While scouring the internet, I had gotten the whiff of a coffee shop in the Nimmanhaemin area of Chiang Mai that was anything but conventional. After looking at their photos and reading its rave reviews, I labeled it a must-see on our trip.
The sun was beating down on Chiang Mai and we had gotten off at the wrong street. Long story short, we got lost in translation. It took a little asking around and a little walking before we finally found what we were looking for.
With a buzzing crowd of people on its front porch, Ristr8to was pretty hard to miss. Peering inside, we could see the place was packed with people getting their daily fix of caffeine. Chalkboards decorated with informative coffee-related illustrations lined the shop’s brick walls, and its emphasis on wood and iron gave the shop an industrial feel.
If there was one word to describe Ristr8to’s menu, it would probably be fusion; a fusion of the familiar taste of an espresso with new and exciting flavors. Yes, they served the classics, but with drinks called Satan Latte, Dirty Orgasm, and Shakerato From Hell, I certainly wasn’t about to order my go-to latte. Served in laboratory test-tubes and in skull-shaped glass cups, the coffee shop felt like a coffee-geek’s laboratory.
Sitting down in front of a shelf full of coffee beans and merchandise, we learned that they were Australian Latte Art Champions. It’s no wonder locals and tourists alike were whipping out their phones to snap a picture of whatever it was they were drinking.
When our drinks arrived, we were no different. I had ordered the Shakerato From Hell, made with a double-shot of espresso, Brazilian cacao syrup and milk, served cold in four slender test-tubes. A couple years ago it would have been biuret in those test-tubes, but now it was an exciting beverage with the nostalgic taste of a café mocha. I’m pretty sure my Biology teacher never intended for me to drink from test-tubes.
My mother got Ristr8to’s international award-winning Satan Latte, made with a double shot of long ristretto, while my father on the other hand had a classic Americano made from top-class coffee beans.
As we made our way out after finishing our drinks, crowds of people kept pouring in, and it wasn’t hard to see why. Ristr8to offered a different kind of coffee experience that you wouldn’t find anywhere else; one that was fun, inventive and new. It was definitely an experience to remember and a place worth going to if you ever find yourself in Chiang Mai.