Bangkok’s coffee scene has plenty to brag about: this is a city that means business when it comes to getting caffeinated, with a wide array of coffee shops to fuel its characteristic energy. There’s a strong Aussie influence, but names from Japan and Singapore are also starting to make themselves known, which means you’ll find any kind of blend, roast and style you could possibly dream of, from pour-over to creamy nitro espresso. From all-out coffee schools like Solos Coffee and stylish co-working cafes to social hubs like Karo Coffee Roasters where you might just spot some famous faces, here are the best places to get your caffeine fix in the Thai capital.
Karo Coffee Roasters
What: Coffee with Bangkok’s governor
Where: 52 Soi Pridi Banomyong 26, Phra Khanong Nuea, Watthana
Karo Coffee Roasters is more than a coffee shop: it’s a social hub, with one of its main attractions being charismatic Sri Lankan owner Karo Iyash and his roster of celebrity clientele – including the likes of Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt. But the coffee is excellent too: Iyash has curated a selection of beans from different origins around the world, and his nose is so good he roasts for several other Thai coffee shops as well as businesses based overseas. There are two signature house blends: Headless (more acidic) and Fearless (more floral), alongside daily brews that leverage blends from around the world, including Iyash’s own microlots.
Nana Coffee Roasters
What: House-roasted coffee in photogenic surroundings
Where: 24/2 Ari 4 Alley, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400
Nana offers premium coffee and baked goods against a beautiful backdrop, no matter which location you happen to visit. The jewel in the roasters’ crown, however, is the original Ari branch, where warm woods and lush green foliage are so welcoming you could sit there all day (and we actually recommend that you do – it’s an ideal place to co-work in Bangkok). Thankfully the coffee is more than up to the task of fuelling a hard day’s work thanks to brews masterminded by award-winning barista Warong Chalanuchpong, while a selection of lovingly sourced teas are ideal for when the jitters start to kick in.
What: A scientific approach to brewing coffee
Where: 45, 1 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana
The unique interiors at Paga are minimal to the point of spartan: think plain white floors, ceilings and walls, plenty of natural light to fill the double-height room, and white metal furniture. In fact, the whole aesthetic is slightly evocative of a science lab (helped by a hushed, calm atmosphere), which befits Paga’s precise yet experimental approach to making coffee, but also sets the scene for the baked goods, which stand out like jewels in their glass case. The cleverly designed space also places the coffee roasting room at Paga’s heart, so you can observe the process from every vantage point inside the cafe.
What: Light lunches and brunches to enjoy with your coffee
Where: 888 6-7 Ekkamai Road, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana
Bangkok’s trendy and oft overlooked Ekamai neighbourhood is crammed with cool cafes and coffee shops. Case in point: Kaizen, which pays homage to Melbourne’s coffee culture with plenty of flat whites alongside nitro cold brews, pour-overs and more. This sleek space doesn’t just offer coffee: there are also cakes and bakes, and a short but sweet menu of savoury dishes including pasta, eggs, and a virtuous but no less delicious miso chicken and shallot salad, doused in a lip-smacking anchovy dressing.
Hands and Heart
What: Competition-level brewing and some peace and quiet
Where: 25 Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana
Thong Lor is renowned for its bars, but early birds will be pleased to know it’s also a place to sip great coffee. Both of Hands and Heart’s two owners are fiercely passionate and one is even a competitive brewer, which means aficionados are in safe hands here. The interiors are minimalist, with white walls and light marble table tops, and they look so good that a sign hangs on the wall that declares ‘No fashion photography allowed.’ This means, of course, that the cafe is free from influencer types, giving you more space to enjoy the house-roasted coffee. One of the cafe’s specials is called Clean Hands, a decadent white coffee served in a glass rimmed with a delicate layer of caramel.
What: Australian-inspired coffee and pastries
Where: 26/9 Sukhumvit 69 Alley, Phra Khanong Nuea, Watthana
Australia’s coffee influence continues at Single Lane coffee, set up by two baristas who earned their stripes working in the Land Down Under before bringing their learnings back to Bangkok. The drinks list is suitably Oz-inspired: espresso, cold brew and pour-overs seize the day here, while the name ‘Single Lane’ is a reference to the shop’s focus on single-origin coffees. Alongside the usual brews, there are also a selection of funkier drinks like the Summerest, a blend of coffee, peach tea, prune juice and Chinese dates that’s bound to put a spring in your step. This coffee shop is also the place to get croissants from the BKK outpost of legendary Australian bakery Conkey’s, for an all-round Oz experience.
What: A dinner destination that’s also a coffee shop
Where: 101, 103 Charoen Krung 44 Alley, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Bang Rak
Duck with cherry jus; chicken parmigiana; truffle pasta; Austrian and Portuguese wines; and a roster of local and international ciders: Sarnies is far more than a coffee shop – in fact, its menu looks so alluring that you could easily come in for your morning caffeine fix and be sucked in for the rest of the day. The brand made a name for itself in its home city of Singapore before opening up in Bangkok, where it’s been greeted with the same level of enthusiasm. The coffee shop/restaurant occupies a former boat repair shop, turning the rustic-feeling interiors into a modern, welcoming space that effectively sets the scene for a brilliant meal, whether you’re popping in for a pastry or sitting down to dinner. And if you must know about the coffee, it’s roasted in-house weekly, and the coffee is made using a high-tech Sanremo machine – so you know it’s going to be good.
What: A celebration of Japanese design
Where: A104 Bambini Villa, 18 Soi Atthakravi 1, Klongton, Klongtoey
Whether it’s coffee or crockery, Japanese design and attention to detail is lauded the world over. Kurasu owner Yozo wanted to bring the Japanese approach to coffee to Bangkok, and that’s exactly what he’s done with Kurasu, which now has outposts in both Singapore and Thailand. He hand-selects every item you see on the shop’s shelves and tests them himself in his own home – there’s that famed precision – for equipment that looks sleek and stylish while also standing up to the task at hand. While you can pop into the Thong Lor outpost to get someone else to do the honours, Kurasu also aims to empower home brewers to make their own excellent coffee within their four walls.
What: A full-on coffee school headed up by a true expert
Where: 114/5 srinagaridra Romklao Rd Khwaeng Saphan Sung, Saphan Sung
The idea of being a coffee celebrity might sound extra, but instructor, consultant and coffee roaster Nicholas Haw is truly deserving of the status thanks to his unparalleled knowledge of beans and brewing. He’s so dedicated to his craft that he refers to his coffee shop and school Solos Coffee as his second home – which should give you some indication of how much time he spends there. The black-and-white space is minimal yet welcoming and sets the stage for Nicholas’s techniques.