Southeast Asia is quickly growing to be a serious contender in growing some of the best coffee in the world. Vietnam is a huge producer of Robusta, Thailand has recently gained a reputation for growing quality organic coffee, and Indonesia has become very popular for their Civet "Kopi Luwak" coffee. What many don't know is that Cambodia has also been working hard the past decade to become a serious contender for the best coffee in Southeast Asia. In this article, we're taking a closer look at the Cambodian Coffee Industry, where it´s grown, and where it might be heading.
Cambodia produced 384 tonnes of Coffee in 2019
In 2019 Cambodia produced 384 tonnes of Coffee, up about 1% from 380 tonnes the previous year. This is a 100th of Thailand that produces 40,000 tonnes a year or Vietnam that produces 60,000 tonnes a year.
The coffee grown in Vietnam is mainly Robusta which is usually not seen as equally high quality as the Arabica Bean. The coffee-growing market in Cambodia is still very small but it's seen as an artisanal product with consumers willing to pay up to $4 for a cup in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Today, in Phnom Penh, you can find international chains like Starbucks and Coffee Club, but also local chains like Temple Coffee and Brown Coffee. All these live side by side with smaller independent coffee shops like Crooked Brew and roadside coffee stalls selling a cheap cuppa Joe.
Most of the Cambodian coffee comes from the province of Mondulkiri.
Cambodia is having a hard time keeping up with its production of coffee
Demand for coffee is huge all over Cambodia but as previously mentioned the actual growing of coffee in the country is still relatively small. The result of this has been that the majority of the coffee drunk in Cambodia is imported. Thailand is still leading with over 15 different Thai brands present in the Kingdom. It is said that about 90% of coffee consumed in Cambodia comes from Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. One of the main challenges for coffee producers in Cambodia is the difficulty competing with foreign brands because of the higher cost of production.
Coffee for socializing and business
The economy of Cambodia has grown rapidly over the past decade. That has also resulted in Cambodians having more disposable income which has fueled a consumer culture. This has affected coffee consumption with many new fancy coffee shops opening in the capital city Phnom Penh. Apart from getting a little caffeine buzz the main reason for Cambodians to visit these establishments is for business and to socialize with friends.