Coffee & cake cafe's seem to be mushrooming throughout major cities in Thailand, and Chiang Mai is no exception. Most of them mimic the Starbucks format, though prices are usually a lot more reasonable than Starbucks, for which, like Haagen Dasz I can find no other words besides 'total rip off'.. :-P (Chiang Mai has two Starbucks outlets, one on the Night Bazar road near the Suriwong hotel and one in the Airport Plaza shopping mall. And Haagen Dasz you'll have to find for yourself if you want it! 8-) )
Nescafe instant coffee used to rule Thailand, but this is finally changing. Nescafe became the de-facto standard for 'coffee' for a long time, taking over from the old-style Thai filter coffee stalls which are now increasingly hard to find. (Here's a good one though: http://chanchao.fotopages.com/?entry=79797(Old style Thai coffee))
Now there are many independent, trendy little coffee shops around. Some of course do better than others.. I think a good one is just South of the Night Bazaar on Chang Klan road on the left hand side. But for this review I picked this new one, not because the coffee or cakes are better than elsewhere, but because of the nice river-side setting. It is in fact right next to the well known Riverside Restaurant, close to the Nawarat bridge.