Buengkan Passport

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Price: $$

Amenities: fans, free wi-fi, free water

Location: Just like WaWa, it is outside of town a little bit on Buengkan Road. Walkable, but bicycle recommended (especially when its hot!). On the way to the small lake and park, you will find Buengkan Passport on the left hand side of the road.

Taste: Good, strong coffee taste. I was warned before ordering that it was bitter, but I think that’s because I usually order a hazelnut latte from here which is decidedly sweeter than an espresso. The espresso was not too sweet (or bitter) and had a good flavor.Nice kick to it too.

Menu and Ease or Ordering: This coffee shop is run by a lovely couple and they can both 13055716_10206195017091095_3532891433425169286_ospeak English enough for you to order with ease. The menu is written in both English and Thai languages. The only downfall is they serve only coffee and no sort of desserts or snacks, but as long as you remember to grab a bite to eat before you get there you should be ok!

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Special Menu: For only 25 baht you get an anchan drink. Anchan is the blue/purple flower that we call butterfly pea. This drink is made with sweet milk so it is very sweet, but delicious! And pretty, too. 🙂

Environment:  I am going to be honest this review miiight be a bit biased because this is my favorite coffee shop in Buengkan, but it’s my favorite for a reason!! P’Ee runs the coffee shop and P’Bas is a photographer. Their shop is large and very open feeling. They do not have air con but only fans, so in the summer it can12973462_1695307094091021_3639034225257940752_o get a bit toasty but they have a lot of fans so you will always have one pointed in your direction. There are usually photography students that come and go to learn with P’Bas, so there is always something going on. That being said, it still has a quiet atmosphere where you can feel comfortable working, reading, or chatting with friends. The shop used to look out onto the little lake but due to recent constructio12973572_1695307027424361_6437332491007846626_on on the river there is a significantly large sand a rock pile outside. No worries though, the view it is still good and on Tuesday and Friday mornings you can sit back and watch the hustle and bustle of the Thai-Laos market. There is sometimes music, sometimes not.

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The Coffee Project

 

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WaWa Cafe

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Price: $$

Amenities: fan and air con, wifi available
*but there are no outlets!

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Location: walkable, but if its hot outside it will feel like a bit of a journey. Better to take a bicycle or motorbike. Out of town a ways near the lake on Buengkan Road. It will be a small container on the left side of the road, just past Buengkan Passport.

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Taste: good, robust coffee flavor, not sweet at your request. Not the strongest in Buengkan but still stronger than most. I like it!
*my friend had an unfortunate incident with a bee that somehow made it’s way into her coffee cup, but I’ve never had a problem like that so I’m pretty sure it was a one off…just check your cup before you sip as a general rule for anywhere?

20160205_112907Menu and ease of ordering: The barista is nice but unable to speak Thai, so if you haven’t figured out how to order your favorite coffee order in Thai yet, you may be in a bit of trouble! The menu is written in only Thai 20160205_112854language, but they have the same basic espresso, americano, cappuccino, latte, and mocha as all coffee shops. They also serve various desserts, and while the menu is again in Thai- they also have pictures! I find the visuals more appealing anyway. Not too sure about a special menu as I have yet to order a dessert there.

Environment: the building is a small container, feels a little cozy but not too cluttered. I feel like it has the potential to get quite hot in the summer because the walls are big windows, but there is air conditioning available so it should be fine. On the bright side, windows for walls makes for great people watching if you grab your coffee on market days (every Tuesday and Friday the whole road transforms from dusty emptiness to a bustling Thai-Laos market from morning to early afternoon)!The tables seem to be good tables to do some work on, and the chairs! The chairs are amazing. Soft chairs with backs on them I could sit there all day.

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The Coffee Project

Moomprod (มุมโปรด) Coffee and Bakery

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Price: $$

Amenities: air con and fan available, free wifi

Location: Very central Buengkan on Thai Samat Rd, just past the roundabout on the main road. Moomprod is situated directly across from the old cinema that’s long since been closed down.

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Taste: The coffee here is excellent! It has a strong, robust flavor and she actually makes it per your request if you don’t want it sweet. I would also recommend the hazelnut latte.

Menu and ease of ordering: Coffee menu has all the standard coffee drinks plus a variation of teas and flavored milks. It is written in both Thai and English so its e20160130_162619asy to navigate and Note, the owner, speaks almost fluent English. So ordering and asking questions should not be a problem at all.

She is also an excellent baker and there are always plenty of treats to pick from that are displayed in the front. Trust me, they are delicious. Even if you aren’t hungry I recommend you buy a slice of apple cinnamon cake because oh my gosh….it is edible perfection. Tastes just20160130_162756 like home and it is nice, dense, flavorful and all around magical. I have yet to try her cakes but she also makes cakes that can be decorated for any occasion.

Special Menu: You can order a caramel thai iced tea and if you ask for it only a little bit sweet it is delicious! I haven’t seen it anywhere else. She also makes a white chocolate mocha that tastes amazing as well.20160130_163116

Environment: Indoor seating only but it feels open and airy. To be honest, you will be hard pressed to find a stuffy feeling coffee shop or restaurant here in Buengkan so that is rarely a problem. The family that runs this coffee shop are very friendly, and Note’s daughter, New, will probably want to practice her English with you. She’s quite clever! The wifi is good although sometimes spotty, and the tables are big enough to spread out your things if you have work to do. Although to be honest every time I go there I end up 20160130_162724enjoying chatting with people more than actually working. This is a good place to relax and kick back, but if you want to get some work done maybe find another shop. 🙂
Fans are usually running and once it gets hot enough the air con will be turned on as well. There is usually some background music playing.

