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Coffee Lifestyle: Taste and store location are attractive points

Phnom Penh is a city of coffee drinkers; evidence can be found in the capital’s thriving coffee shop industry. For many residents, the morning cup is a daily ritual and an indispensible part of their lifestyle.

Walk into a mom-and-pop coffee shop or one of the downtown branches of a brand-name coffee chain; chances are it will be packed.

And while you’ll see customers of all ages, it is believed that youth comprise the largest share of coffee shop customers.

Talking to Youth Today at Starbucks Coffee Journey on Thursday, Tith Serey, 22, said she drinks coffee every day.

Between sips, the student and private company employee said she needed at least one cup of coffee in the morning to get her out the door and off to work. She said drinking coffee made her feel “fresh” and enhanced her productivity at work.

Ms. Serey said she preferred her coffee on the bitter (as opposed to the sweet) side. “Maybe I’m addicted; but drinking coffee leaves me fresh and productive for a whole day. I mostly drink lattes, macchiatos and frappés,” she said.

But it’s not all about the coffee: Ms. Serey considers her local coffee shops to be extensions of her workplace. They each have different coffee options, and all are well-decorated and furnished, making them a great place to meet clients.

“I even go to coffee shops on the weekend; there’s enough space to drink a cup while getting my school assignments done,” she said.

Chantha Kong, a Cambodian-American who has lived in Cambodia for six years, was taken aback during his first visit to a Starbucks flagship store.

The artists were asked to paint the Starbucks store’s walls using imagery drawn from a Cambodian legend. The shop also featured Krama scarves and other decorative items that embody Cambodia’s cultural heritage.

“I like the way Starbucks outlets have incorporated traditional Khmer art and culture. They make me feel at home, even though it’s an American theme,” he said.

“My wife and I drink a lot of coffee. And now [in Phnom Penh] I can finally get the coffee we drank in America. It’s a good feeling,” he said.

According to Phnon Sokmean, store supervisor at the Starbucks flagship store in Phnom Penh, customers are no longer content with drinking a cup; now they also want to know the history of the coffee they are drinking, the author said.

“Customers are interested in watching us make coffee. They have many questions to ask. It came as a surprise at first when they showed so much interest,” said Ms. Sokmean after providing a few tips for making Starbucks coffee to customers during a Starbucks Coffee Journey event.

Ms. Sokmean added that her customers had smelled and tasted Starbucks’ reserve coffee. She said there were three basic options when ordering a Starbucks coffee: a blonde roast, which goes down easily for the beginner and tastes similar to tea; the medium roast, which is just a little bitter and sour.

This is good for daily drinking and helps the drinker feels fresh. And third is the dark roast, which is very bitter and sour, even for a real coffee lover. Just one cup is enough to have the drinker feeling wide awake.