These days, you can find a coffee shop in almost every corner of Phnom Penh. In the last ten years, Cambodia’s coffee culture has evolved from sticking to the classic Asian quartet of iced/hot black coffee with/without condensed milk to embracing a wider western range. More coffee shops and coffee lovers now recognize everything from espresso through iced latte to mocha frappe. It is not surprising, then, that regional brands like Amazon and international brands like Starbucks have rushed in to take their shares of this booming market.
But the majority will agree that this change was brought about by local minds who saw and seized the opportunity, and has since inspired a culture of brand and quality in the industry. Below, I proudly recommend five popular local brands, with distinctive characters, for you to try and experience the diversity of Cambodia’s coffee industry to date.
1. BROWN COFFEE AND BAKERY
Price: $ Opening Hours: 6:30-21:00 Website:www.browncoffee.com.kh/ Brown Coffee menu: here Brown Coffee near me: here
When talking about coffee shops in Cambodia, it is not complete without mentioning “Brown”–the most successful pioneer of the new coffee culture. Starting with its first branch on Street 214 (Brown Pencil) in 2009, Brown Coffee and Bakery has opened 19 other branches and outlets in Phnom Penh and two in Siem Reap, almost two branches per year!
Brown is the first of its kind and does a great job in presenting its modern identity to the Cambodian urban population. It serves quality coffee and a variety of drinks and pastries, and regularly introduces new drinks flavors that are usually catered to local preferences. Its food menu is also a thoughtful combination of Asian and Western tastes. Finally, each outlet is cleverly decorated to give its customers a classy feel. It’s clear, then, that Brown is a coffee shop you should not miss.
2. PARK CAFÉ
Price: $ Opening hours: 6:00-21:00 Website:www.parkcafe.com.kh/ Park Café menu: here Park Café near me: here
Founded in 2004, Park Café is less a coffee shop, and more a “café” (in the American sense of the words). Park Café dedicates itself to providing quality food in a professional atmosphere, so, like Brown, it represents a modern identity. However, the menu is more local, serving items like Phnom Penh noodle, roasted duck noodle, beef Lok Lak, and fried rice, along with coffee & fruit shakes. So if you fancy a local menu in a professional atmosphere, Park Café should be on your list.
3. LA CHRONIQUE CAFÉ & BISTRO
Price: $ Opening hours: 6:30-20:00 Facebook:www.facebook.com/La.Chroniquecafebistro/ La Chronique Café menu: here Map here
With local and overseas giants competing, smaller coffee shops that come later to the scene have to be creative. Thus are born themed coffee shops like La Chronique Café & Bistro. With its black-and-white chequered floor, colonial-era decoration and incandescent lighting that are often accompanied by Cambodian Rock ‘N’ Roll playing in the background, La Chronique aims to give you a feel of 1960’s Cambodia. Founded in 2016 and situated in the busy Tuol Tompoung area, the shop serves delightful coffee and tasty western dishes throughout the day. If you stay in or visit the Tuol Tompoung area, you need to give this place a visit.
4. TUBE CAFÉ
Price:$ Opening hours: 6:30-20:00 Facebook: www.facebook.com/TubeCafeCambodia/ Tube Café menu: here Tube Café near me: here
Tube Café just entered the market in 2017, and so far has opened up to 11 branches in Phnom Penh. Unlike Brown; however, Tube focuses solely on its coffee. It also aims to provide a fast and convenient service. So, if you need to quickly grab a coffee, Tube may well be the choice as it dedicates itself to this type of service.
And remember the classic quartet? The most popular among them is iced coffee with condensed milk, available at all traditional coffee shops and coffee carts all over the country. Tube Café has given this all-time Cambodians’ favorite a new twist and made this new taste its signature drink on their menu “Café Tnol” (literally, “street coffee”). So if you want to taste this local favorite with standard quality, try one at Tube Café!
5. MOBILE COFFEE
Price: $ Opening hours: 6:30-19:30 Facebook: www.facebook.com/mobilecoffeekh/ Mobile coffee stores near me: here
Last but not least is the brand that democratizes good coffee in Cambodia. As the name implies, Mobile Coffee aims to make good coffee available to everyone, everywhere. That’s why besides having a few static outlets near the Independence Monument, Sen Sok, and Tuol Tompoung rea, Mobile Coffee is instead famous for its widespread coffee carts and affordable, delicious coffee. So next time you drive around the city, try spotting one of these small carts with a big mission. And if you find one, don’t forget to support them, or at least try it for yourself!