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The Coffee Project

Ahten (อาเดิน) Coffee and Restaurant

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Price: $$

Amenities: air con (inside), fan (outside) free wifi, free water
*Important to note there are no outlets available!

Location: Fairly central in Buengkan city, close to the river on Ruksangub Road just off of 20160130_154935Meechai Road. It is just across the street from a temple.

Taste: even though I ordered an espresso unsweetened, it still tasted fairly sweet. Also, the coffee wasn’t the strongest and it tasted more like an iced coffee with milk than an actual espresso. It still tasted alright, but it didn’t quite have the kick I was after. Caramel latte and green tea are both good at this location per friend reviews as well. 🙂

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Menu and ease of ordering: The coffee menu had all the standard drinks on
it. It was in both English and in Thai. They have a small selection of cakes and desserts to 20160130_152357choose from that are displayed in the front. There is a full food menu as well, but it
is written in only Thai with no pictures, so if you can’t read Thai and/or aren’t feeling somewhat adventurous and willing to try out the whole “point and see what you end up with” option, you might be out of luck. (If you want to do that here its ok, it is a tame menu you won’t end up with anything too obscure!) The staff, while nice enough, can’t speak English. This shouldn’t be a big problem if you just want a coffee, but it might stop you from ordering lunch or dinner.

Special menu: I have yet to try it, but I did see espresso con panna on the menu and that piqued my interest. I have yet to see it on any other menu in Buengkan.

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Environment: I really enjoyed the environment here. The temple across the street was beautiful to look at and there is plenty of flora in the outside seating area to feel private and cozy. There is more outside seating than inside, but there are some tables indoors if you prefer. Outside seating is available both under a roof and under the sun. Fans are usually turned on outside as soon as you sit down to keep you cool. While we were there  we enjoyed relaxing music played loud enough to hear and quiet enough to enjoy conversation.

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The Coffee Project

Coffee Shop Lingo

There are some key phrases that will be useful to know when travelling to any foreign country. Since I am posting reviews about various coffee shops here in Buengkan, I figured I would help you out a little and teach you some Thai! Because if you need to know how to say anything, it’s how to order coffee.

The basic coffees like espresso, cappuccino, latte, and mocha are all English.

However, coffee is cafe and tea is cha, while green tea is cha keeow.

If you are female, you should end all of your sentences with ka. Males will say krap. This will help you sound more polite.

Some basic vocabulary:

want – ow
I want coffee = ow cafe ka 
Can I have…..? Mee………..dai mai (the mai at the end of a sentence turns it into a question)
Can I have tea? = mee cha dai mai ka

hot – ron
cold – yen
blended – ban
I want an iced mocha. = ow mocha yen ka
Can I have a hot latte? = mee latte ron dai mai ka
sugar – nam taarn
milk – nome
sweet – waan
a little bit – nid noy
to use/put in – sai

*Mai at the end of a sentence makes it a question, but when you put it in front of another word, it makes that word negative.
I don’t want it – mai ow.

Don’t add any sugar = mai sai nam taarn
only a little bit sweet = waan nid noy

I want an iced espresso, not sweet please. = ow espresso yen mai waan ka.
I want a hot cappuccino with only a little bit of sugar = ow cappuccino ron sai nam taarn nid noy ka. 

If you want to know the price of something, how much is tao rai
How much is it? = tao rai ka

Thank you! Kop khun ka!

The Coffee Project: Buengkan Edition

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I love coffee. Coffee is life. In fact, coffee has probably replaced most of my blood by now. Since I spend at least…78% of my free time in coffee shops, I have decided to post reviews about all the lovely little coffee nooks in Buengkan, Thailand.

This has spawned possibly more from a case of writers block than anything else since most of you readers won’t be going out of your way to visit Buengkan on your Thailand trip, BUT if you do manage to find yourselves in this somewhat remote town-you will know where to get your caffeine fix!

The following coffee shop reviews will be based on price, taste, location (generally speaking, maybe not an exact address…), environment, menu and ease of ordering.

The list:

Bear in mind that I am no coffee snob, so if you know you are one of those coffee roast connoisseurs then take my review lightheartedly. Actually if you are picky about your coffee I would maybe not suggest Thailand as a country to fulfill your caffeinated desires because…well they love their sugar. And their coffee tends to be more like a treat. Usually.

Price: $-$$$$
$ = the cheapest coffee you can get. There won’t be any $ on this list because I consider that the 25 baht coffee you can buy off the street, and that’s your standard instant coffee whip up mixed in with 80% cream and sugar. There are literally too many of those places to count and you find them all over Thailand.
$$ = 30-45 baht range. Fresh ground coffee. This is the price range you will find in most coffee shops, at least in Buengkan.
$$$ = 45-65 baht range. This price is fairly uncommon local shops and usually only found in chains. I think there is only one place in Buengkan within this price range.
$$$$ = 70+ baht. Think Starbucks in Thailand. Like, actual Starbucks in Thailand. I’m pretty sure they just kept the American prices and converted them into baht, which makes the cost of coffee there skyrocket in comparison to local places. It’s ridiculous I don’t know why anyone would go there, but apparently they do. This price range is usually found with overseas companies and various chains within Thailand. They wouldn’t make it in this town, so fortunately Buengkan is free from this price range. 🙂

Taste: I’ve decided on an iced espresso, not sweet to order across the board for the drink of choice.