A taste of Melbourne coffee culture in Mae Sai.

Northern Thailand's coffee culture continues to spread, partly thanks to locals who've trained with the real coffee snobs in Australia and beyond returning with expert roasting knowledge and an increasingly fussy attitude to what beans they’ll use. 

Joining the likes of Chiang Mai's Ristr8to and Ponganes, Chiang Rai’s Z Cafe (094-298-9794, www.fb.com/Zcafe.Maesai) is a humble little cafe up in Mae Sai, a stone's throw from the Myanmar border, run by a barista who’s previously worked in Melbourne. 

The focus is mostly on local, single origins, in particular peaberry beans that have been hand-sourced from the province’s own Akha village, Pha Hee. There are also plenty of selections from Doi Tung, as well as carefully sourced beans from overseas.

Word is all their espresso-based drinks are delicious, including the recommended Choconut Espresso (B50), which combines an espresso shot with their homemade traditional Thai-style coconut ice cream.