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By Kevin Cain

One of my favourite pastimes is visiting local, independent coffee shops and trying a cup of something strong and black. I am most interested in the single entrepreneur who designs a small space and makes delicious freshly brewed coffee. This to me is streets ahead of the anonymous and faceless big chains that just dole out mediocre warm tap water to long queues of bored patrons.

So chatting away over a cup or two of Java with my editor we both agreed that we would start to feature articles based on where, how, what and why certain coffee establishments outperform their rivals.

This exercise should at least keep me wide awake for the coming months as well as sampling some of the best black gold to be drunk throughout the city. Our findings will be based on all manner of criteria including obviously; taste, value for money, venue, service, choice, food accompaniments and general all over gut feeling.

It might therefore surprise some readers that my first point of call to report upon is 7/11. Believe it or not, selected branches of our favourite corner store are now offering a coffee service that is indeed quite refreshing.

If you are lucky enough to have such a branch near to you then my advice is to try one of their freshly brewed hot or iced coffees. The service in our local store opposite our offices in Soi Chaiyapruk is excellent and their staff have been fully trained on how to dispense life blood to a faltering writer.

Firstly the taste of the hot Latte is more than acceptable, and at the service counter you can choose just how many sweeteners or milk sachets you require. What is amazing is the cost; nearly all their hot coffees are the same price: 25THB. Now before you think I have got a screw loose or I am a coffee ignoramus let me put your mind at ease.

This is not sophisticated or elaborate coffee but it is streets ahead of the instant gunge that 7/11 used to serve up. And for the price of 25THB it is extremely good value for money. My editor decided to opt for an Espresso Frappe that she cited as perfectly acceptable and refreshing, all for 35THB

There are three main offerings at 7/11 for their coffees. Hot, Iced and Frappe. All the normal suspects are there from; Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso, Americano etc. And in the Iced and Frappe ranges there are one or two surprises especially for the sweet of tooth.

Over the weeks since the machine has been installed I have noticed the customer queue growing and in particular with Thai nationals queuing for iced coffees.

Take my advice and do not dismiss 7/11's freshly brewed coffee, try one for yourself and have the change over to buy a nice pack of biscuits to devour with your coffee.

If you have a favourite coffee hang out that you would like us to report on in our Wake up and Smell the Coffee feature please write in to us at or message us on our Facebook page.