Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia, and Why You Add Them to your Bucket List

Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia
Photo credit: ©I love coffee/Shutterstock


Hello everyone and welcome again for this today’s post and this time we will talk about our love on coffee. If you are a coffee lovers and have a strong passion with coffee, then don’t forget to tag your fellow coffee squad because this post is for you!

As a fellow traveller and coffee enthusiast, we always got excited on trying the new coffee in town especially when somebody tipped us that this is a must-try.



Recently, the Lonely Planet Food just released their first ever coffee book – The Global Coffee Tour which features the best of the best coffee shops and towns around the world, thanks for the contributions and recommendations of many travelers.

Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia
And I’m happy to share you the Top 3 Coffee Towns here in Asia, according to Lonely Planet Food!


Tokyo, Japan

Japan has always embraced new trends, and coffee is no exception. Its capital is the place to go for the highest proliferation of third wave-style coffee shops, but be sure to round out your education with a visit to a traditional kissaten

Where to try it:

Bear Pond Espresso, 2-36-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya, Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo,
Website: www.bear-pond.com



At Tokyo’s famous Bear Pond, espresso is a matter of intense precision: owner Tanaka Katsuyuki (and only Tanaka) pulls a limited number of shots a day, and only until 1pm, on the La Marzocco FB80 machine he modified himself to extract exactly one half ounce of his signature ‘angel stain’ espresso, named after the streaks, thick like paint, that lash the sides of the white demitasse. His tiny shop is in Shimo-Kitazawa, a neighbourhood known for its eccentric personalities. It’s a good fit, as Tanaka definitely plays by his own rules – a characteristic which has earned him a reputation for surliness (his passion is coffee, not customer service). If you don’t make the cut for the espresso, try Bear Pond’s other signature drink, the Dirty – a delicately layered parfait of espresso and cold milk.
MAP HERE


Café De L’Ambre, 8 Chome-10-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Website: www.h6.dion.ne.jp/~lambre

A post shared by Joyce Lai (@joyceeelaiii) on


Cafe de L’Ambre has a rare pedigree: Sekiguchi Ichirō first opened the shop in 1948, making it one of Tokyo’s oldest remaining coffee shops. He’s now more than 100, yet several days a week you can still see him, behind the window, roasting beans in small batches on an ancient Fuji roaster. Today, the shop is equal parts local gathering spot and pilgrimage destination. Cafe de L’Ambre has a spectacular menu. First there are the aged beans – say a batch harvested from Bahia in 1973. Sekiguchi stumbled upon aged beans through the kind of accident that might not happen today: decades ago, a shipment he ordered took five years to arrive. He roasted them anyway, and was pleased with the result; he’s been experimenting ever since. A tireless tinkerer, Sekiguchi designed much of what is used in the shop, including the enamel kettles, copper pots and cups. Then there are the speciality drinks, which reference a time before espresso machines became commonplace. L’Ambre’s signature concoction is the No. 7 Blanc & Noir Queen Amber – house-blended coffee sweetened and chilled in a martini shaker before being served up in a champagne coupe with a river of cream floated on top. MAP HERE


Glitch Coffee & Roasters, 1F 3-16 Kanda-Nishikicho, Jimbōchō, Tokyo
Website: www.glitchcoffee.com 



Glitch stands apart from Tokyo’s other third wave shops, by literally standing apart. Rather than picking an obvious location in one of the city’s trendy indie coffee hubs, like Tomigaya or Kiyosumi, owner Suzuki Kiyokazu chose Jimbōchō, a neighbourhood more affiliated with coffee’s first wave and a classic student haunt filled with universities, jazz bars and second-hand bookstores, in which to site his small shop. Glitch, opened in 2015, fits in nicely; Suzuki wants his shop to be a community hub and invites other shops to use his gleaming Probat roaster (which takes up nearly a quarter of the small premises). He personally favours a light roast; sample the hand-poured Ethiopia Alaka Washed, with notes of citrus and jasmine. MAP HERE






Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand’s northern city of temples has exploded with coffee shops, many having the added bonus of serving single-origin roasts grown within just an hour or two of the coffee shop itself. Coffee tourists will be spoiled for great music, food and street life.

