Lea’s first encounter with the island of Koh Phangan was in the early 90s but actually she wasn’t impressed at first...
“Then I came again, and again, and again...I stopped counting at some point and was always sad to leave”.
Then in 2010 she decided to move here and start a new lifestyle, so in April 2011 Lea checked out her city life and arrived in Haad Rin with a big suitcase with thoughts on whether she would even survive the first month!
“Fast forward 7 years and I can say I did it! I changed my lifestyle completely”.
Lea has just opened ‘First Cafe’ located in the grounds of First Western Hospital yet open and accessible to all of the public. You can find her up the ramp to the side of the hospital.
Lea, you love baking, why do you enjoy it?
It’s creating something completely different from raw ingredients. The process is science, precise, and the result is delicious and beautiful.
I have a chemistry background, so the kitchen feels like a lab to me.
I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, helping my Mom with preparations. I never had official training, just from my Mom and self taught.
How did the idea for a cafe come about?
I’ve been running a friend’s cafe in Haad Rin for the past 3 and a half years, and then decided to move out of the area.
First western Hospital approached me and asked if I would like to take over the coffee shop just outside their main building and I said yes.
Why are you so passionate about fresh, good ingredients?
Fresh and high quality ingredients give the best result, in taste, appearance and overall healthier. I strongly believe that you are what you eat.
What is the concept of First Cafe?
My concept consists of two parts; First, life is too short to drink bad coffee, and second, like mentioned above, you are what you eat!
Basically, I only serve things that I’ll happily eat or drink myself.
For example, I don’t sell artificially flavored drinks, like coke and other poison drinks.
Tell us more about what is on offer....
Everything on the menu is fresh, delicious, and made with love and care.
I use free range eggs, whole wheat flour, brown sugar and the like.
Another point I’d like to highlight is the cleanliness of the place, care and awareness of hygiene.
On the menu you can find 100% Arabica coffee, yummy smoothies, kombucha, cakes I bake on the premises. Muffins, brownies and more.
Also sandwiches made with whole wheat bread or baguettes.
What do you hope for the future?
My plans for the future are to move to a place with a beach view ha-ha and I hope more locals will discover my place and become regular customers.
What do you enjoy about Phangan when you are not working?
In my free time I like to go down to the beach and work on my tan, and watch amazing sunsets. Occasionally I will go visiting friends around the island.
Lea is the perfect host and you can get the warmest of welcomes from her at First Cafe.