Opened by Robbie van Luijn, who had previously worked at 30ml (another awesome specialty coffee shop in the Utrecht Centraal area), Koffie & Ik has a bit of a little United Nations ambiance. Part of the reason for this is the neighbourhood the café is located in: Lombok, named after an island in former Dutch colony Indonesia, has a colourful and diverse populace.

Koffie & Ik (which means “Coffee & I” in Dutch) is a bright, sunlit corner coffee shop. Blocky wooden chairs and tables line up outside for when the weather is fine; inside well-worn wooden floors lend some texture and contrast against white walls adorned sporadically with paintings.

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Nestled away from Ekkamai’s busy main road, Ink & Lion looks at first glance to be yet another player on Bangkok’s burgeoning specialty coffee scene. The exposed bricks, concrete floors, and bare wood are practically requisite café décor these days.

What sets Ink & Lion apart from the rest is a fine selection of good quality beans sourced from local and regional coffee roasters paired with baristas who are able to brew the best cuppas from them.

Owners Adithep Pinijpinyo and Nongphan Tangtaweekul source their beans from Bangkok-based roasters such as Phil Coffee Company, Pacamara, Ceresia and Brave Roasters, while foreign roasters include London’s Square Mile Coffee Roasters and Singapore’s Nylon Coffee.

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Blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll spill out from this corner coffee shop along Dixon Street. Whether it’s Etta James or Johnny Cash, the music feels right. You half expect the Mississippi River to flow by but this is Wellington, not Tennessee.

Memphis Belle may not actually be in Memphis, but it’s definitely the belle of the Te Aro neighbourhood, serving awesome blends and single origin beans from local roaster Flight Coffee. Cheerful and award-winning baristas will suggest the best brewing method for each coffee – be it espresso, Chemex, V60, siphon, Swiss Gold, or cold drip.

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The hills are alive with the… aroma of coffee?

Salzburg is haven for The Sound of Music aficionados from around the world, but the Austrian city is also famed for its Kaffeekultur (or coffee culture). Traditional coffee houses or Kaffeehäuser abound. A beloved local beverage is the Einspänner, a strong black coffee topped with whipped cream and served with powdered sugar on the side.

One would be forgiven for assuming the Third Wave (of coffee, that is) never arrived in Salzburg but for a lone champion of specialty coffee in the city: Kaffee-Alchemie. Here, the truly alchemical properties of good coffee can be found and the café is worth a short trek along the river Salzach away from the tourist traps.

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What’s black and white and an oasis of cool in humid and hot Bangkok?

The answer is Hands and Heart, a tiny café hidden in the corner of a condominium (that, in a typical display of contrasts, is located on the same row as the popular Sukhumvit 38 night food stalls). Here, they are all about hand-brewed coffees using Aeropress, pour-over or Chemex.

The décor is a calming blend of – you guessed it – blacks and whites. From the black marble bar and white bean bags to black coffees served in white cups and white coffees in black ones, Hands and Heart reminds one of a serene Go board in mid-game.

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