Where to try it:

Akha Ama, Hussadhisewee Rd, Soi 3 Chang Phuak, Chiang Mai
Website: www.akhaama.com



This cafe in temple-heavy Chiang Mai comes with a strong social angle. The Akha are one of many hill tribes found in northern Thailand, and for several decades have been producing coffee near the village of Maejantai, in Chiang Rai Province. The cafe was the brainchild of an Akha woman who wanted to provide a conduit for local farmers to sell, process and promote their coffee (Ama means mother in the Akha language, and her portrait now graces the cafe’s logo). Using only Arabica beans and 100% organic farming methods, Akha’s coffees are the definition of small-scale and sustainable. The cafe itself is simple (plain furniture, minimal frills) but it’s a world away from the chains, and its coffee tastes good (try the shakerato – a double espresso made in an ice-filled cocktail shaker) – and does good, too. MAP HERE


Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia
Photo credit: ©simonlong/Getty Images

Ipoh, Malaysia

Ipoh’s signature white coffee is famously hot, sweet and almost buttery in taste, and has spawned a chain of cafes that has found its way around Malaysia. For the authentic stuff, Sin Yoon Loong is adored for following the traditional recipe.

Where to try it:

Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia
Photo credit: ©Anita Isalska/Lonely Planet


Sin Yoon Loong, 15A Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh, Perak

Within a scruffy shophouse in Ipoh, a legendary Malaysian coffee has been perfected. Peer behind Sin Yoon Loong’s green blinds and you’ll see only a canteen, where plastic seats spill from a chipped-tile interior on to the pavement. But Sin Yoon Loong doesn’t need style: it’s in this humble kopitiam (coffee shop) that the famous ‘Ipoh white coffee’ was created, a double hit of sugar and caffeine that’s slurped to this day. Coffee beans are roasted in margarine to give them a buttery taste. The resulting coffee is creamy, almost soup-like and best served with a sweetening splash of condensed milk. The phenomenon of Ipoh’s white coffee took on a life of its own, spawning a Malaysia-wide cafe chain called OldTown White Coffee, with no link to the humble café that first brewed the recipe. However, Malaysian foodies continue to pile into ramshackle Sin Yoon Loong (as well as nearby coffee shops with suspiciously similar names). After the trouble of fighting for a plastic chair, only the signature drink – white coffee – should grace your lips. And somehow, it tastes all the better when served in a traditional blue-and-white ceramic cup. MAP HERE


It was so exciting knowing these 3 coffee towns in Asia that I’ve been literally add them to my travel bucket list!


The other list of best coffee towns from other parts of the world can be found everything from the Global Coffee Tour book. I was one of the lucky ones to get a complimentary copy and I would love to bring this book to all my trips, and learn everything from it.





Knowing these best coffee town in Asia gives me more enthusiastic mood to know more about the production of coffee, from planting to harvesting down to the coffee preparation in our cup.

It was only a bit pity that Lonely Planet haven’t found the best coffee town here in the Philippines, and I think it is a great challenge for many local coffee growers and community, to make our local coffee plantation and community the one to be included in the list soon.

Top 3 Coffee Towns in Asia
If you want to know my full book review, you may watch it here on my YouTube video.


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Have you visited these best coffee towns in Asia? Let me know your stories by commenting below.


xoxo, Blair

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80 LOVES AND COMMENTS:

  1. I am from Ipoh and I am damn proud to see my city listed by Lonely Planet for coffee! We are known for many things and coffee is indeed one of them!

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    1. I was so happy that they included Asia in the list! Damn I must visit Ipoh soon!

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  2. Woohoo. My country's coffee actually made it into the list. Ha :D Then again I have yet to visit this coffee shop before. I should go there one day to have a sip.

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    1. hahaha that's awesome! Now I have a mission to visit them all!

