5 Cool Cafés to Check Out in Siem Reap

The town in northwest Cambodia has a vibrant food scene, including a handful of delicious specialty-coffee shops. Here is a list of five cafés to visit when you’re in town.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos by Tanya Nanetti

Siem Reap, arguably the most visited city in all of Cambodia, is a rather unusual destination. It’s world-famous for Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious temple, as well as many other surrounding temples, often scattered for miles through the jungle.

However, being so full of tourists year-round, Siem Reap has developed an exciting food scene, with probably more restaurants, cafés, and bars than temples. Among all these cafés, a small group of specialty-coffee shops offers delicious drinks, tasty food, and some shade for reprieve from the scorching weather.

Brother Bong is a real community café, with both tourists and locals enjoying the house-roasted brews.

Brother Bong

Across the river from the central area is Brother Bong, one of the nicest cafés in Siem Reap. It was founded by a young local couple in love with coffee: Bunthoeun, an award-winning Cambodian barista, and his wife, Leang Heng.

Brother Bong is great for tasty and affordable breakfast, and perfect for an afternoon of relaxation thanks to the shaded patio. It’s the kind of place my partner and I can’t stop visiting. In addition to the delicious coffee, the team is super friendly. The café is always full of foreigners and locals, creating a communal atmosphere that is hard to find in other places that often cater only to tourists.

A ginger and lemongrass latte at The Little Red Fox Espresso.

The Little Red Fox Espresso

Wandering around Siem Reap’s less centralized areas, we discovered Kandal Village, a formerly sleepy street recently transformed into one of the city’s prettiest (and hippest) neighborhoods. Here, among a real Italian restaurant, a Southern barbecue spot, and a Taiwanese bao bar, is the Little Red Fox Espresso.

This delightful café offers tasty and healthy food along with imaginative coffees (like our favorite, the hot ginger and lemongrass latte). But Little Red Fox is more than just a coffee shop. As part of the Collective for Good, a Siem Reap-based organization of social enterprises and ethical businesses, its purpose is to help the ethical traveler find sustainable places that can provide a good experience while making a positive impact with their U.S. dollar/Cambodian riel (the two currencies currently accepted in Cambodia).

The Bean Embassy hosts SCA training and coffee workshops, along with presenting the best qualities of each coffee they serve through different brew methods.

The Bean Embassy

While looking for Haven, a training restaurant and social enterprise that creates new life prospects for disadvantaged young adults, we accidentally discovered The Bean Embassy, right next door to the restaurant.

Home to Cambodia’s current barista champion, The Bean Embassy is a roastery-café focused on coffee in all its expressions. From SCA training to coffee workshops, and from sharing the stories behind different beverages to explaining preparation techniques, everything here is really about specialty coffee. It’s not surprising that they decided to call the café Bean Embassy!

Inside Sister Srey is a map showing countries where APOPO, an organization the shop supports, trains animals to detect landmines left from previous wars.

Sister Srey Cafe

Sister Srey is another coffee shop that is also a social enterprise. Established more than a decade ago with good coffee at its core, Sister Srey’s aim is to support young Khmer students struggling to maintain a balance between school and family.

But Sister Srey is also dedicated to another cause; A large chunk of profits go to APOPO, an association that runs a mine clearance program in Cambodia’s most mine-affected villages.

If you want to give a deeper meaning to your coffee break, this is the place to visit.

A peak at Brolaom’s arabica menu.

Brolaom Coffee

Just across the river, not far from Sister Srey, is Siem Reap’s new kid on the block: Brolaom. This specialty-coffee roaster opened in September 2023. Their menu is focused on brewing 100% arabica coffee, prepared by different extraction methods that enhance the flavor of each individual bean (listed here with flavor notes such as peach and lychee). And with its nice location (central but far enough away from the busiest streets), Brolaom seems poised to become a benchmark for good coffee in the city.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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