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.
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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