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  3. it is amazing to experience the best tasting coffee and also how it is prepared and manufactured

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    1. I agree! I want to learn more about coffee farming :D

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  4. Wow! It's really nice to see people so dedicated to coffee. I've always wanted to visit these places anyway and enjoying a good cup in any of them would be awesome!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Alison! Where is your favorite coffee shop?

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  5. WOW! The pic of the alley way - is that in Chiang Mai? That looks heavenly! Definitely have to make my way there!

    Thanks for sharing :))

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    1. Yey! Please share your coffee experience soon!

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  6. I've read plenty about the Malaysian coffee, so would love to try the Ipoh place out. Japan and Tokyo are high on my bucket list, so it's so great you have listed 2 places on here! I love a good coffee, so this is perfect for me.

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  7. This is an awesome post. I am sure anyone visiting will find this really helpful indeed!

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  8. That's nice :) I would definitely love to visit them all for coffee ;)

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    1. Me too! I would love to add this to my travel itinerary, one coffee shop at a time.

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  9. i love coffee but always got headache after drink only cup of coffee .. huhu..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you have low tolerance for coffee. Maybe you just minimize your coffee dosage.

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  10. I'm not a coffee fan but I don't hate it. I might even give it a try if I were given the opportunity to be in the area.

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  11. I do love a good coffee. These sounds like really great places to visit for coffee lovers. The butter tasting coffee sounds interesting.

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    1. I agree. This book would help to boost the coffee tourism!

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  12. I'm more of a tea drinker, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee every now and then. I also wouldn't mind visiting these coffee shops in the future.

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    1. Thanks Hillesha, I love drinking tea as well. Hope Lonely Planet features all the tea farms of the world!

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  13. You've definitely convinced me to add these towns to my bucket list, also because I've always wanted to visit these countries. And I'm a coffee junkie, I can't live without it!

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    1. Oh this is perfect then! Hope you explore these cities and share your adventures soon!

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  14. I wanted to go to Japan this summer, but I had to change my plans. But I do know Chiang Mai and Ipoh - whereby Ipoh is much more famous for a fantastic tea place; and I would definitely add Hanoi - Vietnamese coffee is the best!

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    1. Yeah that's true! I want to visit Vietnam as well!

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  15. This looks like such a fun coffee tour to some pretty amazing places out there. I know I would have really enjoyed it. If I can visit them someday it would amazing.

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    1. Soon I will share the top coffee town in US!

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  16. I've never been to Asia but I'm a big fan of coffee and Tokyo is on my bucket list, so now I have places to visit when I'm there!

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  17. I’m not a coffee person myself but this is an interesting read for anyone. Great to see these places from Asia making their name. Would not ha e expected Tokyo and Chang Mai to be featured but guess they deserve it. Would live to visit the cafe in Chand Mai as I visit Thailand often. Thanks for sharing a knowledgeable post. Amar singh

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    1. Café L'Ambre in Tokyo is very significant since the owner is already 100 years old and still brewing his coffee :D
      I want to meet him!

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  18. Jeez, I am craving an iced coffee after reading this! I hope I have the chance to check out some of these coffee shops one day.

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  19. Coffee... my elixier of life. I am always very thankful for great tips where to get great coffee, whenever I travel so here I find some very good recommendations. The Akha Ama in Thailand sounds really nice, especially in that surrounding with all the temples. Would be the best place to regain energy by drinking a perfect coffee. But also the other places sound very interesting, I will put them on my Coffee-list.

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    1. Thank you Hendrik! Hope you can share your coffee adventure to us!

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  20. I’m not a coffee fan, but I love to try different types of coffee while travelling. Ipoh signature coffee sounds like something I would enjoy, the flavour is perfect. Lovely list of coffee shops, will make sure to visit them when travelling. Thanks for the share.

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    1. Thank you Suma! I can't wait to visit them all very soon :D

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  21. First of all thanks for that book recommendation, now I know what I am gonna get my husband for birthday :) he loves coffee so much, so maybe this book will inspire him to visit more cool places in the world :) Especially Ipoh as that coffee sounds amazing! I don't really drink coffee because I like it, I do it to stay awake but I feel like I would really enjoy that hot, sweet and almost buttery in taste coffee :)

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    1. Thank you Adrianna, your husband will appreciate this book!

