The barista team admit that both cold brew flavors (Sukhumvit and Origins, B120 each) offered here are made with methods which are far from traditional. They simmer the coffee for 2-3 minutes and then pass it through a filter (French press). They then let the coffee rest until it reaches room temperature, either on its own or with selected infusions, such as lemon and cinnamon sticks, and chill it immediately in the fridge with ice.
Though the method is unconventional, it does retain the characteristics of a good cold brew. Both flavors are light-bodied, aromatic and refreshing. Origins boasts dark chocolate flavors and a mellow salted caramel finish, while Sukhumvit has a slightly bitter lead with cinnamon and lemon notes.
3/F, Siam Discovery, Rama 1 Rd., 02-678-5000. Open daily 10am-10pm. BTS National Stadium
Made with the owners’ homegrown beans from Chiang Mai, the cold drip here is a rather abstract, yet refreshing combination of bitter chocolate, followed by vibrant hints of orange bitters. The finish is reminiscent of butterscotch.
1/F, Noble Reform, Phahon Yothin Soi 7, 081-261-2040. Open daily Sun-Thu 8:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8:30-11pm. BTS Ari
Cold brews here are made from Doi Chang beans, resulting in a refreshing taste with plenty of mouthfeel. They have up to six options to try. The yuzu citrus lemon blend is the highlight, with sparkling salacca and rosella ume blends coming up.
The Coffee Club Piman 49, Sukhumvit 49 Rd., 098-250-9042. Open daily 6:30am-10pm.
After much experimentation, the barista team here settled on a custom-made cold drip machine (inspired by the ones made in Korea), which lets the room-temperature water drip through grounded, medium-roasted coffee beans over a period of eight hours.
Made with blends of local beans such as Pa Mieng and Mae Chan Tai, as well as some beans from Ethiopia and Brazilian, Gallery Drip’s cold drip coffee (B85) is some of the most complex we’ve tasted. While light and fresh in consistency, the flavor progresses from an almost unroasted green bean taste to a mellow mix of raisins, fresh flowers and earthiness. It finishes with a butterscotch caramel flavor that resonates for at least 15 minutes.
BACC, Rama 1 Rd., 081-989-5244. Open Tue-Sun 11am-9pm. BTS National Stadium
Here, the use of Ethiopian "Adado-Shara" beans gives the cold brew an aromatic flavor of apricots and peaches with a hint of citrus and floral higher tones.
Ascella Condominium, 33 Sukhumvit Soi, 081-553-3585. Open daily 7am-7pm. BTS Thong Lor
Methodology: Conventional Cold Drips
The traditional way of making cold drip coffee
Conventional cold drip involves a tower consisting of three different pieces of glassware, arranged to resemble a three-story hourglass. Ice-cold water is poured into the top glass, which then drips slowly into the middle cylinder-shaped glass filled with ground coffee. The water passes through this second glass very slowly; it takes six to eight hours to see optimum results. Most baristas will use light to medium roasted beans for maximum freshness and flavor extraction. Below are five Bangkok coffee shops which use this method.
Here, the use of Kenyan beans gives the cold brew an initially earthy flavor slightly similar to dried leaves and fermented fruit. After a dark cocoa-like kick, the cup finishes with an interesting dairy cream-meets-kidney bean taste.
1/7 Ekkamai Soi 2, 02-002-6974. Open Thu-Tue 10am-7pm. BTS Ekkamai
On our last visit, the barista used Doi Chang beans, and the results were stunning. With a light body and smoky finish, it was bursting with a clean, chocolaty flavor burst resembling Mast Brothers Brooklyn Blend.
Phayathai Rd. (before Aram Si Alley), 02-612-1442. Open daily 6am-10pm. BTS Phaya Thai
Rocket Coffeebar is the only coffee shop on this list that uses an automated brewing system known as the batch brew, and their Rocket Fuel (starting B120) is a must-try. They soak Rocket’s house espresso blend in ice-cold mineral water for 24 hours before filtering and packaging it.
Simple but very refreshing, Rocket Fuel bursts with earthiness and chocolate followed by a very clean finish. For extra tanginess, they serve it with a slice of Sunkist orange and lots of ice. To appreciate it to the fullest, Ånöstam recommends serving it in a wine glass: the greater volume of air clarifies the flavors.
149 Sathorn Soi 12, 02-635-0404. Open daily 7am-11pm. BTS Surasak
Using only seasonal, single origin beans (currently Colombia’s Huila Agustino), roaster Korn Sanguankeaw makes his cold brew with the help of a custom-made drip tower from Korea. Unlike a regular triple-tier tower, instead of letting the ice-cold water drip straight through the ground coffee, there’s a lock-in function which Korn uses to allow the water and coffee to infuse for an hour. After the lock is released, the water takes another six hours to filter.
Using a coffee to water ratio of 1:10, the signature cold brew (B100) at Roots initially offers a strong burst of funky chocolate followed by lighter, bitter orange notes. The finish, though, is really something else; wait five minutes and you’ll taste something resembling caramel popcorn or rum raisin ice cream.
The Commons, Thonglor Soi 17, 088-190-5950. Open Mon-Thu 8am-8pm; Fri-Sun 8-9am