Coffee is a latecomer to the Thai culinary scene, but it’s making up for lost time. High-quality locally grown beans—Arabica from northern provinces like Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, Robusta from Surat Thani—are storming Asian coffee circuits and winning raves for their distinctive terroir.
As with all things Thai, the capital of Bangkok is one of the best places to explore the nascent coffee scene, and the shops in this list offer different dimensions of the local brew. Some are set in historic houses or neighborhoods, while others are less about the coffee and more about the frills. Still, there are those that are fanatically dedicated to the bean, the whole bean, and nothing but the bean.
Despite its central Ploenchit location, the laid-back vibe in Samantao Heritage Coffee gives the impression of sitting in a genteel, rural bubble that insulates you from Bangkok’s chaos.
Located inside the century-old Nai Lert Park Heritage Home, Samantao owns its throwback appeal with its gorgeous teak-house setting and distinctively traditional menu: think Thai coffee mixed with butter, pandan custard steamed buns, and homey toast with soft-boiled egg. Step out onto the adjoining pier, which sits atop a pond that used to connect to the nearby Khlong Saen Saep waterway—a relic of the days when boats were the main way to get around Bangkok.
Located in Suan Luang District’s Thairong Tower, KIMMIK makes a good first impression with modern interiors that go heavy on exposed concrete and black finishes, offset with orange highlights and light wood furniture.
Its design is a terrific preview for KIMMIK’s adventurous experiments with coffee. The menu’s espresso-based selections include curious offerings like the Matcha Diffuso, a blending of chilled milk, espresso, and green tea; Seijaku, a coffee shot served with coconut-sugar jelly; and a cold brew latte made from Thai coffee beans. For dessert, try their Mat-Suki-To, which consists of red bean ice cream topped with a matcha shot; or, go for their collection of homemade scones served with cream and fruit jams.
There’s no shortage of cool hangouts along Ekkamai Soi 12, but Featherstone Cafe takes the cake with its Old World European interior and locally-sourced, handmade items for sale in the gift shop. (The façade straight out of Diagon Alley is a nice touch.) On the menu, you'll find French- and Italian-inspired offerings such as tagliatelle pasta with truffle mushroom sauce, mussels cooked in white wine, and French onion soup. Be sure to try their signature “Wild Gardenia,” a tall, cold drink with flower petals and lavender syrup. Or, for something more potent, the Cold Brew Ice Cube Latte.
This contemporary Chinese-style café in Yaowarat pioneered the odd double-decker seating arrangements, subsequently imitated by many other hipster coffee places throughout Asia.
Once you snap a few pics and get settled in, order from the Chinese/Thai hybrid menu, which features Thai Lhong Tou Yaowarat Tea, egg lava buns (fried bread stuffed with salted egg cream) and a wide-ranging dim sum selection that would not be out of place in a Hong Kong cha chaan teng. For something more substantial, order their “Chinese set”— a rice porridge (congee) with side dishes that you can mix into the porridge to taste.
This cafe’s odd name is “sisters” spelled backward, after the Sukhahuta siblings who established the fashion brand that the café is part of. Collaborating with U.K.-based lifestyle brand House of Hackney, Stresis Parlour created a whimsical design inspired specifically by their “Tamed Lovers” fashion collection, complete with floral wallpapers, high-vaulted starry-sky ceiling, and themed rooms.
Here you'll find an eclectic menu of cakes, tea, and coffee—but to have the whole experience, ask for their "Tea Time with The Unicorn" tea set, which combines a drink and a sandwich or Sretsis signature cake.
The cafe’s austere Nordic interiors belie its commitment to good coffee. Espressos and premium Black Honey coffee from Chiang Mai underpin a European/Mediterranean menu curated by Chef Chatin Dienel. The best items on the menu—which the chef switches up every month to keep things interesting—stay true to the cafe’s Nordic inspiration (think gravlax on Danish rye, made with salmon flown in from Norway). More substantial items appear in the evenings, like lamb couscous and a simply superb tikka masala. Rocket Coffeebar has a liberal attitude to alcohol, serving it from 8 a.m. to closing time at midnight. (Around here, you can have rosé all day!)
This award-winning specialty coffee shop grew its fanbase so fast, it's opened two additional locations since debuting in Yaowarat in 2018. Patrons can enjoy Nana Coffee Roasters’ carefully-selected and brewed beans, overseen by head barista Warong Chalanuchpong. From gratifyingly simple drinks like the Colombia Red Bourbon coffee to more elaborate preparations such as Le Boisson de Kanda (a blend of espresso, tea, and sparkling rose lemonade), you'll certainly find something to enjoy. Pair your brew with a freshly-baked pastry, like their sweet and fruity rhubarb cake.
Best-known for serving chocolate sauce from a toothpaste tube, this establishment in Bangkok’s Rama IX-Ratchada neighborhood sells a surprisingly playful coffee-and-chocolate lineup that contrasts against the austere, office-like interiors.
PRESSED serves AeroPress-prepared coffees and espresso-based drinks, which pair perfectly with the Gray Cheesecake, baked with charcoal and sprinkled with dried flower petals. If you want to ward off Bangkok’s stifling heat, order the Summer Garden, a soda flavored with elderflower and vanilla syrups.
This offbeat café/hostel has two main things going for it: its convenient location on Khaosan Road, and its railcar theme, with plenty of aluminum and chrome inside and out!
The dining car-like interiors of Tales Khaosan’s cafe are an excellent setting against which to try the local coffee. Ask for the Special Blend, which combines beans from Sumatra, Colombia, Brazil, and Thailand to produce an eye-opening medium-roast brew. Or, try the Something Tales, a refreshing Italian soda topped with sweet pea and apple.
Han Wang and his sisters didn’t set out to build a coffee shop initially. Wholesale, Thai-grown coffee is their core business, but curating the finished product was the next logical step, which they do quite well from a small glass-fronted shop along Sukhumvit soi 51.
Phil Coffee Company’s minimalist interiors are designed to focus all attention on the shop’s product. No frappuccinos here: simply expertly-brewed espressos, cold brews, and filtered coffees that allow the unique flavors of the Thai beans to come through. Take the Phil Coffee Company experience home with you afterward by purchasing a bag of coffee beans before you leave.