By Stacey Bondareva – 4 week intern
When it comes to coffee shops and smoothie bars in the small village of Ban Naklang, options may seem a bit limited. Luckily, one of the village’s residents, Nee, has recently opened a cafe business at the KSES base, which she has called Nee’s Corner. She serves smoothies, teas, beers and wine coolers, and most recently, coffee.
Nee has always loved engaging with the volunteers staying in the village. Her home has been a place where interns love to eat and gather in their spare time. It seemed like the perfect fit for Nee to start a cafe, where guests and staff alike could socialize while enjoying refreshments, at the hub of the sanctuary.
Nee is continuously trying to expand her drink repertoire. During my time at KSES, I showed her how to make different types of coffees using her new espresso machine. I learned that Nee has a sweet tooth when it comes to coffee, and is not used to drinking it the way we do in Canada. I’ll always remember the face she pulled when she tried a black americano for the first time.
While the drink I made Nee was definitely too bitter for her taste, she is happy to cater to anyone’s sweetness preference. When called for, Nee’s signature trick is to use condensed milk instead of sugar. This creates a richer, creamier coffee.
One of our hike guides, Gae, kindly helped me put together an English and Thai menu for Nee’s Corner. It showcases all of Nee’s drink options including her newest additions of espressos, americanos, lattes and cappuccinos. Eventually, this menu is likely to expand with the addition of smoothie bowls, which would make for a delicious breakfast option.
Nee and her cafe have become such an important part of KSES. I hope everyone passing through the sanctuary gets the opportunity to meet her and try one of her drinks. Even amidst an adventure as exciting as exploring Thailand and its elephants, it’s always important to stop along the way to take in these special moments, and enjoy the little treats life has to offer.