Coffee. It's the third most consumed beverage in the world after water and tea. In 2016, 148 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee were produced worldwide.
In Cambodia, the beverage has traditionally been an older person's drink. With the growing influence of cafe culture from the West, however, young people here are spending more and more time in coffee shops.
Before choosing a house or apartment, many people want to make sure the neighbourhood has a comfortable feel. Having at least one cafe is often a crucial part of this. So, Realestate.com.kh has drawn up a list of the top cafes in the capital. No matter where you choose to live in Phnom Penh, chances are you'll be close to one.
We've even put all the best cafes in Phnom Penh into a map for you! Scroll down to see the map.
We think the best cafes in Phnom Penh are:
Java Creative Cafe - The artsy cafe
This stylish joint has cafes in Toul Kork and Russian Market. But its most well-known spot is just across the street from the Independence Monument, in Tonle Bassac. Check reviews, and you’ll find that people love the food and the view. But this place also strives to be a hub for local artists.
“[Java has] been serving up homemade food and organic coffee for nearly 20 years. We love art as much as we love food and as a cultural enterprise, we are a platform to launch Cambodian artists and public art events thanks to all our customers,” said Java owner Dana Langlois.
Metro Hassakan - The swanky cafe
Riverside might be known for its happy hour deals. But Metro is one of the best places for a midday coffee break. Kick back and enjoy a java while gazing out at the Mighty Mekong.
In addition to the Riverside location, Metro has a cafe in Toul Kork. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of the capital, praised for its amenities and security. If you’re curious about living there, watch our video guide to Toul Kork.
Backyard Cafe and Artillery Cafe - The health-nut cafes
UK expat Emma Fountain originally opened both of these spots. They may share the crown for best health food restaurants in the capital. On the menus, you’ll find everything from trendy avocado toast to veggie burgers. Just as much care is put into the coffee too.
If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or want to level up your quinoa game, stop by one of these places. They’re both located at the southern end of Daun Penh, just a bit north of Independence Monument. And if you like the look of the district read our expat rental guide to Phnom Penh to find out what an apartment should cost.
Lot 369 - The neighbourhood joint
You might drive past this cafe without noticing it. Nestled among the shophouses of Toul Tum Poung (Russian Market) sits Lot 369. The cafe isn't huge but has amazing style. Order a simple espresso shot here, and it will come out on a wood slat complete with a sparkling water chaser and a few chocolate-covered coffee beans.
According to co-owner James Wilson, the idea for Lot 369 is to “offer a relaxed, chilled atmosphere that reminds travellers of a casual cafe off a Melbourne alleyway,” she said, adding that the food is a fusion of Australia's brunch culture and Cambodia's local flavours.
Like a few of the other expat-aimed spots on this list, Lot 369 is health-conscious and eco-friendly. This cafe embodies the neighbourhood.
Feel Good Cafe - The roasters
It isn’t just the caffeine that will have you feeling good here. With two outlets in the capital, Feel Good Cafe is a social enterprise that serves up organic fair-trade coffee and food. It’s employee owned and seeks to empower its staff and suppliers.
The place was started in 2013 by two expat coffee roasters, and still serves up single-origin blends sourced from around SE Asia. The Feel Good group operates social enterprises across the Kingdom.
The Shop - The foodie cafe
Are you guilty of Instagramming your food? If reading the words “goats cheese” makes your mouth start watering, The Shop is probably for you. This brunch-centric place has three cafes and two specialty chocolate shops in the capital.
If you end up there and snap some photos of your artisan quiche, don’t forget to follow Realestate.com.kh on Instagram. We’ve got some killer interior design photos that you’ll dig.
Eric Kayser - The boulanger
If you didn’t know, French culture still has a strong legacy in Cambodia. Heck, we even did a special article on the French colonial architecture in Cambodia. It makes sense that there’s at least one cafe offering up traditional “barang” baked goods. It’s got nine locations in the capital so they must be doing something right.
If you’ve got a craving for a croissant, this is the place to go. No beret necessary.
Mere Cafe - The central cafe
Sometimes the traffic situation in Phnom Penh can be positively headache inducing. Mere is located right smack in the centre of the city, off Monivong. It’s a great place to meet everyone.
As well as all the typical coffee drinks, they serve up some killer entrees too. The price point is excellent for Western-style food in the city.
Brown Cafe - The hometown hero
With nearly 20 cafes around the city, Brown is a go-to meeting spot. The Cambodia-established chain isn’t just another Starbucks knockoff either. Every branch has a unique setup. They’ve got all the normal tea and coffee variations as well as shakes and a full food menu.
Local consultant Soumy Phan said he liked Brown not only for its coffee but for how it could be used for meetings or as a workspace.
“I don't have my own office, so it is a good place for me both personally and professionally. I like the fact that it is an original brand started by Cambodians,” he said.
No matter where you live in the city, you're probably close to a Brown. The flagship store is in BKK1. There are two Browns across the street from each other! BKK1 is often considered the "foreign quarter" of Phnom Penh because of all the embassies, NGOs and foreign businesses.
Joma Cafe - The lad from Laos
Ever sipped shade-grown coffee from the forests of southern Laos? Joma, which has cafes in Toul Kork, BKK1 and Russian Market, takes pride in its village-sourced 100% Arabica. It’s worth a try for any aspiring connoisseur.
In addition to coffee, they’ve got some killer baked and pastries (I’m looking at you, macarons!), as well as breakfast and lunch food like wraps and salads. Joma seems to be a popular place for those doing work or studying.
If you’re looking for a more professional place to work, check out the list we drew up of all the coworking spaces in Cambodia.
Map of the best cafes in Phnom Penh
Coffee culture at cafes in Phnom Penh
Many may instantly think of Australia or even Vietnam with regards to coffee culture in the Asia Pacific region. Indeed, Vietnam is the world’s number two exporter of coffee, and the average Ozzie consumes around three kilograms of the stuff per year.
But there’s a culture forming around coffee in the Kingdom. A young, urbanised population means there’s plenty of javaheads. You don’t need to go far in Phnom Penh to find a cup of the stuff.
Phan added that the cafe atmosphere was a significant factor for the success of shops in the Kingdom.
“I think the coffee culture here is mostly a social thing, and it’s proliferating among younger Cambodians.”
Which one of these cafes is your favourite? Let us know if we missed any by commenting below.