{chiang mai} akha ama coffee

10:23 AM sians 0 Comments

a short entry. 

work and class have gotten a tad busy these days. 

a short entry but manage i will ;)

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just as ristr8to has captured the attention of coffee enthusiasts in chiang mai, akha ama coffee has similarly garnered the same love and recognition for its caffeine beverages. 

my initial reasons were mainly because of the location of the cafe, its ambiance and of course, its cup of brew.

however, these were overshadowed after a quick read about akha ama's origins and its reasons - the cafe's founder, lee ayu sources coffee beans from local farmers in his village and neighboring communities who practice sustainable organic farming and fair trade while bringing that local coffee beans into the thriving local caffeine scene in chiang mai.  loosely described, it almost resembles the farm-to-table concept, supporting the local farmers and bringing the freshest coffee beans for coffee lovers in the northern city of thailand.

i never quite understood its slogan of "socially empowered enterprise" until now and lee's efforts were recognized when their beans have been selected by the speciality coffee association of europe (scae) for the world cup tasters championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

the sun was unbearably hot, to the point it felt scorching that i quickly sought shelter at akha ama cafe by one of the busiest and oldest wats in chiang mai, wat para singh.

the petite shop was not as bustling as ristr8to. it took a very minimalist rustic approach in its decor - adorning the typical cafe industrial theme, keeping it simple with cement walls with occasional red bricks and accented by wood logs. i enjoyed the hand drawn arts of the essentials behind a cup of brew on the wall of chalkboard which added a little charm to the cafe's personality. mellow songs played in the background but were contrasted by the occasional screech of the espresso machine.

i ordered at the counter and picked a seat at the high table where i could watch the barista work his magic behind the counter. best of all, i had a front row seat to enjoy watching chiang mai just go by along its daily routine - uninterrupted.

espresso :: mocha (thb 550)

i looked at the latte art on my mocha in amusement - how fitting that it reflected my love that has grown for the city as my vacation in chiang mai was nearing the end. 

i sipped the cacao-coffee beverage while people watching, quickly noting the lovely flavors of the espresso. the espresso was full-bodied and smooth to the taste accentuated by the creamy milk where the various flavor notes ended with a tart finish, paired with the lip smacking bitterness. 

the cacao half was too subtle and left me wondering "where has the chocolate flavor gone to?". its lack of balance in the cacao - coffee ratio had this cup inclined towards the latte instead of a mocha. despite that, it was still an enjoyable cuppa. 

oh! and the people watching?

i found it absolutely endearing and amusing, even as of the many walks of life, tourists and locals including monks moved at their own pace towards their next destination. add into the equation the songthaews, 'tuk tuks' and motorbikes that whizzed by quickly, occasionally stopping by the side of the street to pick up passengers. it was oddly calming and found it almost meditative.  

akha ama coffee la fattoria was an unforgettable experience that i never expected to have enjoyed this immensely.  definitely one of my favorite things to do while i was in chiang mai (read more here).  this was when i finally slowed down to savor my vacation with every sipful of coffee while people watching to recharge myself mentally and emotionally. just lovely.

akha ama coffee la fattoria | location
175/1 rachdhamnoen rd,
phrasingha, muaeng,
chiang mai thailand
{opens mon-sat : 8am - 6pm
opens sun : 8am - 8pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.


{chiang mai} ristr8to coffee

10:03 AM sians 0 Comments

i have no excuse.
a long overdue entry (months even) that i've been meaning to get to but 런닝맨 has a hold on me - an addiction if you will.  but i digress. 

and a mini hiatus ensued shortly after since work had me go on a business trip. 
but again, i digress. 

during my getaway to thailand earlier this year, i've had some pretty awesome food adventures that i'd love to share. i will be writing a couple of restaurant entries from my trip, hopefully in quick successions as much as my free time allows it - i'm trying to catch up with some of my food adventures.

my favorite pick-me-upper. while the coffee culture has been steadily spreading its love throughout the local food scene, thailand has a thriving appreciation for cafes amongst its community of caffeine enthusiasts. 

the heart of it all in chiang mai - nimmanhaemin road spearheading the movement with its "coffee street"  

a social media favorite. coined as arguably the best coffee place for real coffee lover, spoiled with amazing options. boasts single-origin global bean source. its name is a play on the coffee base of ristretto instead of espresso for their dominant offering of coffee beverages.

traditionally a short shot of espresso but extracted with about half the amount of water, essentially is the first half of full length extraction. "restricted" in italian - richer, sweeter and has fewer of the harsh flavor compounds that come through in the later stage of the espresso pour. 

located on the main road, its black clad wooden exterior was just a preview of the rustic appearance on the inside. coffee machines screeching loudly in the midst of the boisterous crowd's chattering - the cafe's popularity apparent as we managed to find seats amongst the very few available tables. the space was petite, interior of wood and exposed brick walls matched its exterior - exuding a industrial minimalist, keeping it rustic. 

its theme was even featured down to its menu - or rather their speciality coffee guide. 

a barista choice, invented in the year 2013. made by pouring well textured steamed milk on a doppio ristretto shot in their custom made 4 oz cup. the shape and size of it came from their long period of experience with coffee in order to bring out the best flavor of both coffee and milk together and keep that whole round flavor from the first sip until the last sip. (thb 88)

served on a wooden serving block with its cafe name engraved, the warm coffee was sent to our table with extra care with a side of warm water. the beautiful latte art was intricately done, topping it with a heart at the top. the warm water was an unexpected thoughtful addition - possibly drinking alternately allows every sip of the coffee to be a fresh one, if desired.

rooted in the beginnings of ristretto, cigar8to had a floral bitterness with a subtle notes of cacao as it hit the tongue. a smooth bodied coffee that ended with a sharp but transient intense coffee bitterness that was surprisingly somewhat pleasant. the great part was that the milk to coffee ratio allowed the main star to shine. pretty good if you are looking for a cuppa of just coffee-milk combination. 

caffé mocha is coffee that created to mimic the natural chocolate flavor of coffee from mocha port in yemen. their coffee mocha made with their secret recipe brazilian cocao syrup mixed with a shot of ristretto, smoothed  with silky milk, resulting in a satisfying bitter-sweet chocolatey coffee (thb 88)

all my research about this favorite coffee spot pointed towards this familiar chocolate-coffee marriage, the mocha. post cigar8to, i'm already all coffee-ed out but i was really curious how this would fare against my favorite cup of mocha. the solution? just have one to go. 

sweetened by deliciously evident good quality cacao, it leaned slightly more towards the chocolate flavors, and that had me craving for a stronger bitterness of coffee to mellow that sweetness, which was very surprising. it definitely had a smoother finish than the cigrar8to - a pleasure to drink even though the delicate balance of the chocolate-coffee only missed the mark ever so slightly. although it is slightly sweeter than i'd expected,  i'd still give it a yummy :)

ristr8to coffee has earned the respect in the beloved coffee scene by local and foreign coffee enthusiasts for obvious reasons - the care and detail in every cup of ristretto-based crafted drinks. if you are ever in chiang mai and is craving for a good cup of coffee, you can probably be assured that ristr8to can brew something to your liking. 

ristr8to coffee | location
15/3 nimmanhaemin road
sutep, muang
chiang mai thailand
{opens daily: 8am - 11pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.