Friday, August 3, 2012

Mae Salong: Finding the best coffee in Thailand amidst tea plantations

I am Maida and I am a coffee addict. There I’ve said it. I am not awake without my cup of coffee. Please don’t give me instant coffee. I don’t like the sour undertone and artificial taste. It has to be brewed. I used to travel with a French press and ground coffee beans for my daily brew. But in my recent trips, with many stops, I packed light. I no longer brought my coffee press.

On my recent trip to Thailand, I had an opportunity to visit Mae Salong. Chinese Kunmintang soldiers fled here after WWII, and have called this mountainous region their home. But Mae Salong is also known for its tea plantations, for fine oolong tea. After negotiating the dizzying zigzag roads, I was in awe of the lush green mountains with rows of tea plantations.  We stopped by several factories with women gathering the leaves into baskets on their backs. The leaves were air dried, then dried by a machine.  There were several opportunities for tasting different types of tea.

But this coffee lover was thrilled to hear this tip from a friend, “Go to Sweet Mae Salong. It has coffee I had in my 20 years in Thailand.”  That’s a glowing review from an American journalist. I heeded his advice and begged to stop at this place. It was a cozy roadside shack. It turns a husband and wife team fled Bangkok to find refuge here. The husband an advertising photographer now makes the best coffee. His wife makes fantastic cakes. Despite a heavy Chinese lauriat for lunch, we managed to make room for the Raspberry Bomb and Snow White Cheesecake. Both were delicate and delicious.

Just behind the kitchen, husband and wife have a cozy room where they sleep. I love the story behind this couple. See the interview.  When I asked them, if they would return to Bangkok, they said no. They followed their bliss, and here they are selling the best coffee amidst tea plantations. Clever!  My friend was right, it was the best cappuccino I’ve had in Thailand. The crèma was perfectly velvety. The cakes complemented the coffee. Sitting for a leisurely cup of coffee and cake while looking out to tea fields as far as the eye can see--- that was magical! For this coffee lover, this is the best way to appreciate the region.

Owners of Sweet Mae Salong, living the sweet life away from Bangkok

The best way to enjoy the tea plantation is with coffee and cake
Raspberry Bomb: must try!

As a footnote, they were not kidding, the tea at Mae Salong is amazing. I purchased a box of Emerald Green Tea. It was naturally sweet, as if someone had added sugar. Sharing it with my parents, they loved it. I regret purchasing only one box!

Thanks for journeying with me! For more golden delicious moment that spark a journey within join me on Facebook (please like my page), Twitter and Instagram/themaidastouch.

CopyrightMaidaPineda2012. No portion of this blog (text and photos) can be used anywhere else.

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