Graph Café

The information plaque on the counter at Graph Cafe, extolling the virtues of its lever espresso machine.Graph Café is a lovely little coffee shop in the heart of old Chiang Mai which just happened to be at the other end of the lane from the guest house where I spent the second half of my week in the city. Coincidence? I think you can probably work that out for yourselves…

Part of a small chain, which consists of a brunch spot (Graph Table) on the next street over, a high-end coffee shop (Graph One Nimman) in the new One Nimman shopping mall, and a coffee shop/roastery (Gateway) on the main road into Chiang Mai, this is the original, a tiny spot serving some excellent Thai coffee, with a seasonal blend on espresso and a surprising range of single-origins on pour-over, all roasted at Gateway. There’s not much seating, with space for 10 inside (if everyone shares) and a few more sitting on the step out front.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a narrow lane, in the northeast corner of old Chiang Mai, stands this modest building.
  • This is the view from the other direction. It's Graph Cafe, in case you've not worked it out.
  • Graph was just down the lane from my guest house, which you can see on the far corner.
  • Inside, it's a pretty compact set-up. The counter is at the right-hand end...
  • ... while the seating is at the other end. There's a communal table at the front...
  • ... and a pair of two-person tables against the back wall.
  • The communal table will seat six on low stools...
  • ... while the front of Graph Cafe is entirely glass.
  • A reasonable request, given its size. You can always go to Graph Table around the corner.
  • At the far end, a display case holds some vintage cameras, one of the owner's passions.
  • This lovely old printing press sits on the floor in the corner.
  • To business. The door is on the right by the side of the counter.
  • There's a small selection of cake on the front of the counter...
  • ... next to the lovely lever espresso machine...
  • ... which has its own little information plaque.
  • Although it's only small, Graph Cafe has a large, informative menu. And table service!
  • There's the story of Graph Cafe itself...
  • ... while each single-origin has its own page of information.
  • There's a seasonal Thai blend on espresso. During my visit, it was Wild Weekend.
  • The beans, which are roasted commendably light, as you can see here.
  • Graph Cafe also has other blends, including the Neighborhood Blend.
  • You can buy the beans, either single-origins, or blends, in these lovely tins.
  • So, to business. I went for a shot of the Wild Weekend (it was a Sunday, after all)...
  • ... which was beautifully-presented on a wooden tray, with a glass of water on the side.
  • I'll leave you with another view of my coffee.
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Graph Café is in the northeast corner of Old Chiang Mai, a tightly-packed area of shops and houses, cut through with narrow, winding lanes. You’ll find Graph Café at the end western of one of these, Rajvithi Lane 1, which runs east-west just north of the busy Rajvithi Road. North-facing, it is sheltered from the sun, which is just as well since the front of the shop is all glass, and, in the direct sun, it would become a greenhouse!

Wide and thin, Graph Café’s about as tall as it is deep, and perhaps three times as wide. The door, which blends into the black-framed square windows, is on the right, while there’s a low, broad step which runs along the bottom of the windows to the left. It’s punctuated by a pair of low shelves/tables, which you can rest your coffee on if you don’t fancy sitting inside.

Getting in is probably the trickiest part of whole operation. The right-hand end of the shop is occupied by the counter, the door opening right onto the counter’s end, so getting in involves a little bit of shuffling around. You can order here, by the till, but remarkably Graph Café offers table service, so grab a seat and one of the two staff will bring you the impressive menu. This multi-page binder tells you everything you need to know about Graph, as well as presenting a bewildering array of signature drinks and an surprising number of single-origins available as pour-overs through the V60. All the beans are available to buy.

When it comes to the actual seating, it’s all in the left-hand part of Graph Café. There’s a six-person communal table in the window at the front and pair of two-person tables against the back wall. And that’s it, with all the seating provided by low stools. The interior is lovely, with wooden floorboards and a whitewashed brick wall at the back, which matches the white ceiling.

Graph Café makes quite a point of its VBM lever espresso machine, so I decided to have an espresso, made with the Wild Weekend seasonal blend, a mix of three Thai single-origin coffees. This was pulled commendably short and served on a lovely wooden tray with a glass of sparkling water. It was an enjoyable, bright, acidic coffee, very much in the third-wave mould, something which pleased the barista no end since it turned out that he was also the roaster, splitting his time between Graph Café, Graph Table and Gateway, where he works as both barista and roaster.

25/1 RAJVITHI SOI 1 • CHIANG MAI • 50200 • THAILAND
www.graphdream.com +66 (0) 86 567 3330
Monday 09:00 – 17:00 Roaster Gateway Coffee Roaster (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Step (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 09:00 – 17:00 Service Table
Friday 09:00 – 17:00 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 22nd April 2018

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