Samui Wining & Dining
Make it, Drink it, Fix it!

Whatever you do with coffee, Boncafé is here to help you!

Whatever you do with coffee, Boncafé is here to help you!There are just two sorts of coffee drinkers – people who can drink instant coffee, and people who need the real thing. In fact I’ve heard it said that instant coffee drinkers don’t like the taste of coffee; they just like a coffee flavour. If you’re a coffee fan, you’ll understand this. It means not just real coffee, but proper coffee machines, too. And that’s where the name Boncafé comes into the picture.

There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of this name before. But it’s been prominent in the Asia-Pacific region for a long time now. Boncafé began in Singapore, founded by the Swiss Werner Huber, way back at the start of the ’60s. The company was successful, expanding into Malaysia, then Hong Kong and Australia before eventually establishing a factory in Thailand, in 1993. And in the time since then, Boncafé has become Thailand’s biggest coffee company, with the proud slogan, ‘The One Stop Coffee Solution’.

In fact, you’ve probably been drinking one of the many blends of Boncafé without even knowing it: the vast majority of resorts and restaurants here use not only use Boncafé coffee but also Boncafé equipment, too. It’s not only very good coffee, but there’s the big advantage of on-site maintenance service to go with it, too. And this is the clincher that makes all but the trendiest of gourmet restaurants go for Boncafé.

Let me illustrate this point. One of Samui’s top 5-star restaurants uses an antique Victorian coffee machine – all glass and polished brass – to produce one of the world’s most expensive hand-ground coffees (made from beans ‘processed’ by the civet cat) at 500 baht a cup for after-dinner connoisseurs. But every morning at breakfast the big coffee flasks are being endlessly refilled from a line of stainless steel Boncafé machines – because this has to be reliable.Whatever you do with coffee, Boncafé is here to help you! When you have to come up with 200 cups of coffee in less than three hours, you simply can’t afford a break down.

All of which makes this sound very industrial and high-powered – which it is at one extreme. But the origins and intentions of the founder, Werner Huber, are still very much in place. He vowed, back at the start, to create coffee that was real and coffee shops that were accessible. And that also means domestic and home-based coffee machines, too. It’s tempting to buy something cheap for this. But mostly it’s a false economy as cheap means low quality, and that means a limited life. Another fact: cheap machines are usually throw-away. They can’t be repaired.

And so when you take a look around Boncafé’s Samui office, right on the ring-road in Bophut, close to the PTT petrol station (not far from Fisherman’s Village and The Wharf) you’ll see something for everyone. Their range of products can be roughly divided into three sections: coffee, coffee machines, and other beverages (teas – green tea Matcha, Earl Grey – frappe products, a range of smoothie bases and even a set of syrups that are designed to go with that other Thai favourite, crushed ice.)

The coffee machines are fascinating in their own right. There’s a range of proven machines, many of them imported from Italy under licence (some of which need to be ordered in advance) and all of them verging on the industrial/aesthetic cusp,Whatever you do with coffee, Boncafé is here to help you! which tends towards mechanical surrealism with their pipes, dials, gauges and computerised programmable technology – mega-buck state of the art coffee machines.

But then there are also the Boncafé home coffee-makers. These aren’t the $20 bargains you can find on eBay. These are sturdy, quality-engineered machines and designed to be readily dismantled for servicing and repair. Talking of which . . .

Boncafé now has an active supply and service schedule for not only Samui but also Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao, spreading the gospel of quality coffee even further afield. But a saunter around the Bophut center reveals yet more goodies.

Each month they run a different promotion, where one or another product is highlighted, featured and discounted for a short time. And right now it’s the Brodies Tea capsules. There are eight enticing flavours, together with a robust machine. And currently there’s a special promotion with the teas at 25% discount. Not only that, but the machine (together with four boxes of capsules) is also being sold at a time-limited promotional discount – full details on their website below!


Rob De Wet


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