Specialty Coffee Cafes in Bangkok

specialty coffee cafes bangkok

Thailand’s specialty coffee scene has been growing tremendously. Over the past 3-5 years, Thailand has produced baristas who are making waves on the world stage including Arnon Thitiprasert, who clinched the World Latte Art Championships in 2017.

Specialty coffee cafes are plentiful in Bangkok and most of them tend to be located in the Thonglor and Ekkamai areas.

Since Loud Kitchen was in Bangkok to run a coffee pop-up for a client, we decided to take some time off to hunt for some of the best coffee in the city. As head baristas who have owned two cafes previously, we are always on the lookout for impressionable cafes to learn from and to connect with fellow baristas.

Here, we share some of the cafes we’d discovered in Bangkok as well as our thoughts. If you’re a fellow coffee enthusiast, this article might point you in a good direction to find some pretty delicious coffee in Bangkok. It might even save you some money and make the most of your caffeine intake.

We’ve compiled the list of specialty coffee cafes in Bangkok, you can access our list here. However, as our café hopping trip was limited to just 2 days, we did not manage to visit all of the cafes in our list. We were going to spend as much time as we could afford in each of the cafés we visited, and to talk to their baristas if possible.

How was the list of specialty coffee cafes compiled?

During our previous trips to Bangkok, we had visited specialty coffee cafes and got to know some of the local baristas. Like most places, the specialty coffee scene is rather tight in Bangkok and it became our habit to ask for recommendations.

This was how the initial list was derived, we find ourselves expanding the list each time we speak to friendly baristas in Bangkok.

What we look out for when tasting coffee

We are not professional specialty coffee judges. However, having been in the specialty coffee scene for the past 5 to 6 years as baristas and café owners, we have developed a sense of what we think should be in a cup of specialty coffee – mainly the identifiable flavour notes that are true to the origin, process and roast level of the beans, with the right texture of milk (for the drink) and served at the right temperature.

When tasting a coffee, these are what we look out for:

  • Taste: A good cup in our definition is balanced. It should be naturally sweet, with hints of pleasant acidity (depending on the source and roast level of the beans) and nice chocolate notes. It should not deliver a piercing, unpleasant sourness nor a strong, lingering bitterness. A well extracted cup should also have a long lasting, pleasant aftertaste, or bouquet.
  • Where are the beans from?: Beans grown at different countries and regions exhibit specific characteristics in the cup (as long as they have not been dark roasted to oblivion). We look for such characteristics in the cup once we determine where the beans are from.
  • Milk texture: Did you know that Flat Whites, Café Lattes and Cappuccinos should all have different milk textures? We tend to favour flat whites when we do our tasting, simply because it’s our favourite. Hey, as mentioned above, we’re not professional judges. In a flat white, we look for a fine, silky milk texture that barely overlays the coffee instead of a thick layer of foamy milk. And yea, extra points for latte art.

If any of this has peaked your interest, look out for our upcoming articles on an introduction to specialty coffee, coffee tasting and the Bean to Cup philosophy of Specialty Coffee. You can keep updated on our articles if you follow us on Facebook and Instagram too.

Also check out our article on the different types of coffee drinks, their history and their characteristics here.

Disclaimer: We had strike up conversations with many of the friendly baristas but didn’t want to mention that we’d be writing an article about their café, nor asked for posed photos. Hence, what you see below were everyday scenes captured during our short visit to each café.

Specialty coffee cafes in Bangkok

If you like the romantic idea of randomly stumbling into a café selling specialty coffee, your odds would be higher if you are around Ekkamai or Thong Lor.

Hands and Heart Café

A quaint little café located a stone throw away from the Thong Lor BTS station. Don’t be fooled by their tiny set up, Hands and Heart has a complete production chain that includes sourcing and roasting their own specialty grade beans.

Hands And Hearts Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

The café features a minimalistic theme with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to pour in. Take a seat at the bar if you like to watch baristas at work, or tap on your phone at their tables while using the free wifi.

Hands And Hearts Barista
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Hands and Heart emphasizes on building community and placing people first. Before you return the menu, read about their story.

