This is the second in a series of city-specific café-hopping guides around the world, based on our articles in Sunday Mail’s Crave magazine.

Forget about iced lemongrass tea. For the freshest sips in Bangkok, hop on over to these popular cafés and boutique roasters serving specialty coffee in the Thai capital.

Most are conveniently located in the trendy Sukhumvit-Thonglor-Ekamai neighbourhood. A quick motorcycle taxi (motosai lapjang) ride from the nearest BTS Skytrain station, and you are ready for some seriously good brews.

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Morning Magpie merits its sunny, cheerful name. The café located on Lower Stuart Street, east of Dunedin’s popular Octagon neighbourhood, benefits from plenty of natural sunlight and a serious reputation for coffee. Deservedly so as owner Troy Butler left art school in Christchurch to bring his love of good coffee to Dunedin.

Walk in via the front door and be greeted by a giant mural painted by local artist Danny Brisbane behind the coffee bar. Next door customers sip their coffees, read and chat in a cosy but spacious room. The interior is suffused with light that comes in through the large windows. Perfect for people watching.

Wildflowers add colour to a long communal table, as do mismatched furniture here and there. Lights in glass jars hang low from the high ceilings. The white walls are almost bare but for simply hung illustrations. The lack of frames allow the drawings to blend in with the décor, lending a somewhat hippie-artist ambience to the café.

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We’ve had friends bring us back bags of Stumptown Coffee from Portland and we’ve always brewed great cups with their beans. So we were quite excited to discover that Stumptown Coffee has landed in Japan… sort of. In the quiet Tokyo neighbourhood of Nishihara, a warm and cosy little café called Paddlers Coffee serves Stumptown Coffee. It’s the only place, in fact, where you can get Stumptown Coffee in Japan.

Owner Daisuke Matsushima grew up studying in Portland but it was only after he returned to Japan to helped as a volunteer in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami that he realised the magic of communal effort and experiences. After a trip back to Portland, Matsushima came upon Stumptown Coffee, enrolled in some classes there and returned to Tokyo once more to share his cache of Stumptown beans with his compatriots.

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This was one café that seemed to be more people than coffee, which is a lovely thing, really. Located across the street from the celebrated Minard Theatre, OR Espresso Bar appears to be the meeting point for all coffee lovers in Ghent. Be it a slowly hand-crafted filter brew or a lusty ristretto, everyone is deep in coffee and conversation.

The people factor seems to be a happy by-product as the original intention was more geeky – to create a “live” coffee lab where founders Tom Janssen and Katrien Pauwels could learn from the coffee they served and further refine their roasts.

When the duo first met, they were both working in IT. Neither had any experience in coffee other than Janssen’s grandfather having been a roaster. So what spurred these two entrepreneurs on were only a passion for the bean and a desire to introduce specialty coffee to Belgium.

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Who says you can’t find any decent coffee in a shopping mall?

In Bangkok, at least, you can get a very decent cortado or single origin filter brew even if you’re in the harried midst of a retail maelstrom. During our past couple of trips to the Thai capital, we’ve discovered a hidden gem for coffee after book-hunting in Kinokuniya at Siam Paragon. Just head next door to Siam Center.

Located on the ground floor of Siam Center, towards the rear, is I+D Style Café X Brave Roasters. Why the unwieldy name? It’s a sort of mix-and-match shop, you see, part handicraft haven curated by the local Department of International Trade Promotion (hence the I+D moniker) and part coffee bar manned by baristas from Brave Roasters (and featuring beans by Brave Roasters too, naturally).

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