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Thailand’s transitioning times

From the August 2018 issue.

A new generation is heralding a movement of education that’s focused on raising Arabica production volumes and Thailand’s cup quality.

thailand cafeThree baristas are hard at work in Gallery Drip Coffee, a tiny, tasteful enclave café next door to its brash neighbour, the towering Siam Centre mall. Floor-to-ceiling wood shelving is packed with antique coffee making equipment and photography books, and post-it notes with quirky hand-drawn portraits sit next to cut flowers in glasses below an undulating, honeycombed ceiling. It’s a great space to serve coffee.

The café is an impressive example of Bangkok’s emerging specialty coffee scene. NutRada Kunavivattananon, known as Noon, Head of International Relations for the Speciality Coffee Association of Thailand (SCATH), drops a few other names of note in the city: Bluekoff, of which Noon is the CEO, Factory, Phil’s, Kaizen, Roots, Pacamara and Kad Kokoa.

Gallery Drip Coffee offers locally produced Arabica beans alongside foreign imports. As its name implies, its focus is filter coffee, although it does offer espresso-based drinks too.

The specialty scene in Thailand today is all about the country’s Arabica supply which is interesting since, like its Association of Southeast Asian Nations neighbours, the country is mostly associated with Robusta.

“In Thailand, we produce lots of Arabica but the rest of the world doesn’t know. It actually ramped up about six years ago when specialty coffee emerged,” says Noon.

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