Phnom Penh has some great coffee shops. It comes as a welcome surprise that some of the best coffee joints are just as good as you’ll find in Australia. Here is a list of tried and tested coffee shops in Phnom Penh courtsey of Dianne Nixon, a coffee fiend expat living in Cambodia’s capital.
1. Java Café
There are three Java Café’s across Phonm Penh, so you don’t have to look far – the main one is near the Independence Monument, another is in the Russian Market area, and the third in Toul Kork. Java supports non-profit and independent art programs, and you can usually catch an exhibition or performance with your coffee. The coffee is an organic blend of SE Asian beans, freshly roasted daily.
Hint #1 – if you are from Oz, they will not understand ‘flat white’ so when in Cambodia remember to ask for a latte.
2. Joma Café
There are also three Joma cafes in Phnom Penh, in similar locations to Java Café’s. They source their organically grown beans from a southern Laos community cooperative and it is roasted locally. 10% of Joma profits go to supporting local initiatives for meeting basic needs, and they are committed to providing hospitality training to disadvantaged people wherever they are located.
Hint #2 – Cambodians usually drink their coffee cold, so it is worthwhile specifying you want ‘hot’.
3. Feel Good Café
Feel Good is on Street 136 near the Riverside, Central Market and Kandal Market; Feel Good II Café and Roastery is on Street 29 near the Independence Monument and Kapco Market. Both have a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, as well as excellent coffee and teas. Feel Good has partnerships with specific farmers in SE Asia, who they support with good payments for their crops. They have an interesting variety of blends depending on where the beans have been sourced, and it is heaven for the coffee connoisseur. Feel Good is committed to supporting and empowering all the people employed in their supply chain, from the growers to the barista, and provide additional training and support for staff and partners to thrive in the challenging business environment of SE Asia.
Hint #3 – Cambodians are not as fluent in English as other SE Asian hospitality staff. Get them to repeat back the order, and just be understanding if you get something else – it’s all caffeine!
This should cover the needs of most coffee-deprived tourists in Phnom Penh, and leaves you with the knowledge you are supporting ethical organisations that give back to their communities.
4. Enso Café
You’ll find Enso’s in street 240, a relaxing place to meet and chat. Its coffee is sourced from sustainable Cambodian farms and is excellent. Enso is opposite a collection of ethically-sourced shops for those last-minute gifts before returning home, so is a perfect end-of-trip stop for tourists.
For those travellers who find themselves in unknown spots around Phnom Penh, rather than desperately looking for a Starbucks look for a Browns. Browns is a Cambodian franchise, so you are supporting a local initiative rather than an overseas-based business, and the coffee is generally good depending on the skill of the barista. They are everywhere in Phnom Penh, and worth checking out.
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