Serving: Espresso Based and Hand Brewed Coffees

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: La Marzocco Linea Mini
  • Espresso Grinder(s): Mahlkonig K30
  • Hand Brew Grinder(s): Mahlkonig EK43

Opening Hours: 7am to 7 pm daily

Location: 33 Sukhumvit 38 Alley, Khwaeng Phra Khanong, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (@handsandheartcoffee)

What we had:

Hands And Hearts Flat White
Photography by Loud Kitchen

White Coffee – 120 baht

Featuring their ‘Underdog’ blend, made up of locally grown Thai coffee beans, we detected notes of Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut and Brown Sugar. It was a good complement alongside their ‘Dirty Heart’ dessert which won our hearts.

Oh, they roast their own beans at their roastery located at their Ekkamai branch as well. Too bad it was closed for renovation when we were in Bangkok.

They retail a good range of coffee blends and single origins at their café, at reasonable prices. Feel free to ask the barista about their latest offerings.

Hands And Hearts Retail Coffee Beans
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Dirty heart – 120 baht

For those with sweet tooth, Dirty Heart is an addictive milk pudding topped with your choice of espresso or chocolate. We went with the coffee option (of course); about 15ml of cold espresso drizzled over a soft, delicate milk pudding.

Hands And Hearts Dirty Heart
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Every mouthful was filled with sweet, citrus notes derived from the espresso. This was  balanced nicely by the milk pudding. We loved the interplay between the flavours and the texture was nice and silky on the tongue.

Croissant – 80 baht

Hands And Hearts Pastry
Photography by Loud Kitchen

It’s difficult to miss their display of pastries and cakes taking center stage on the shop floor. We had their croissant, a crisp delicious pastry freshly baked in house. It was neither too sweet nor oily.

What else to expect?

Hands And Hearts Aeropress Champ
Photography by Loud Kitchen

If espresso based coffee isn’t your thing, you should definitely give their hand brews a try. After all, Hands and Heart is the home of the Thai Aeropress runner up barista. They should be pretty knowledgeable about their hand brew coffees (or Aeropress coffee at the least).

We gave filter coffee a miss as we wanted to focus solely on espresso based coffee during this café hopping trip for a consistent comparison.


Kaizen Coffee Co.

Cosy little coffee bar powered by a passionate crew of baristas and chefs. Kaizen Coffee is a fun place to hang out, especially if you’re a coffee enthusiast. Kaizen boasts a minimalist design that focuses on their coffee.

Kaizen Coffee Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

The baristas are friendly and it seems to us that they have a strong group of regulars whom the baristas immediately recognise the moment they entered the café.

It’s always a good experience when the barista actually asks you for your taste preference, before brewing your cup of coffee. And Kaizen Coffee left a strong impression for providing such a personable experience.

If you are constantly on the lookout for specialty cafes with welcoming baristas, this is where you’d want to head to on your next visit to Bangkok.

Kaizen Coffee Barista
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Serving: Espresso Based, Hand Brewed and Nitro Cold Brew Coffees

P.S. They have relocated to a new location as of April 2019.

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: La Marzocco Linea PB
  • Espresso Grinder(s): Mazzer Major
  • Hand Brew Grinder(s): Mahlkonig EK43

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm daily

Location: (new location) 888 6-7 Ekkamai Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (@kaizencoffeeco)

What we had:

Kaizen Coffee Latte Art
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Flat white – 120 baht

Featuring Kaizen’s blend of Kenya (70%) and Ethiopian (30%) beans, Kaizen’s flat white is served with a double ristretto base that you can immediately detect. The coffee taste remains distinct while blending well with the silky milk texture of the flat white.

We detected bright tasting stone fruit and berries, caramels and baker’s chocolate, with a hint of florals in the aftertaste. There was a welcomed complexity in the flavors and slightly muted acidity from the natural process of the Ethiopian beans as well.

Kaizen Coffee Retail Beans
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Kaizen Coffee sources, roasts and retails their own coffee beans as well. During our visit they had two coffee blends and two single origins on their shelves. If you brew your own coffee back at home and want to get some freshly roasted specialty coffee beans, just ask the baristas for recommendations. We’re pretty sure that they will recommend something that suits your palate.

