Recently arrived Japanese expats Takayuki Nakano, who has a background as a photographer, and his wife, Kyoko Nakano, a beauty therapist, this week opened a new cafe-bar called The Commune set in a large, airy villa in the Tuol Tom Poung area. They serve mainly traditional Western cafe fare with a couple of Japanese specialities and a focus on coffee
Question: What’s the concept for the cafe?
Answer: The cafe is called The Commune and our company is Asianbooster. We want the cafe to be a place which brings people from different countries together to support Asia. In the future we’d like to do things like host workshops.
What about food-wise?
Kyoko: Having good coffee is very important to us. We will source the best raw beans from around the region and roast them ourselves. We serve pour-over coffee as well as espresso. We also serve Japanese-style burger patties, with rice and a soy-based sauce, and cocktails in the evening.
Why is coffee so important?
Kyoko: Taka is a serious coffee lover. He’s always searching for the perfect cup. He’s trained as a barista and always wants to know more and more.
But why roast your own beans?
Taka: Roasting coffee is like manually developing a photo. Both are very sensitive processes and you get the best quality doing it by hand. The result when roasting coffee depends on very small adjustments in temperature and time. I enjoy processes that require a lot of concentration.
Why do you prefer pour-over coffee to espresso?
Taka: For the same reason that we roast our own beans. Espresso coffee is made with a machine, with the temperature and the time set to be the same every shot. But every day the temperature and humidity is different, and that can affect the coffee. With pour-over coffee, you can adjust for all those tiny variations because you’re
doing it by hand. You get more control.
Why did you decide to open a cafe in this area?
Kyoko: The Russian Market area has a lot of expats and wealthier Cambodian people and the rent is quite reasonable. We looked in BKK 1 but it was very expensive.
Why did you decide to move to Cambodia to start a business?
Kyoko: We were living in Hong Kong for a couple of years, but nowadays everything is very expensive there, especially rent, so we found it difficult to expand our business. So we started to research other countries where we could do business, and Cambodia seemed like it had a lot of potential.
What are your plans for the future?
Kyoko: We would like to sell our original roasted coffee beans, and we have a very big building, so we would like to start up an beauty salon upstairs soon as well.
Interview edited for length and clarity. The Commune is located at #10 Street 472