At a recent coffee tasting event at the newly opened Tuol Kork branch of Gloria Jean’s Coffee, general manager Brice Smith is showcasing three coffees – a “single origin” (originating from a single coffee estate) organic Papua New Guinea, a single-origin Sumatra Dark and a Hawaii Gold “Blend” (beans from several coffee estates).
“The tastings,” says Smith, “are going to become a regular event. The idea is to educate Cambodians that there’s more to coffee than the ground Vietnamese variety they grew up drinking with condensed milk from food stalls.”
However, he adds, the coffee tasting events are turning out to be popular with many others living in the Tuol Kork area – NGO workers, English teachers, and South Koreans living in the area.
The two-storey, 140-square-metre Tuol Kork branch is Australian coffee chain Gloria Jean’s fourth branch to open in Phnom Penh, with two branches on the riverside and in BKK1 doing steady business, along with a so-called kids branch on Sihanouk Boulevard. But Smith is quick to point out that Gloria Jean’s is not just another chain. He says the franchise has taken a different direction in Phnom Penh than its parent company in Australia, prioritising premium products and offering a boutique environment for people to meet or work on their computers.
“We’re making it better than stores overseas, with a new design, reinventing the brand, going upmarket,” he says.
The Tuol Kork branch opened in February after rebuilding a one-storey building on the site and outfitting the interior – designed by Dan Hover – with a polished concrete and dark-stained hardwoods, which creates a simultaneously minimal and homey atmosphere.
But for Smith, it’s still all about the coffee. With around a dozen varieties of bean on offer and more on the way, Smith says Gloria Jean’s mission in Cambodia is to promote real coffee.
The next branch of Gloria Jean’s to open will be in the Aeon Mall, which will have its grand opening on July 1.
○ Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh Port.
Tel: 092 555 973
○ # 162, Sihanouk Boulevard.
Tel: 092 555 937
○ # 18/20, St 592, Tuol Kork
Tel: 092 555 974