It’s coffee time!
Long gone is the time when espresso was an exclusively Italian experience. Now you can get a cappuccino everywhere from Bologna to Bangkok. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind though when getting a coffee in Thailand:
- street coffee from a road side stall will generally be made from instant coffee even when they call it americano or cappuccino
- in Southeast Asia most coffee is made from Robusta beans, while Europe and the Americas tend to prefer Arabica beans
- Cafe Amazon, True Coffee and Doi Chaang Cafe are some of the bigger franchises with coffee shops all over the country. The latter exclusively sells local coffee from northern Thailand.
For a road side coffee you can expect to pay ฿20-40. A decent coffee in a coffee shop will cost around ฿80. In some more fancy locations, as well as in the big international franchises you can easily pay more than ฿100 per cup.
Are you working online and looking specifically for coffee shops to work form? Then check out our guide for digital nomads.
Looking for the ultimate guide to the best local and international coffee in Bangkok, Sukhumvit? Well, it’s your lucky day. Just keep on reading.Legend – price per coffee: ≤ ฿50 ฿50-฿100 > ฿100
Thai style iced coffee
My favorite road side coffee
One of my guilty pleasures and favorite coffee fixes happens to come right from the little alley around the corner of Monkey Nap hostel. A tiny street stall on the side of the road run by this old Thai lady with a golden smile is a high up contestant for Bangkok’s best iced coffee. Deep black coffee powder is mixed with hot water in an empty milk tin, sweetened with condensed milk and poured hot over a jug of ice – Thai style. You may argue it’s not real coffee, but how could you argue with a dose of icy cold, caffeine infused sweetness to set you off on your hot Bangkok adventure?!
This is not the only street coffee you can get in Sukhumvit. You will find those stalls all over, with the highest concentration of them typically around the BTS stations. Although most of them won’t have a sign nor a menu, they are easily recognized by the assortment of syrup bottles and milk tins on their bench. They open early in the morning when people arrive for work and are typically gone in the early afternoon after the lunch rush is over.
Still that coffee from Soi 30 is by far my favorite.
The real deal
Enough of the hostel style caffeine-flavored chicory broth they shamelessly sell for coffee? I hear you! But fret not, Sukhumvit got you covered. This place is crawling with stylish coffee shops.
The Camp Coffee
I found out about The Camp Coffee from a friend I met at MonkeyNap hostel. She told me about a place that sells a decent medium sized cappuccino for ฿50 and I couldn’t believe it. As any good traveler would do, I tried hunting it down on googlemaps, but to no avail. This place is not even on the map!
She actually had to show it to me as I would have never found it by myself. When you walk from MonkeyNap towards the Emporium mall turn left into Soi 24 just before the mall entrance. After not more than 100 m you will see a small coffee cubicle called “Street Coffee”. Do not go there. They serve awful burnt coffee from stale beans. But just in front of it to your right there is an entrance to a building complex saying “WELCOME” in large letters. Walk through that entrance and you will find The Camp Coffee to your right. If you look carefully you could maybe see a small lit up coffee sign from where the entrance is.
The place itself is not very charming – two tables, fluorescent lights and no frills. But the coffee is decent, the Thai lady who runs the shop is lovely and the value for money unbeatable.
My personal coffee lover’s choice pick is the tiny take-away coffee stand EspressoMan on Soi 49. It’s a bit out of the way, unless you happen to be spending the day at The Hive co-working. Here, you can choose between light, medium and dark roasted single-origin beans. I prefer mine medium – full body flavor but less bitter than a dark roast.
Every single one of their coffee creations I’ve tried has been absolutely divine. Though if I had to pick a favorite I’d go with their iced mocha. A blend of premium coffee and rich coco smothered in milk foam – it’s out of this world. And you haven’t heard the best of it yet: it’s one of the cheapest coffee shops around! The cappuccino goes for a mere ฿75.
If you love their coffee as much as I do you can also purchase a bag of their freshly roasted beans to enjoy back home.
Li-bra-ry Cafe is a charming place tucked away around a corner from Soi 24. This place can be a bit tricky to find. In fact the first time I cam here I walked straight past it. To my luck my Thai friend I was meeting there came cruising past me on a moto taxi in that exact moment and pointed to a place just behind me shouting: “Hey, where you going? It’s right here.”
When you walk down Soi 24, away from the BTS, watch out for a large Japanese Restaurant called Shintake, right at a corner. Turn right into the little alley and Li-bra-ry cafe will be just there on the right hand side.
Their coffee is great and you should try some of their famous pandan waffle creations. Pandan is a Southeast Asian plant widely used in desserts for flavor and as a food coloring. It’s kind of like a Southeast Asian version of vanilla. Just that, you know, it makes everything green. You should try for yourself and decide if you like it. The cappuccino here costs ฿105.
Deep into Soi 26 you can find the Casa Lapin Specialty Coffee Shop. Casa Lapin is a chain of classy coffee shops with five outlets in Bangkok. They serve single-origin coffee as well as their delicious Thai grown house blend. The high quality coffee and cozy-chic atmosphere of this place comes at a price – the latte goes for a lavish ฿120 and lunch starts at ฿200. Still if you love your coffee, or simply want to escape the heat of the day I can highly recommend this place.