Finding a niche in the vibrant coffee culture of Chiang Mai must be quite difficult…it seems every corner has a quaint little place to relax and savor the aroma of some of the locally mountain-grown brews. Café de Oasis has planted their coffee and baked goods space in a luscious and charming garden setting among artfully-decorated spaces. The climbing vine-covered entrance, with its the lush greenery and teasing peak inside had captured my attention last week during a biking excursion, and so I determined to make it a stop on this Sunday morning’s bike ride. At about 10 am, the garden was full of customers engaged in conversations, working on laptops, or just enjoying the ambience of birdsong and light jazz background music.
Café de Oasis sources their Arabic coffee beans exclusively from a Karen ethnic hill tribe village called Huay Hom (ห้วยห้อม), coolly situated at 1600 meters elevation in neighboring Mae Hong Son province. In an area previously used for opium production, coffee cultivation provides alternative income for the local people. According to the shop’s poster promotion, the coffee is grown “without toxic or chemical substances,” although Thailand’s standards for “organic” farming are not carefully defined or monitored. It’s been at least several decades since most of the opium production and trade in Thailand’s mountainous northern regions has been brought under control, and projects like this do great social good by giving residents alternate, and much safer, sources of income.
Huay Hom region. Source:
The café prepares the coffee for a more intense flavor, known as a ristretto, from the Italian word for “restricted.” The “restriction” is usually the amount of water processed through the finely ground coffee, so that the drink should come out even more concentrated than a regular expresso. I ordered the hot latte, for 75 baht (about USD 2.13) and a slice of apple cake, one of many choices including cakes, cookies and brownies. The latte was rather strong-flavored, which is to my particular liking, and the apple cake was moist and delicious. It turned out to be a pleasant break from a Sunday morning bike ride, and one of the special coffee culture gems that makes Chiang Mai so charming.
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm daily.
Location: On the Rural Road to the south of the Chiang Mai Convention Center.
Copyright © 2017 by Robert Cummings