Acai Bowl

Kaizen Coffee Acai Bowl
Photography by Loud Kitchen

It was around lunch time during our visit hence we decided to try their Acai bowl. It was a good balance between fruit, nuts and yoghurt, neither too sweet nor sour. The generous portion definitely makes a healthy, hearty meal.


Glow Coffee

We stumbled onto Glow Coffee on our way to the BTS station. This one was not on our list but we’re glad to have found it.

Glow Coffee Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

If you love to take photos, this café will not disappoint. A country cottage themed café littered with petite plants and a variety of coffee brewing equipment, it’s the perfect rest stop for the coffee loving traveller who likes to keep their Instagram feed updated.

Glow coffee offers quite the range of espresso and filter coffees at affordable prices. They also roast their beans in house.

A noteworthy observation was the amount of care and effort that was placed into the way they distribute their coffee grounds before loading it into the espresso machine.

Glow Coffee Bar
Photography by Loud Kitchen

The barista may seem rather reserved but is very generous with sharing once you start a conversation with him.

Serving: Espresso Based and Hand Brewed Coffees

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: Samremo Verona
  • Espresso Grinder(s): Rancilio Kryo 65 OD
  • Hand Brew Grinder(s): Pegasus

Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm daily

Location: 1097, 1099 Sukhumvit Rd, Klongton Nue Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook.

What we had:

Flat white – 65 baht

Glow Coffee Flat White
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Brewed with beans from Mandalay, Myanmar, our flat white was filled with chocolate notes, caramel and a very muted acidity.

If you’re in the mood for hand brew coffees, Glow Coffee is the place to be. They offer one of the most affordable hand brew coffees starting from 100 baht. What makes it even better is that you have a wide selection of single origin beans to choose from.

They had a selection of Ethiopia, Myanmar and Panama single origin beans during our visit.

Glow Coffee Single Origin Beans
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Ink & Lion

Having been in the café business for years, Ink & Lion needs little introduction. This is one of the popular specialty coffee cafes in Bangkok alongside One Ounce for Onion and Roast (which we sadly didn’t get to visit this time round). Hence expect crowds if you’re there during the peak hours on the weekend.

Ink and Lion Bar
Photography by Loud Kitchen

We dropped by on a Sunday at around 10.30am when it was still quiet. The crowd seems to come in at around 11 – 1130am. If you’re planning to visit on the weekend, you might want to go early.

Ink & Lion is a well decorated café with art pieces displayed along their walls. It is an fun café to explore and take some shots for your Instagram profile. Those who like to shop will also find their merchandise area particularly interesting with a range of coffee related merchandise.

Ink and Lion Merch
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Serving: Espresso Based and Hand Brewed Coffees

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: La Marzocco GB5
  • Espresso Grinder(s): Compak E8
  • Hand Brew Grinder(s): Mahlkonig EK43

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm (Weekdays), 9 am to 6 pm (Weekends)

Location: 1/7 ซอย สุขุมวิท 63 – ซอย เอกมัย 2 Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (@inkandlioncafe)

What we had:

Ink and Lion Flat White
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Flat white – 100 baht

During our visit, we had their Big Whale Blend made from a blend of Thai and Brazilian beans. It had a slight hint of citrus fruit, distinct dark chocolate notes with a subtle tinge of hazelnut, and balanced caramels. This makes for an enjoyable milk coffee, although we’d prefer if the milk foam was a tad thinner.

Ink and Lion Coffee Hopper
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Ink & Lion roasts their own beans and retail them at their store, so if you like what you taste, you can grab a bag off the shelf.

On top of espresso based coffee, Ink & Lion serves hand brew coffee as well. 

Their range of single origins is also available on their retail shelf, along with other merchandises.

Ink and Lion Retail Coffee
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Cactus Nitro Beverage

Another establishment that we stumbled upon while searching for our next café. Cactus Nitro Beverage isn’t your typical specialty coffee café but a nitro coffee bar that serves a range of ice cold nitro brewed coffee and teas on tap.

