On the surface Bangkok is still a place for Thai iced teas and sweetened coffee drinks, but the specialty coffee scene here is growing rapidly. Unlike New York or London, Bangkok has an advantage neither of those cities have — Thailand is also an origin country. While we were able to find street food at low prices, a cup of specialty coffee in Bangkok ran about as high as one in New York.
Because it’s so hot here all year, cold brews feature prominently. Even for someone like me who’d drink hot coffee drinks all summer in New York, Bangkok beat me — there were days a cold brew is just what was needed. Here’s an exhaustive, but certainly incomplete, list of cafes where you can find well-made third wave style specialty coffee. Scroll down to see them all on a map.
Aran Bicicletta Cycle House and Café
This is exactly the kind of place we want in a neighborhood café. Despite being around the corner from us, Bangkok’s complicated soi configurations meant that Aran Bicicletta (or Aran Bici for short) wasn’t practically around the corner.
The café is a mix of jumbled spaces that somehow still feel warm and coherent. We always sat in the plant-filled patio, drinking well-made flat whites (60 baht or about $1.70) and reading. There is also a tiny outdoor area out front that would make for a lovely setting on a rainy day. They serve food (mostly Thai), baked goods, ice-cream and beer, making it a great all-day café.
In case you are wondering, yes, the café also doubles as a bicycle repair shop, but during our visits we never really saw any bicycles, much less any repairing. (I also don’t know how one rides a bike in Bangkok.)
Common Room x Ari
A relatively stark (in a good way) space, the focus is mostly on the coffee. On Soi 5, a slightly busy street, we made quick pit stops to the Common Room when we needed our dose of pourovers (120 baht or about $3.40).
While they primarily use single origin Thai beans, they also carry a rotating selection of beans from other major coffee growing regions.
With a few locations strewn around the city, Rocket bills itself as a “Nordic Café”. While not as minimalist as you might expect, in Bangkok any nod towards the Nordics makes for a contrasting interlude to an otherwise detail-oriented visual riot.
We visited the cozy original branch in the Silom neighborhood, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Instead of sticking to Thai beans, we decided to try their home-roasted Tanzania on Aeropress (150 baht or about $4.30). In addition to coffee, Rocket serves a full brunch menu.
Slow Café by Room 111
We chanced upon this place while walking around Silom. Room 111, upstairs, is a co-working space, and the spacious downstairs café is open to public. Beautiful and minimal, this is a nice respite from the heat and crowds outside, especially since they urge you to slow down by not offering wifi. We shared a cold-brew while reading our books here.
I+D Style Cafe x Brave Roasters
Located on the third floor in an open space that houses homewares, stationery and art, I+D serves espresso drinks as well as pourovers. We had a pourover using beans from Chiang Mai (120 baht or about $3.40) while watching the BTS and traffic from our window seats.
I+D Style Cafe is located on the 3rd floor of Siam Discovery at Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
Hands and Heart Cafe
Almost stark, Hands and Heart has a minimalist, Japanese aesthetic. We went a few times to the Thonglor location. Located on a quiet street, the zen-like space makes for an excellent visit for coffee and conversations. In addition to a couple of framed booths and bar seating, one section of the café has floor seating where you are required to take your shoes off, which, having grown up in India, I am very much a fan of.
Hands and Heart only serves filter coffee, using a varying selections of roasters, that includes Bangkok’s Brave Roasters. We shared a pourover using beans from Kenya roasted by Tokyo’s Fuglen Coffee Roasters and an Aeropress using Ethiopian beans also roasted by Fuglen (both 140 baht or just over $4). In addition to coffee, Hands and Heart also serves a rotating selection of pastries and toasts.
Also in Thonglor, located in a building in what is essentially a cul-de-sac, Ink & Lion is a small batch coffee roastery and café. A comfortable place to work at or hang out with friends.
INK & LION Cafe is located at Soi Sukhumvit 63 Road - Soi Ekkamai 2, Phra Khanong Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Factory Café & Brew Bar
Located on busy Phaya Thai road, Factory Café is a cavernous space perpetually filled with people. Lots of tables, pop music blaring, they also serve beer and other drinks. One of the owners was a former local barista champion.
Tucked away in a quiet alley in Thonglor, One Ounce for Onion gets its name from the clothing/designer store next door, Onion, that their friends were opening around the same time.
The indoor space is tiny, but the outdoor area is quite spacious with plenty of chairs. We shared an excellent Kenyan pourover from Bangkok’s Brave Roasters (120 baht or about $3.40).
One Ounce for Onion is located at 12 Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand (and continue down Ekkamai 12 alley)
Located in our Ari neighborhood, Rolling Cup is a quiet, cute and cozy space. The staff is super friendly and our flat whites (70 baht or $2) were fairly well made. In addition to coffee, they also serve homemade cakes (I can vouch for it, because I saw an older lady — perhaps one of the owners, or related the owners — dress a chocolate cake in the kitchen at the back that looks more like someone’s home than a commercial kitchen.)
Coffee No. 9
Coffee No. 9 is literally a walk-up counter, a kiosk surrounded by food vendors on Soi Ari 1. They keep early hours (open at 6:30am) and serve excellent espresso-based drinks (50 baht or about $1.43 for an espresso).
A typical Ari establishment, attached to Tokyo Bike, Laliart is a cute space, located on a quiet Ari block, serving coffee using locally-roasted coffee beans. They also have mugs, honey and terrariums for sale. The outdoor space is lovely, with lots of potted plants.
The outdoor space has a communal table that seems good for working. We had a decently made espresso (60 baht or $1.70) and a piccolo (70 baht or $2).
See all of these coffee shops, as well as food and cocktails, on our Bangkok map