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Mai Waan, Khrap!


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What is the secret to consistently getting unsweeted, black iced coffee in Thailand? I'm talking about in any cafe other than Starbucks. Despite my best efforts, seems like 1/2 the time I end up getting sweetened coffee.

I almost decided that "Cafe Americano" was the trick because I kept explaining at Au Bon Pain that I want "not sweet", "mai waan" "black", "sii daam", etc. Finally, their eyes lit up & they chirped: "Cafe Americano!" So I got that, and it was perfect. Black & bitter.

But in other cafes, Cafe Americano comes up heavily syruped. So I don't know what they think that means. This also happens (sometimes) at Coffee World and any number of independent cafes. I'm in Bangkok.

Other times, I have a long discussion with them in my dismal Thai, sometimes my wife tells them plainly, in Thai, what I want. And sure enough, sweet coffee arrives.

I'm not above sending it back to do over, but my wife is horrified at any hint of confrontation & I don't want to make anyone lose face, esp if the boss is around watching them. I know these girls mean well. So has anyone "broken the code" on what it takes to convince them you really don't want sweetener in your ice coffee?

Please note: "It never happens to me" is not helpful. I'm sure some of you are so extraordinarily skillful that you have no problem. But if this has happened to you & you've found an effective way to deal with it, I'm all ears!

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What is the secret to consistently getting unsweeted, black iced coffee in Thailand? I'm talking about in any cafe other than Starbucks. Despite my best efforts, seems like 1/2 the time I end up getting sweetened coffee.

I almost decided that "Cafe Americano" was the trick because I kept explaining at Au Bon Pain that I want "not sweet", "mai waan" "black", "sii daam", etc. Finally, their eyes lit up & they chirped: "Cafe Americano!" So I got that, and it was perfect. Black & bitter.

But in other cafes, Cafe Americano comes up heavily syruped. So I don't know what they think that means. This also happens (sometimes) at Coffee World and any number of independent cafes. I'm in Bangkok.

Other times, I have a long discussion with them in my dismal Thai, sometimes my wife tells them plainly, in Thai, what I want. And sure enough, sweet coffee arrives.

I'm not above sending it back to do over, but my wife is horrified at any hint of confrontation & I don't want to make anyone lose face, esp if the boss is around watching them. I know these girls mean well. So has anyone "broken the code" on what it takes to convince them you really don't want sweetener in your ice coffee?

Please note: "It never happens to me" is not helpful. I'm sure some of you are so extraordinarily skillful that you have no problem. But if this has happened to you & you've found an effective way to deal with it, I'm all ears!

I had the same problem. I feel your pain.

Ended up just sticking to coffee places that have black filter or americano on the menu or at small shops watch them and then stop them before they syrup the hell out of it.

Coffee should be strong and black :-)

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I had the same problem. I feel your pain.

Ended up just sticking to coffee places that have black filter or americano on the menu or at small shops watch them and then stop them before they syrup the hell out of it.

Coffee should be strong and black :-)

It brings to mind the old classic...

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I had the same problem. I feel your pain.

Ended up just sticking to coffee places that have black filter or americano on the menu or at small shops watch them and then stop them before they syrup the hell out of it.

Coffee should be strong and black :-)

It brings to mind the old classic...

The how I like my women one? No sadly I like mine soft and blond ;-)

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'Mai Waan' does NOT work. This just means you'll get a half kilo of sugar in your coffee/tea, as opposed to a full kilo. You need to say 'Mai sai nom, mai sai naam taan'. Why 'mai sai nom'? Because the 'nom' of course has sugar in it. My favorite is when the vendor decides to start a five minute argument with you about why you shouldn't drink it that way instead of making it for you. This has happened multiple times with me over several years. They will say something like 'mai arroy, khom' (bitter, not delicious). In this case, sometimes I walk away, or sometimes I just say 'Tham rue mai tham?' That usually does the trick, but they'll sometimes be so shocked that they'll forget what you want and you have to remind them again. Then don't pay until you taste the coffee. Or go to starbucks and avoid all this BS...

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'Mai Waan' does NOT work. This just means you'll get a half kilo of sugar in your coffee/tea, as opposed to a full kilo. You need to say 'Mai sai nom, mai sai naam taan'. Why 'mai sai nom'? Because the 'nom' of course has sugar in it. My favorite is when the vendor decides to start a five minute argument with you about why you shouldn't drink it that way instead of making it for you. This has happened multiple times with me over several years. They will say something like 'mai arroy, khom' (bitter, not delicious). In this case, sometimes I walk away, or sometimes I just say 'Tham rue mai tham?' That usually does the trick, but they'll sometimes be so shocked that they'll forget what you want and you have to remind them again. Then don't pay until you taste the coffee. Or go to starbucks and avoid all this BS...

whats wrong with mai arroy, khom? they dont understand the foreigner taste and its definitely not a ill intention to share with their opinions. what you did by walking away when they said mai arroy, khom is nothing but plain rude. reaction like these probably reinforce the impression of people requesting coffee without sugar.

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