Cactus Nitro Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Nitro Coffee? That’s “specialty” enough in our books and a much welcomed resting point, especially in the hot Bangkok weather as we made our café hopping way on foot.

The service was excellent. The barista was extremely patient in explaining their range of nitro coffees and teas. She even gave out samples as she engaged and explains the various drinks they had on tap.

Cactus Nitro Barista
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Serving: Nitro Coffees and Teas

Opening hours: 9.30 am to 6 pm (Weekdays), 10 am to 6 pm (Weekends)

Location: 33/4 Ekkamai Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them at Facebook or Instagram (@cactusnitro)

What we had:

Cactus Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Photography by Loud Kitchen

We tried their Nitro Black Coffee and Thai Milk Tea which were a godsend in the searing hot weather. The Nitro Black Coffee was fruity and naturally sweet while the Thai Milk Tea was good, but a tad too sweet for us. It’s true to the original taste and sweetness of Thai Milk Tea though, so all good.


Ekkamai Macchiato

A popular specialty coffee café complete with a comprehensive food menu. This was memorable because we had one of the best coffees of the entire café hopping journey.

Ekkamai Macchiato Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

They boast a full dine-in menu that includes local Thai and Western dishes, many of which were sold out by the time we visited. Head there early if you are looking for lunch options.

Ekkamai Macchiato roasts their coffee beans as well. As it was too busy during our visit (it was on a Sunday, at 1.50pm), we were not able to interact with the baristas.

Ekkamai Macchiato Coffee Bar
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Serving: Espresso Based Coffees

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: La Marzocco Linea PB
  • Espresso Grinder(s): Mazzer Kony E, Mahlkonig K30

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm (Weekdays), 9 am to 6 pm (Weekends), Closed on Tuesdays

Location: 6, 2 ซอย เอกมัย 12 Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Map)

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (@ekkamaimac)

What we had:

Flat white  – 100 baht

Ekkamai Macchiato Flat White
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Featuring their house blend of Thai, Brazilian and Ethiopian beans, we had an enjoyable flat white with a slight chocolate aftertaste. It was particularly memorable as we could taste all the distinct characteristics of the blend clearly and up front. Citrus, nuts and dark chocolate from the Brazil, Stonefruit and florals from the Ethiopia, and chocolates and caramel from the Thai beans.

A very balanced cup indeed. Furthermore, it did not carry the tinge of earthiness that seems to be present in some of the local coffee blends.

Our Thoughts:

Take a cab there if you want to travel in comfort. It takes about 20 minutes to walk there from Ekkamai BTS station, which wasn’t particularly fun in the hot Bangkok summer. Directions are pretty clear if you follow Google Maps.

It was disappointing that we didn’t get to try their food, we would definitely want to revisit Ekkamai Macchiato again.


Crazy about Cafe

Located next to the bus terminal at Ekkamai station, you’ll probably miss this cafe if you weren’t looking for it. We loved how they managed to create that homely, unpretentious and welcoming ambience, as opposed to the typical minimalist and ultramodern settings commonly associated with specialty coffee.

Crazy About Cafe Bar
Photography by Loud Kitchen

There was just something about the place that set us immediately and blissfully at ease.

There was no espresso machine in sight within the café! We learnt that all their espressos are brewed on an Aeropress. If you are looking for a different experience, this might be for you. During our visit, Crazy About Café was featuring an espresso house blend of 5 different types of beans from 4 different countries – Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Kenya.

Oh, you can expect to take some pretty good Instagram photos with the cosy retro interior design within the café.

Crazy About Cafe Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Serving: Aeropress based and Hand Brewed Coffees

Opening hours: 7am to 8pm daily Update: Crazy About Cafe is permanently closed.

Location: 3 Khwaeng Phra Khanong, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook

What we had:

Filtered Coffee (V60) – 140 baht

Crazy About Cafe Handbrew
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Given that their espresso is brewed on an Aeropress, it would not be a fair comparison against the coffees we have had thus far, due to the brewing conditions. Hence, we decided to treat ourselves to a hand brewed filter coffee instead.

