Covered in detail or mentioned in this post:

The Fifth Avenue retail development, Tesco Lotus, Doi Coffee & Roasting, smoking. wifi, Doi Chaang Peaberry beans and Cafe Now & Then.


Chiang Mai is going through a building boom. It probably has been for ages but I certainly notice new places springing out of what would have been rice paddies not so long ago everywhere we drive on the outskirts of the city.

Fifth Avenue is just such a new development. Still in the process of being built the first section of it has recently been completed and new business opened for trade.

Situated on the 1001, one of the roads I wrote about HERE, it passes our Moo Baan on the way out of Chiang Mai to a small town called Phrao about an hour away. I have passed Fifth Avenue many times in and out of Chiang Mai city and also because it is situated close to our local Tesco Lotus, the big supermarket chain where we do our farang shopping for things like butter, cornflakes and marmalade.

The location of Fifth Avenue in relation to Tesco Lotus, which you can't miss at the intersection of the 1001 and the 3029.

The location of Fifth Avenue in relation to Tesco Lotus, which you can’t miss at the intersection of the 1001 and the 3029. You can see from the earthworks just what a large complex this will end up being.

I noticed recently that there were a couple of cafes that had opened, one of them advertising coffee and roasting called Doi so decided to pop in for a review.

Fifth Avenue as it looks facing the 1001.

Fifth Avenue as it looks facing the 1001.

And this is the next row back. Just who is going to fill all this space is a mystery. More streets being built behind this one.

And this is the next row back. Just who is going to fill all this space is a mystery. More streets being built behind this one. Not exactly historical Chiang Mai is it.

I am pleased to report back that this is a cafe worth a visit if in the area, and for most people that will never happen! However for those of us living in the San Sai/Maejo area it is an unusual experience to find a decent place to have a cuppa. The alternative recommendation is Biscotti cafe HERE, but that’s a lot further out.

A constantly busy road I doubt that sitting here overlooking the 1001 is going to appeal.

A constantly busy road I doubt that sitting here overlooking the 1001 is going to appeal.

However there is a small outside retreat at the back – maybe for smokers.

Out back.

Out back.

Just on the subject of smoking Thailand is a wonderful place for us non-smokers. Most places don’t allow it inside and Thais themselves aren’t big smokers, despite a pack only costing from $4.00 here. It is rare to see a Thai smoking especially girls, unlike Australia where young girls seem to have taken to the addiction with enthusiasm. The only places you will have smoke blown on you is if visiting bars where farang hang out and then it is open season.

As an aside but on the topic I am fully supportive of people who want to smoke proving it doesn’t intrude into my space. Smokers only restaurants, bars and cafes should be the go providing the staff are accepting. The freedom to make our own informed decisions, even if that eventually kills us, is a concept that is being lost across the western world – for our own good of course. It is why so many people enjoy Thailand where there are less controls on the choices we make – for better or worse.

Back to topic! Inside Doi Cafe is once again a modern minimalist place, which seems to be the go with new cafes here. I find it all a bit stark and echo encouraging but that’s just me. Doi Cafe have done it quite well with nice little touches to bring colour into the environment.

A natural pine look.

A natural pine look.

The sign on the counter informs you of the free wifi available and the password. I have only ever come across one cafe here that didn’t have free wifi. If you don’t see a sign advertising it in a cafe you are visiting ask and get the password. Australia you are so behind in this area when compared to Thailand.

From front to back.

From front to back. Some colourful cushions would add to the appearance in my opinion.

Upstairs and fancy lighting.

Upstairs and fancy coffee cup lighting.

Coffee accessories including a small roaster.

Coffee accessories including a small roaster.

Adding much needed colour.

Adding much needed colour.

Love this idea.

Love this idea.

These little tickets on the mini-clothes line are for regular coffee drinkers. They are the usual stamp per coffee with the tenth one free but what a great way of displaying them. I have never seen this done before.

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I am going there today and will get one.

Great value - Doi Chaang Peaberry beans.

Great value – Doi Chaang Peaberry beans. Regular beans 200 THB for 200 grams.

Doi Chaang Peaberry coffee beans – A coffee cherry typically produces two flat sided beans, yet when a cherry produces only one oval shaped bean, it is called a peaberry. The peaberry bean is much smaller with a higher concentrated flavour and represents only 5% of our annual crop. Our Single-Estate Piko’s Peaberry is unlike anything you have ever tasted with an intense fruity floral aroma and a heavy full-bodied profile. Rare and highly sought after, our Peaberry is slowly and carefully roasted for a vibrant and distinctive taste. Deep-toned with a hint of earthiness, we are confident this will be your ultimate coffee experience.

A good strong coffee, no coffee art but that's OK. Hot too, which I prefer. So many baristas have problems with temperature producing a lukewarm coffee.

A good strong coffee.

No coffee art but that’s OK. Hot too, which I prefer. So many baristas have problems with temperature producing a lukewarm coffee. Double the size of the one I had Ponganes Espresso Cafe HERE. 60 THB or A$2.00 so at the top of the normal cost range but with Doi Chaang coffee beans, which are more expensive, that is normal.

Happy coffee drinker.

Happy coffee drinker.

The menu.

The menu.

The two staff were lovely. Very pleased to have a customer I think.

The two staff were lovely. Very pleased to have a customer I think.

Update 8 October 2014:

I have been to this cafe a few times now. The staff are delightful and worth a visit just to see them. However the coffee just isn’t good enough to make it a regular stopping point. I buy my beans from here as they are the cheapest in Chiang Mai.

There is a second cafe at Fifth Avenue called Now & Then Hi-Fi Cafe, which we tried yesterday. Although cheaper at 45 THB I found the coffee to be better at Doi Cafe. The guy, who I suspect is the owner, was very pleasant and friendly but for me Doi Cafe is the go.

Cafe

Cafe Now & Then.

This cafe is split into two parts. The front is the  cafe and then the back portion, very small, is a single lounge facing an impressive hifi music system. At 6.00 pm the cafe turns into a wine bar with a small choice of US, Chilean and Aussie wine available. Relax and listen to music. I am not sure how he wil go on this concept. Wine is hugely expensive by Thai prices – a 2011 Margaret River Shiraz costing over $50.00, and the Thais aren’t great wine drinkers. San Sai isn’t a tourist area and although there are farang living here they are pretty spread out. I wish him every success.

Inside the cafe section. The music room through those doors at the back.

Inside the cafe section. The music room through those doors at the back.

Reflecting the music theme.

Reflecting the music theme.

Other shops currently open in Fifth Avenue include a couple of pizza places, a small restaurant called The Chef, a gym equipment supply place and a upmarket clothes shop.

Maybe I will see you at Doi Coffee & Roasting!

Thanks for reading.