If you are a coffee lover like us, you probably already indulge yourself with the local coffees in the places you travel, and being Cambodia a coffee-producing country, it even makes more sense to do it here. In case you are passing by the capital, we present you some options for finding coffee places in Phnom Penh!
Starting by what is local, you will see a lot (seriously, a lot!) of street coffee sellers everywhere, with, of course, a wide variation in terms of quality. Typically a trial-and-error kind of business. But as per our personal experience, one great place to have a cheap and tasty street coffee is in the square of Sothearos boulevard (also a great place to grab a plate of street noodles, by the way). This is the real thing and super delicious, served in the genuine way that most of Cambodian people drink their coffee: on ice and with lots of sweet milk (for 2000 riel or 50 cents) or for the “real” coffee lovers, a pure black coffee on ice (for 1000 riel, 25 cents) to be able to taste the ‘nutty’ feeling of typical Cambodian or Vietnamese coffee. The reason for this taste it’s the mixture they add to the coffee beans while processing them, such as soya and corn, with some rice wine, butter and salt somehow being part of it at some step. Surprisingly or not, the coffee is delicious and extremely easy to appreciate without any milk or sugar (even some notes of chocolate can also be noticed sometimes!) Anyway, to find this specific stall for approved high quality coffee look for the mechanical shop shown below, being the stall we are referring to the one just in front of it (and probably in the middle of a savage amount of motorbikes being fixed).
If instead you would like to buy coffee to try to make it yourself (using for instance the traditional Vietnamese drip), you can head to nearby the Central Market to visit the Mondulkiri shop on street 61, selling packages of coffee produced in the northeast province of Cambodia of the same name:
Other option is on street 182, between Monivong boulevard and Orussey market. There’s a shop called Founan Café that sells coffee produced all over the world (from Indonesia to Costa Rica, all the main producers are sold here), and you can actually taste an espresso of Cambodian coffee for free:
For more upscale alternatives, in Feel Good café on street 136 (near Kandal market) they roast their own coffee, or in Java Arts café and gallery (on Sihanouk boulevard near the Independence monument) you can relax on a very comfortable environment, check their current art exhibition on the first floor (being one of the key art venues in town is definitely worth the visit for getting to know new artwork of contemporary Khmer artists) or use their wifi to stay for a while working like many other freelance professionals and travelers do. And of course, with the company of great coffee as well! Check their website for information on current events: javacambodia.com
If working is not your current mood, head to street 308 near Bassac Lane and find the little and cosy Red Bar for tasting a delicious espresso martini. Highly recommended as well!
Anyway, with a typical Khmer ice coffee on your hand in order to face the Cambodian heat while you walk around on the city, or having a cappuccino in one of the relaxed coffee-shops in town, we wish you a rest of great trip and stay in Phnom Penh!