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The Buzz: Chiang Mai’s Coolest Cafes

In some obscure cities, you might be reduced to committing the cardinal Starbucks sin when in need of a caffeine fix, but the booming cafe and coffee culture in Chiang Mai has provided a bevy of genuinely good java joints. This is Thailand via Melbourne – exposed brick, wood-clad interiors, hipster baristas, elaborate brunches and all.


Set up by an Aussie, the smart, black iron exterior oozes cool and the timber benches are perfect for a laptop n’ long black linger. They are partial to a bit of latte art-te here. Plus there’s sister Ristr8to Lab around the corner for cocktails later.

Ristr8to, 15/3 Nimmanhemin Rd, Muang, Chiang Mai. +66 5321 5278,


Standing room only in this sleek, industrial old city locale serving freshly house-roasted, single-origin beans. They do not offer WiFi, supposedly in order to promote the lost art of conversation. And if you simply cannot disconnect, Ponganes coffee is also available at brunch babe Nawat Home Cafe.

Ponganes, 133/5 Ratchapakinai Road, Muang, Chiang Mai. +66 87 727 2980,

Akha Ama Coffee

With a passion for involving local communities in the production and cultivation process, all Akha Ama coffee is grown in the northern Thai village of Maejantai, the hometown of owner Lee. You can buy the beans, as well as a cup of seriously good barista brew at the tucked-away cafe.

Akha Ama Coffee, 9/1 Mata Apartment, Hussadhisewee Road, Chang Phuak, Chiang Mai. +66 86 915 8600,

Impresso Espresso Bar 

Serious about serious coffee – just check out their arsenal of heavy machinery. The menu features a sparkling cold brew, and daily baked sweet treats are always on offer, while indoor/outdoor seating provides an ideal people watching perch.  

Impresso Espresso Bar, 28/1 Nimmanhaemin Road, Muang, Chiang Mai. +66 85 527 1324,

The Larder Cafe and Bar

In need of your smashed avo fix? The Larder dishes up elaborate brunches Brooklyn style, complete with sleeve-tattooed hipster baristas. There’s also glutenous goodies and a fab fresh juice selection, all to be savoured in the lovely leafy surrounds.  

The Larder Cafe and Bar, 3/9 Sukkasem Street, Muang, Chiang Mai. +66 52 001 594,

(Last updated: 24 August 2022)

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