In this special report on Café culture, The Post interviewed the newest brand name to enter the Cambodian market, KOI Café. Khorn Chhundara, the managing director of KOI in Cambodia spoke about the growth of the new beverage company.
As one of the newest brand names in Cambodia, can you tell us the history of KOI?
KOI Café is a Taiwanese name brand and is a sister company of Taiwan’s famous 50LAN Teahouse. The Chinese character Dou, which translates to bean, inspired the name for KOI. If you rotate this Chinese character some degrees to the right, it will show as KOI—a word that symbolizes love in Japanese and the name of a fish that symbolizes joy and harmony in China.
For me, it was always my dream to start a café that is unique and special from others, a café that everyone can truly enjoy and fall in love with from day to day and year to year. On my search for this café, I discovered KOI, a café that sets out to create amazing products, a commitment to selecting premium ingredients, perfection of formulas and processes, and unforgettable customer service. KOI provides an experience that everyone can gleefully get addicted to.
Could you briefly tell us about some of your most popular products?
As a teahouse, KOI specializes in the creation of specialty teas such as milk tea, flavored tea, tea macchiato, and tea latte to name a few. At KOI Café, we try our best to make each cup special by infusing a human touch in our production process. Freshly prepared ingredients are manually mixed and meticulously crafted to bring out the best balance between flavor, aroma and texture. In its very essence, each artisanal cup is truly unique, and you can have the honor of having the familiar yet exclusive experience every time you take a sip.
What are some of KOI’s strong points in terms of products and services?
Our strongest points would be our process, ingredients, and service. At KOI, we take processes very seriously. We begin by meticulously defining a standard of operations for all of our shops, from the biggest to the smallest of duties. It’s not easy work, but we are committed to our operations because it helps us maintain high standards in quality and consistency in taste for all tea drinkers. Our team is doing our best to preserve the tradition of tea making. We greatly value the effort behind handcrafted beverages, because they are made with care, with love, by an artisan with a personal story and history. From the cooking of grass jelly to brewing teas to scooping sugar, all is done by hand at KOI.
Complimenting this is our quality ingredients. From whole tealeaves plucked from Taiwan’s rolling hills to aromatic Arabica beans harvested from Guatemalan coastal mountains, only premium and healthy ingredients are used at KOI Café. Fresh ingredients such as lemon and milk are sourced locally to maximize their nutritional values. Most of our ingredients are prepared on-demand in the outlet in order to give our beverages their refreshing yet nutritious qualities not frequently found in other beverage chains.
Who does KOI hope are their main clients?
Because of the efforts and resources that are embedded in each cup of our tea, we believe that KOI is perfect for every one of all ages. In addition, the prices at KOI are very reasonable, so people of all income levels can enjoy our beverages.
What is KOI’s development plans in Cambodia? Do you think it will be operate more outlets?
We currently have four outlets in operation: KOI IFL, KOI Mao Tse Tung, KOI Vattanac Capital, and KOI Preah Norodom. Given the warm reception and demands from our customers, we now have plans to open more outlets across Phnom Penh by the end of the year, and possibly one or two outlets in the provinces, to make it more convenient for our customers to reach us.
After 15 months in operation, KOI Café now has over 100 employees employed. With the future expansion of our outlets, we expect to double this figure by the end of the year.