Opened in February, Joma brings something unique to the Phnom Penh café scene – and it’s a whole lot more than simply coffee, even if the ground-floor centrepiece is an industrial-size roasting machine.
Sure, Joma – a three-storey, loft-like space with about 400 square metres of seating, including an alfresco second-floor balcony for smokers – does coffee. It brews it from fair-trade, organic beans cultivated in southern Laos. But the café also offers freshly baked loaves of bread, bagels, sandwiches, salads, and vegetarian and beef lasagne, among other hot-food offerings.
“Joma is so much more than a coffee shop,” Cambodia country manager Tina Shim says. Everything is homemade, from the cakes to the ice cream, made by our bakery and production team – all the things you miss from home.”
It’s a well honed routine. The Joma story goes back to 1994 in Vientiane, Laos, where it first started life as wholesale outlet for bakery products, later reinventing itself as a retail outlet, Healthy and Fresh Bakery, in 1996. In 1999, the current team of four owners bought the operation, and in 2004 they rechristened it Joma – a name that derives from the three Canadian and one Thai owners: Jonathan, Jocelyn, Michael and Aun.
Currently in the planning stages and slated for a September opening, a Russian Market-area Joma Bakery Café will be the brand’s 12th offering in the region (other branches operate in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Hanoi) and the third in Cambodia.
Joma’s second Phnom Penh branch recently opened in the Tuol Kork area, which Joma chief operating officer Michael Harder describes as Phnom Penh’s version of suburbia.
With its leafy views, Joma is the perfect spot for a business meeting, breakfast, lunch or a session catching up on emails, and at least part of the proceeds (2 per cent of all sales) go to community causes. The burgeoning chain also has a nondiscriminatory hiring policy, actively hiring disadvantaged Cambodians who under normal conditions would not have a chance to work.
Cnr Norodom Blvd, St 294, BKK 1. Tel: 095 696 957
15, St 337, Cnr St, 528,
Tuol Kork. Tel: 095 696 958