Cha-Am is changing; becoming more upmarket and more sophisticated than the familiar markets and makeshift stalls.
This year has seen the demise of many small businesses which proved to be nonviable, especially with the absence of foreign tourists. However there has also been the emergence of ‘boutique style’ hotels, restaurants and retail outlets which have taken over from others which haven’t been able to adapt to changing consumer demands.
One of the ‘new breed’ of small businesses that has just opened is a sophisticated coffee shop simply called ‘COFFEE-ME’.
It’s worth pointing out the versatility of the ubiquitous town house buildings that feature in every Thailand town and city. Within easy reach of the main Cha-Am beach there are rows of such buildings; often neglected and unloved. With just a little imagination, maybe some internal changes to make the best use of the space and they can become very comfortable residences, or in the case of COFFEE-ME, very attractive and practical small business premises.
Upon entering ME-COFFEE, the first impression is about the vibrant décor. That includes dramatic works of art and sculpture which includes the service counter and working space for the coffee barista.
COFFEE-ME is a Thai/European family business with Khun Tu as the lady in charge. Although her daughter’s partner is the main barista, four family members are all trained in the art of converting coffee beans into amazing varieties of the world’s favourite beverage, presented to appeal to all the senses. There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or the visual appeal of an artistic swirl for the creamed topping.
An order for an Irish coffee includes carefully caramalising a sugar coated glass from the heat of a candle. Just like the services on offer, no short cuts, but with care and attention to detail.
If coffee isn’t what you are after, there’s a fine wine selection which can be accompanied by sweet or savoury dishes, there’s a carefully disguised wine store which looks like the front end of a classic car.
One surprise is a private booth where the ladies may have their finger nails manicured. A nail spa in a coffee shop is something we’ve never seen before!
Upstairs customers can sit on the open air balcony; maybe for a fine cigar with a glass of port; smoking isn’t allowed downstairs. On the second level two rooms are available for private meetings or celebrations.
Our host Gordon says the future of COFFEE-ME includes plans for special events such as tasting sessions; maybe fine wines, liqueurs or gourmet food. Maybe the growing clientele will have their own ideas; they’re a sophisticated bunch who enjoy the finer side of life and really love COFFEE-ME!
WHERE: One hundred metres from Phetchakasim Road on Soi 4 south near the municipal school, that’s the road from Phetchakasim Road to the Cha-Am beach.
OPEN: 10 Am to 8 PM