Cotton Tree

An interview with Fai & Ton, Co-founders of Cotton Tree Coffee Roasters & Cafe, Chiang Mai

One of my personal favorite city to travel to and if you are a coffee lover, you definitely cannot afford to miss this on your coffee map. In my previous trips, I was able to knock on various coffee shops and even make my own list of top 5 cafes. This year I just wanted to explore some new cafes/roasters based on the recommendations of Q-Graders and Coffee trainers. And so, I had this place called Cotton Tree on my list and I had to go there because more than 4 people had suggested it to me.

On the outer lanes of the city, away from the main roads and traffic, located at the corner, well lit with natural light, the fresh smell of coffee and the open blue sky was what the Cotton Tree welcomed me with. Inside, it is very well spaced and the soft music set just the right atmosphere for a perfect cup of coffee. I got myself a pour-over from their roastery and it turned out to be one of the best pour-overs I had on this entire trip. As I wanted to know more about this place and their story, I approached the barista, Ton, who also turned out to be the co-owner of the place along with his girlfriend Fai. Keep reading to know more about Cotton Tree and also the reason behind the title of this interview post:


Why Cotton Tree?

Oh! It’s very simple, my name Fai, in the Thai language means Cotton, and my boyfriend’s name Ton means Tree. We thought what else could be a better name for our cafe than the combination of our own names.


When did you start and what inspired you guys?

Fai: We started 3 yrs and half years ago.

I really like coffee a lot and Ton has been making coffee for nearly 5 years now.  He started working at a coffee shop in Bangkok and then shifted to Chiang Mai and started to work as a head barista. There he was teaching other baristas how to make coffee and improve their skills, but whenever I would go to that cafe, he would always make coffee for me and this continued for 2 yrs. He would only make coffee for me at his cafe, and he would always make a heart in my cup and slowly we started to fall in love for each other and one fine day we both decided to start a coffee shop together.

So your relationship started while he was still working as a Barista ?

Fai: Yes! He used to give me free coffee sometimes, (as they both giggled over this). Days when he was off from his work, our favorite thing to do was to go together to another coffee shop and explore more within our city.


What is that one thing that makes Cotton Tree different?

Ton :  The Barista is the owner and he is the one who makes coffee for the customers. I do the roasting and Fai runs our small bakery,where she stalks fresh bakes every morning. The customers who come here get to meet the owners and have a good relationship and can meet us every time they come, we both are always working here and are always available at the cafe.


Your favourite Coffee?

Fai : Ton makes my favourite coffee. It’s a hot latte.

Ton : I like Black coffee. And the pour-over is my favourite brewing method.  


How does it feel like, running a cafe with someone you love so much?

Fai : He makes a heart every day in my coffee and it feels great to be running this together. It still feels like a dream. The staff here is like my family and they are like my children, we all work together and really enjoy being a part of this.