Coffee museum grounds for a visit

Part of the display at the Coffee Museum. LUIS BARRETO
Part of the display at the Coffee Museum. LUIS BARRETO

Coffee museum grounds for a visit

When thinking of museums in Cambodia, it’s usually ancient carvings and Khmer sculptures that come to mind. But there’s a new museum in town, and it doesn’t have even the slightest connection to Angkor Wat.

Instead, the Golden Mountain Coffee Museum is dedicated exclusively to celebrating everyone’s favourite pick-me-up: a good old cup of joe.

Perhaps an unexpected addition to Siem Reap’s caffeine scene, the one-month-old museum is owned by Kim Jong Yoon, a Korean coffee lover keen to share his passion with others.

“Most people drink coffee” he states, “But they don’t understand where it comes from, and the process of making it. I want to introduce people to the story behind coffee.”

And that’s exactly what the museum does.

Alongside artistic black and white photographs of all things coffee, the walls of the bright airy museum are covered in colourful displays detailing every step of the journey from bean to brew.

Proprietor Kim Jong Yoon ready, willing and able to share his coffee passion with visitors. LUIS BARRETO
Proprietor Kim Jong Yoon ready, willing and able to share his coffee passion with visitors. LUIS BARRETO

Visitors start by learning about how coffee is grown, selected, and harvested, before moving on to different types of coffee making machines.

Ever wondered how a French press or a vacuum pot actually works? Or perhaps how to brew traditional Turkish coffee? The answers are here.

Other displays give tips on grading, rating and roasting beans, infographics of coffee ingredients, and information on the allegedly many health benefits of drinking coffee.

And yes, ‘hangover cure’ makes the list.

Also on display is Yoon’s personal collection of coffee grinders. “They’re from all over the world” he says proudly. “I’ve always loved coffee, and have been collecting these grinders for years.”

After all that learning this visitor was in need of a cup of coffee herself, and as luck would have it Yoon has opened a coffee shop beneath the museum.

“The idea is that visitors will take some time to learn about their favourite drink, and then come downstairs to taste it with a better knowledge of what they’re enjoying” says Yoon. “So far, it is working well.”

Aside from being an obvious addition to a coffee museum, Yoon wanted to re-create the stylish coffee shops he’d loved while living in Bangkok.

“I didn’t find anything like that here in Siem Reap” he says, “so I decided to build it myself.”

Excitingly for the coffee addicts – and soon-to-be-experts –Yoon’s café stocks a vast variety of coffee beans from all corners of the globe.

“We offer coffee from eight different countries, including many in Southeast Asia. We import some coffee, but we also have five of our own blends from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and of course Cambodia. We roast and package them here so they’re fresh.”

That is right; Golden Mountain has its own purpose built “roasting room”, so that the coffee served up tastes as fresh as possible. Nosy guests will also be pleased to hear that a glass wall allows people to watch the entire process.

When asked about his best coffee, Yoon does not hesitate to recommend the “elephant dung” coffee that he imports from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.

For the uninitiated, this coffee is made from coffee beans that elephants eat, digest, and then return to nature. They are then retrieved, cleaned, and readied for roasting.

“The elephant coffee doesn’t smell so good” he admits, “But the taste is naturally very sweet.” That may well be true, but at $10 a cup this is a caffeinated treat for the brave of palate and large of wallet.

But there are many other coffees available, including a strong black Dutch coffee served with ice and a little sugar syrup – a perfect choice for a typically humid day.

Yoon also has some interesting plans for his coffee shop.

“At the moment it is low season, but next year when there are more people in Siem Reap I would like to start offering tasting classes. Then my customers can learn even more about coffee.”

The Golden Mountain Coffee Museum is at the front corner of the Charming Tourist City complex, and opens daily from 8am-10pm.

Sarah Brown

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Monks given ‘Samdech’ title for contributions

    Three senior monks on Thursday were given the highest-ranking title “samdech”, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that the promotions were due to their contributions to Buddhism. The three distinguished monks were promoted on Thursday morning at Botum Vatey pagoda in Phnom Penh, at a

  • Facing possible sanctions, PM criticises Washington’s rights record

    While United States congressmen are discussing the Cambodia Democracy Act and an amendment that could impose more sanctions against Cambodia’s government, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday counterattacked by questioning the respect of human rights and democracy under the US-backed Lon Nol regime, and