Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Myanmar

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Welcome expatriates to the vibrant coffee culture of Myanmar, where coffee is more than just a beverage, but a cultural experience! Whether you're a coffee connoisseur seeking to discover new flavors or a newcomer to the region looking to acquaint yourself with Myanmar's coffee traditions, this guide is for you.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Myanmar's coffee culture dates back several centuries, with local beans being produced in the Shan and Kachin states. The country's fertile terrain, mild climate, and ideal altitude make it ideal for growing coffee, and local beans are renowned for their rich aroma and distinct flavor profiles.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local coffee culture is to explore coffee plantations and farms. Events like the Taunggyi Coffee Festival and Myanmar Coffee Festival offer opportunities for expats to connect with local farmers and learn more about the coffee production process.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Myanmar's coffee culture is diverse, with expats able to indulge in a wide array of coffee style drinks. Traditional brews like the Burmese-style coffee, also known as 'Kha-yeh' or 'Pek', is made using a copper filter and offers a robust flavor with a hint of spice.

Specialty blends, such as the Peacock Speciality Coffee beans cultivated in the Northern Shan States, are also popular among locals and expats alike. Some of the most popular coffee beverages unique to Myanmar include the 'Moe Chwe' (emergency coffee), a concoction of black coffee, condensed milk, and sugar, and the 'Saw Lahk Loh' (candlenut coffee), made using candlenut oil instead of butter.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is an integral part of daily life and social interactions in Myanmar, and expats can learn a lot by embracing local customs and traditions.

A notable aspect of coffee drinking culture in Myanmar is the 'Pehaing,' a traditional process where coffee is served in a copper pot, known as a 'hkehbauk'. The process involves burning charcoal in a brazier, which is placed beneath the pot, and coffee grounds are placed into the pot and steeped in hot water.

Another unique aspect of Myanmar's coffee culture is the 'book-sharing chat sessions,' where locals gather to share books, chat, and enjoy coffee. This cultural practice has been gaining popularity in recent years, with several 'book-sharing' cafes popping up around the country.

Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cultural Experiences

Fortunately, there are several coffee shops and cafes in Myanmar which cater to expats' diverse tastes and preferences. Some of the popular options include:

  • Golden Leaf Coffee Kitchen, Yangon: This cozy cafe has a rustic decor and offers a range of coffee beverages, light bites, and delicious pastries.
  • Moegyo Inle Heritage Museum Coffee Shop: Located in the picturesque Inle Lake region, this coffee shop offers stunning views and a variety of coffee beverages made using locally sourced beans.
  • Kimbue're, Mandalay: Known for its warm ambiance and cozy décor, Kimbue're is a popular haunt among artists and creatives in Mandalay.

Expats interested in learning more about Myanmar's coffee culture can also participate in cultural experiences such as the coffee workshops organized by the Saya Coffee Company or join the coffee tours organized by the NCA Coffee Academy.


Myanmar's coffee culture is a rich tapestry that offers expats a unique cultural experience. From understanding coffee origins and production to embracing favorite coffee style drinks and customs, this guide has provided practical tips and recommendations for coffee lovers in Myanmar. We encourage expats to embrace the vibrant coffee culture of Myanmar as a gateway to connecting with local communities and experiencing authentic cultural experiences.