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The Best Coffee in Thailand: Pha Lung Coffee Review

Thailand is a coffee drinker’s paradise, with coffee beans grown in the country and roasted by talented independent coffee roasters. The Thailand slow bar coffee movement has been increasing by leaps and bounds during the past few years, with younger Thais showing a growing appreciation for good quality coffee, instead of the instant coffee that so many Thais of the older generations drink regularly.

At MySakonNakhon, we are on a quest to find the best coffee in Thailand. The only requirement is that the coffee beans must have been grown and roasted in Thailand. The first review in our “Best Coffee in Thailand” review series is Pha Lung coffee, which is roasted and sold by Cafe Amazon, which many people refer to Thailand’s answer to Starbucks. Learn more in our article on the Thailand Coffee Shop Wars.

Pha Lung is a 100% Arabica bean grown in the Thai village of Ban Pha Lang (บ้านผาลั้งผาลั้ง), which is located in Tambon Huai Chompu, Chiang Rai province. Chiang Rai is Thailand’s northernmost province, at a distance of around 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Bangkok. Chiang Rai is mountain province whose elevation and climate make it one of the best places to grow coffee in Thailand. The coffee plantations of the Huai Chompu sub-district (also spelled Huaychompu) sit at an elevation of 1,000 – 1,200 meters above sea level.

The villagers of Ban Pha Lang did not always grow coffee. The Yao ethnic tribes that live there grew opium many years ago, then moved on to Lychee fruit, and began growing coffee with seriousness in 2018, with the help of the Café Amazon company. The reason this coffee is branded as Pha Lung rather than Pha Lang is simply a matter of spelling differences when the Thai language is transliterated into English. Pha Lang is the more common spelling of this Chiang Rai coffee growing village. But that spelling causes many foreigners to pronounce Lang like the word “bang,” when the pronunciation is closer to “lung”.

 

The Best Coffee in Thailand
Pha Lung Drip Coffee, 135 baht for 5 Sachets at Cafe Amazon

 

Pha Lung Coffee Taste Test Review

So, is Pha Lung the best coffee in Thailand? Well, seeing as Pha Lung is the first entry in our taste test contest, we can’t answer that yet. But what we can say is that this medium roast Thai coffee is quite good! It is a “drip coffee” made with a sachet hung over the edges of a coffee cup. The original coffee beans are red, and are roasted at Amazon’s state of the art roasting facilities. Brewing time is no more than 4 minutes. In all of our taste tests, we will be drinking the coffee black, so nothing interferes with the flavor profile.

Pha Lung has a very subtle floral note, a hint of smokiness, very low acidity, and no sourness. Cafe Amazon rates this as a 2 on the flavor intensity scale, which seems a bit low. We would rate it at least a 3. It’s a solid workhorse coffee. When arriving at our ratings for the best coffee in Thailand, we will also take into consideration how the coffee has made us feel immediately after drinking it. Pha Lung coffee made us a little jittery half way through drinking the cup, but this jitteriness subsided about 15 minutes after finishing the cup, leaving us with a good pick-me-up feeling.