Subscribe Search

Search form

The story behind Story Coffee Roasters

The third floor of the café, where customers work away and hang out.
The third floor of the café, where customers work away and hang out. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

The story behind Story Coffee Roasters

Inside the bright, minimalist space of Vuthy Horng’s new café on Street 21, the aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee is practically palpable upon entry.

Story Coffee Roasters recently entered the local café scene on April 3, but has already amassed a loyal following among young Cambodians, with a young professional crowd filling up the space on a recent Sunday afternoon. Yet the story was hardly scripted, according to Cambodian owner Horng, who left his job at an insurance company to strike out on his own.

“I didn’t quit to start a café. That wasn’t the plan,” he says. Horng originally intended to spruce up the space and sell it as a way to break into the local real estate market. However, Horng’s wife was keen on keeping the building, which is conveniently located near her parents’ home. Instead of renting it out, Horng decided to open a café, inspired by a barista he met when checking out local coffee shops in Vietnam, where his wife is based.

“His passion for coffee got me into it . . . his love and care around the bean,” he says. “He taught me about the beans, the different processes, the difference between beans used for the machine and pourovers.”

Armed with a year’s worth of coffee knowledge, Horng opened his own café, with the aim of providing good, ethically-sourced coffee to young Cambodians. “We want it to be a place where people can come enjoy themselves freely and express their opinion. That’s why I called it Story,” says Horng.

Owner Vuthy Horng at the counter.
Owner Vuthy Horng at the counter. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

He hopes that Story will be a place where they can congregate, discuss their career goals and bounce ideas off each other about how to achieve them.

“We have the opportunity to talk to them, push them, give them a bit of direction and get them to think it is possible because other people have done it,” says Horng.

That conversation also extends to the story behind every cup of coffee. What sets the café apart are the baristas, who understand the complex process behind making a good cup of coffee and are equipped with the know-how to operate different machines and grinders to customise each cup to individual preference.

At Story, single serve hand-poured coffee (from $2.75) and cold drip coffee (from $2) is served in addition to the typical range of espresso-based brews. As Horng prepares a serving of hot pour over coffee with beans from Ethiopia, he explains the process and the variables affecting the taste of the coffee, such as water temperature and size of the grain, which determines the speed at which the water goes through the grains.

“If it goes out too fast it will taste sour, because the water doesn’t stay long enough to get the caffeine content,” he explains. “For a finer blend, it will stay too long, and it is too bitter. You won’t get the acidity, the sweetness. It depends on the customer’s preference, but we also want a balance.”

Story Coffee Roasters is located at #2 Street 21 and opens from 6:30am-9pm daily.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said