With a population of around 1.6 million, Chiang Mai, encompassing both the capital city and the province of the same name, is the central hub and heartbeat of northern Thailand. If you live in this area or are planning a visit, you’ll have no shortage of things to do. From golden temples to elephant parks, the city’s attractions are diverse, cultural, and endlessly interesting. After a full day of seeing the sights (or before you head out), you’ll undoubtedly want to refuel. That’s where a Chiang Mai cafe comes in!

Whether you’re seeking the richness of a full-bodied espresso or the complex flavors of a loose leaf tea, these cafes are bursting with flavor, and often serve their beverages alongside top-notch Thai and international food that makes a perfect pairing.

Northern Thailand has many wonderful tea plantations. Many local teas are available including organic loose leaf black teas. Oolongs, Green teas and white teas are also available. Famous sweet orange colored Thai milk tea is available everywhere.

Today, we’re taking a look at the worldwide  top eight loose leaf tea flavors for 2017. Some of these will be available in a Chiang Mai cafe along with the local flavors. Just ask.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

1. Blood Orange

Have you ever sunk your teeth into a ripe, juicy blood orange? Less acidic than their cousins, the navel orange, these delectable fruits are bursting with flavor. Their unique flavor also features overtones of other sweet fruits, such as strawberries.

It makes sense, then, that blood orange loose leaf tea is equally delicious.

Prepare the tea with complimentary hints of apple and floral notes from hibiscus and marigold. This forms a naturally sweet tea that might not even need your usual spoonful of honey or sugar!

Thus, when you’re visiting a Chiang Mai cafe, be sure to see if blood orange tea is on the menu!

2. Blackberry

Are you in the mood for a tea that’s not too sweet, but not too tart? If so, blackberry loose leaf tea is the perfect semi-sweet solution!

The just-right taste of blackberry makes for an ideal tea that pairs well with many cuisines. It’s just as great for backyard cookouts as it is for fancy dinners, making it a great all-purpose drink.

Want to spruce up your blackberry tea just a little? When you visit a Chiang Mai cafe, ask for a little bit of fresh mint on the top and soak in the decadence!

3. Pear

Maybe you’ve heard about the health benefits of green tea and have wanted to give it a try. Or, maybe you’ve got friends and family who rave about it, but you haven’t settled on a cup that’s the right strength for you.

If so, green pear loose leaf tea is the perfect way to dip your toes into the arena of green tea. With flavors that are lighter and sweeter than the typical green loose leaf tea, this tea is extremely drinkable.

Prepare pear tea with other fruits to add to its pleasant flavor. Use pineapple to up the sweetness quota and add a tropical twist!

4. Ginger

Like green tea, the health benefits of ginger are often touted. It’s been known to naturally soothe everything from nausea to muscle pain.

As such, a comforting cup of ginger tea from a Chiang Mai cafe is a great way to unwind from a long day of exploring the region. Especially if you’re traveling around on foot!

Ginger tea is usually prepared with touches of other flavors.  These include fruits, lemongrass, mint, and ginseng.  In this way they create a multi-layered taste that gets better with every sip.

5. Jasmine

Though it’s more of an aroma than a flavor, jasmine is a popular note in loose leaf tea due to the powerful, sweet fragrance of the jasmine blossom.

Brought to China from Persia around the beginning of the third century A.D., the jasmine plant found and solidified itself in tea culture, rising in popularity with the Song Dynasty (around 960 to 1270 A.D.).

Though green tea is typically used as a base, jasmine tea can also be created with white or black tea. It’s known to calm nerves, decrease tension, and reduce anxiety, so you might want to drink a cup from a local Chiang Mai cafe before heading out on a zip line adventure!

6. Turmeric

Flavor tea with turmeric if you favor loose leaf teas that are more bold and earthy in nature

Turmeric is closely related to ginger and has slight hints of orange. As such, its warm and deep flavor blends nicely with teas that also feature ginger.

In addition, teas made with turmeric are often blended with touches of cinnamon for a balanced taste that’s just the right level of sweet.

7. Spiced Chai

The word “chai” is more than a flavor — it encompasses the entirety of the tea itself.

Chai tea has its origins in India. It is typically made with rich black tea, milk, sweetener, and a combination of multiple spices. This has become one of the most popular drinks in the world.

So what gives it its unique and recognizable flavor? The answer lies in the unique blend of spices used to comprise it. These typically include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black peppercorns.

When combined with a touch of honey or sugar, these flavors come alive.  This turns ordinary black, loose leaf tea into an unforgettable culinary experience.

8. Mint

Mint loose leaf tea is as refreshing as it is calming. It is one of those drink-it-anytime beverages. It works just as well as an early morning sipper as it does a late evening wind-down.

Blend spearmint with citrus notes of lemongrass and lemon verbena for an interesting taste.  Maybe you prefer peppermint. Add cocoa for a mouthwatering treat.

Mint can also be combined with other flavors, such as watermelon or cucumber, for a cooling summertime drink especially ideal for Chiang Mai’s hot summer season!

Looking for a Chiang Mai Cafe? Start Here!

When you’re in a new environment, all it takes is wrapping your hands around a comforting cup of tea to make you feel at home. Diving into a warm plate of well-prepared food also helps.

That’s where we come in.

We’re a local Chiang Mai cafe serving coffee, tea, and a range of dishes that incorporate both Thai and Western flavors. Our restaurant is a labor of love. It is an extension of our commitment to both this region and its residents and visitors.

We’d love to see you walk through our doors, so here’s where to find us. Stop in today and see what all the buzz is about!