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  22. Ooh I completely agree with Tokyo! That city has amazing coffee. I'm going to have to check out Chiang Mai and Ipoh one day! I'm obsessed with coffee. :) Great post!

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    1. Thank you Lindsey! Don't forget to visit that famous coffee shop in Tokyo, owned by a 100-year old barista.

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  23. you had me at coffee. i need to check it out at some point in my life.

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  24. I haven't traveled in Asia much so I have not been to any of these coffee towns. All of the shops look amazing!

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    1. Oh you must visit soon and add these coffee towns to your Asia itinerary.

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  25. We are huge coffee drinkers in this house, and we love to travel. So after reading this, my travel bug is biting hard lol! Going to make a cuppa and pretend for now :) I have this page as one of my favorites should I ever get the chance to visit any of these cafes!

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    1. Thank you Tiffany, that is so touching!

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  26. I would love to visit these spots! I love trying different coffees.

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    1. You must! You will enjoy the coffee here in Asia.

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  27. I'm not quite sure if I've been to that coffee shop in Malaysia, Sin Yoon Loong but I sure did try OldTown White Coffee in Kota Kinabalu. Love coffees! You can also add Vietnamese coffee! It's one of the best! Guaranteed!

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    1. The famous Oldtown Coffee is inspired by Sin Yoon Loong coffee.

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  28. I love how coffee smells and all the fancy coffees look, I feel like I miss out on so much by enjoying to drink coffee - wish there was comparable options for tea. I'm sure coffee lovers - like Shawn would love to check out these places.

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    1. Thank you Tara, and yeah hope Lonely Planet will featured teashops next time!

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  29. All of these places sound so good! I'm a huge coffee addict so I would definitely check out these coffee shops.

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    1. Thank you Ada! What kind of coffee do you usually consume?

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  30. I haven't been to any of them but I'd love to see them! I hope they can recommend a coffee town in the Philippines too.

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    1. I agree, quite pity that they haven't feature a single Philippine based coffee town. Well this is a challenge for our local coffee industry.

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  31. I dream of Tokyo (and Japan in general) and I would really love to visit the city. I am such a coffee fan so this is another reason to go!

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    1. That is awesome! Don't forget to pay a visit soon at Café De L'Ambre

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  32. I want to try all of these - especially the kissaten! It was interesting hearing about the different places and types of coffee. Definitely adding to my bucket list!

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  33. Your work here is done. Added to my bucket list!

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  34. Bear Pond Espresso? I'd like to visit that when I go to Japan again!

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  35. Clarice Lao/ Camping for WomenJuly 11, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    I am a coffee fan and would love to visit these spots. Including them on my bucket list.

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  36. I'm a big time coffee lover.
    As dejected as you are that Philippines didn't get featured, I'm too, that India didn't get featured. We too have some fantastic coffee here in places like Coorg from where coffee gets exported worldwide..

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    1. We should invite Lonely Planet to India and Philippines!

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  37. For all those coffee lovers out there this is for them. We don't drink coffee. We have friends who can't live without their coffee.

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    1. I can't live without coffee! I think God showered me coffee :D

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  38. I do drink coffee during weekdays but not really good in tasting and enjoying coffee! But I would always enjoy cafe hopping for some nice and chilling ambiance. Don't mind trying out their coffee =)

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    1. I agree. I think the coffee tourism is getting bigger these days.

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  39. I always wish that I was into coffee, because there is so much variety around the world. Sadly, I have to live vicariously through other people. I am sure my coffee buddies would absolutely love these spots.

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    1. Are you a tea person?! That is cool as well.

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  40. These look like fabulous place to stop at to try different types of local coffee when travelling. I've been to the Malaysian white coffee shop and we loved it!

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    1. That is awesome! I would love to visit that place as well.

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