If you’re around Chiang Rai for over a week, like I was (no, I didn’t consume this much coffee over a long weekend!), you will probably want to take a day or two to escape the city and enjoy the surroundings.
Nearly every coffee brand I ran into in Thailand had doi in the name. What does doi mean, anyway? Well, I learned it means “mountain” which makes sense, as the mountains around Chiang Rai are where all the coffee comes from! But of course! With this in mind, I rented a motorbike for the day (200 baht) and took to the hills.
After checking out some blogs, I did almost the exact same day-trip as Mark Wiens at Migrationology. Check out his post for lots of good info on the history of coffee in the area, directions and some really nice photos. I suspect that, unlike me, he was probably not shooting the scenery with just his iPhone.
Like Mark, I also finished my afternoon excursion at Doi Chiang Coffee Farm, and, again similar to his experience, the woman I met working there gave me free samples and was happy to chat coffee!
DOI CHIANG COFFEE FARM
Doi Chang Coffee Farm (main road, Doi Chang) is, hands down, my favourite coffee shop in Chiang Rai Province. In all honesty, the next time I go back to Chiang Rai I will probably get myself a motorbike directly, head this way and find a home stay or guesthouse in the mountains. It took me about two and a half hours to drive there, but this is on a bike with lots of photo-op-stops – it could be done in an hour and a half.
It sounds cliche, but my only disappointment with this place is that I only discovered it on my second to last day here! On no, the other disappointment was that I could really only justify drinking one coffee there, as I’d already had one over at the similarly named Doi Chaang Coffee Cafe and two cups of tea with lunch.
The place was empty when I arrived, save for an older man (who I presume works there) napping on the sofa. The low season here really is low, and I was grateful that they hadn’t cut their losses and closed shop for the summer. But having the shop to myself was fine with me, since I could ferret around and take photos of the civet poo coffee beans unencumbered.
The really friendly, and somewhat bored, barista sprung to life to explain the difference among coffee beans to me. She even offered some of their coffee flower tea, which wasn’t at all like coffee and was really refreshing over ice. After I paid she foisted some plums from Myanmar on me, a little snack for the road.
And I didn’t even bring my computer, so no internet speed check and no distractions – just my coffee and the view!
Where in the world is Allison? She’s driving on the left among the most well known Rubiaceae in Doi Chang, Thailand!