Bangkok's coffee houses offer more than just an air-conditioned escape from the overheated rigours of life in the capital. They are human petrol stations _ places to refuel, snack and reorder the mind amid the chaos. Coffee houses also serve as surrogate offices or libraries, places to meet business clients, study for exams or polish off a book. And, yes, the air-conditioning doesn't hurt either.
The rise of coffee shops has mirrored the increase in laptop and tablet ownership and it's a trend that's holding strong in the city. While the US has reached coffee house saturation _ 900 Starbucks outlets have closed since 2008, for example _ Thailand's coffee culture shows no signs of abating.
It's hoped that this growth will mean a greater variety of options rather than an increase in the number of chain outlets, though the signs aren't positive; many of our favourite boutique cafes have closed in recent years, giving way to chains that are better able to absorb swings in economy and cafe fashion.
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