overstand makes up for in good vibes and a community feel. A large stand-up table is a great spot for spreading out with creative projects, and the cafe also periodically hosts lively community events.
As far as food goes, most everything on the brunch menu is a complete winner. The vegetarian panini and flatbread pizza in particular are standouts, gorgeously served up on a wooden platter fit for any hipster’s Instagram account.
Overstand has now opened up a new location in One Nimman that is also worth checking out.
One of the first things you’ll notice walking into Fahtara Cafe is the chilled, nature vibe of this Northern Thai-style cafe. An oasis in the Old City, you’d almost never notice this cafe was here if you weren’t looking for it, which makes it feel even more delightful find when you do.
With vines draping over the front entrance and a cozy wood interior, this cafe makes you feel right at home amidst the bustling city. Their coffee is consistently super tasty, and their food is impressive as well, making this a great place to stop by for a quick bite alongside your latte.
For lighter options, I loved the fruit and granola with yogurt – but the Mango cashew French toast is a must-try if you’re feeling a bit more decadent!
FIEOW Coffee ROOM Roaster Shop
Another cafe located outside the main city area, FIEOW is a gem found just southeast past the Ping River. The owner is a Q grader, and provides an excellent space for enjoying top-notch coffee and working if you like to escape the city. With quirky decor and a cheerful interior, you’ll definitely find it easy to stay here for a few hours.
I’ve had several things on the menu at FIEOW, all of them solid offerings. The espresso is bold and smooth, and their iced drinks are flavorful and always seem to hit the spot. They don’t serve food here, as they focus solely on the coffee, so make sure not to come hungry.
Spacious tables and good Wi-Fi make this a great spot to camp out with your laptop and try several coffees on the menu during your workday!
The Baristro on the Ping
Opened in January 2018, the Baristro on the Ping River has already become hugely popular with locals and expats in the area! This cafe really knows what they’re doing, working the full coffee kit in style – espresso, slow bar, coffee grinders and all. It’s definitely one of the city’s standouts, and one of the best new cafes on the east side of the city.
There really isn’t anything this new cafe isn’t doing right – with its hip, spacious interior, locals flock to enjoy stellar coffee in a great atmosphere every day of the week. They serve food and sweets as well, and while the food offerings weren’t as fantastic as the coffee, they certainly get the job done in a pinch!
To Wrap Up
I hope you get some value from this list above and managed to visit a few of the best coffee shops of Chiang Mai.
Did you have a good experience with these Coffee Shops? Have you found any new coffee shops lately? Please leave your comment below and share your experience or their new location.