Crazy About Cafe Filter Coffee
Photography by Loud Kitchen

We had a choice of single origin coffee beans from Thailand or Kenya. We went with Kenya.

It had distinct plum, caramel and chocolate notes when enjoyed warm. These mellowed out as the berries and bright fruity flavors came to the foreground when the coffee cooled. There was a tad of bitterness in the aftertaste which is desireable for some new specialty coffee drinkers.

Crazy About Café doesn’t roast their beans.

They were featuring coffee beans from Red Diamond Coffee Roasters during our visit. Red Diamond also has a specialty coffee café in Bangkok that we unfortunately did not visit in this café hopping trip. You can find them in our Specialty Coffee list. Hopefully we get to visit them during our next trip to Bangkok.

Crazy About Café offers a range of comfort food and beverages alongside their coffees. We visited during breakfast and decided to try their:

Omurice

Crazy About Cafe Omurice
Photography by Loud Kitchen

If you are looking for a satisfying breakfast, this does not disappoint. Crazy About Café’s serves a generous portion of omurice, complete with authentic brown sauce. This dish definitely serves up oodles of wonderful umami flavours and delightful textures. Not your typical café breakfast offering but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Double cheese toast

Crazy About Cafe Toast
Photography by Loud Kitchen

If simple comfort food is what you’re looking for, the double cheese toast might suit your palate. Very affordable and perfect if you’re looking for a quick and simple breakfast.


Kohi Roastery and Coffee Bar

The new kid on the block, you can count on being greeted with welcoming and passionate baristas at Kohi. They had just set up shop shortly before we visited and we’d say that Kohi is definitely one of the up and coming cafes to watch out for.

Kohi Roastery Cafe Interior
Photography by Loud Kitchen

This hidden gem is located within a corporate building and can be easy to miss. Lucky for us, we met a friendly coffee lover residing in Bangkok who recommended Kohi to us. It is located just a stone throw away from the busy Ekkamai Macchiato and served as a great pit stop.

Kohi Roastery Cafe Bar
Photography by Loud Kitchen

The barista was generous in sharing about coffee, if you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ll probably enjoy yourself here. Oh, did we mention that the baristas/partners are Singaporeans?

Serving: Espresso Based and Hand Brewed Coffees

Equipment:

  • Espresso Machine: La Marzocco Linea PB
  • Grinder(s): Mahlkonig EK43

Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm, Closed on Mondays

Location: 126, 5 ถนน สุขุมวิท Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (View on Google Maps)

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram (@kohi_roastery)

What we had:

Flat White – 100 baht

Kohi Roastery Cafe Flat White
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Featuring their own blend of Thai coffee beans, the flat white had hints of stonefruit, brown sugar, nuts and strong chocolate notes that went well with milk. The milk was done perfectly and delivered on the silky mouthfeel that we love.

Hot Chocolate

Kohi Roastery Cafe Hot Chocolate
Photography by Loud Kitchen

As this was an unexpected destination, one of us couldn’t handle any more caffeine intake and settled for a chocolate drink instead. After a series of coffees during our café hopping trip, this chocolate drink was definitely a lifesaver. It was not overwhelmingly sweet and was pleasantly smooth, with subtle acidity, nuts and strong erm… chocolate notes?

Filter coffee

After a good conversation with the barista and roaster, we were given tasting cups of filter coffee. And, we’ve got to say…it was the best we’ve had during our café hopping journey. Perfect extraction with clear, up front flavours and long finish.

Kohi Roastery Cafe Retail Beans
Photography by Loud Kitchen

Kohi sources and roasts their range of specialty coffee beans which are on sale as well. During our visit they were retailing single origin Thai beans. We were told that they are looking to expand their range in the near future.

Like this? Watch this space for more!

If you’ve found this useful, stay tuned! We aim to update this article as well as our Google Maps List of Bangkok Specialty Coffee Cafes, so if you’re a fellow coffee enthusiast, do bookmark these pages.

If there are cafes that you think should be include in this list, do leave us a comment below 🙂

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