Cambodian Barista Champion 2012

As some of you might have picked up on by now, two of Kinyei’s original baristas Untec Nem and Sean Oun just got back from  Phnom Penh where they went with a small cheering contingent from the cafe to battle Cambodia’s Finest (baristas) in the annual Cambodian Restaurant Association barista competition. There were 15 contestants, all from the capital, many representing big names like Brown, Gloria Jeans, and Sofitel.

And Untac won.

Now I’m not saying we didn’t entirely expect this – Sean and Untac are passionate learners, they’ve had the very best of help from visiting barista volunteers and our long-time supporters over at Jasper Coffee, and both the guys did Battambang proud on the day, whipping up quality joe with aplomb, panache and poise – but given our relative isolation as a coffee house in Battambang and the strength of the competition, it was definitely “wildest dreams” material to hear one of our guys called to the stage to accept the gold.

Their “signature drinks”, developed for the competition by the guys themselves in collaboration with Battambang’s small but loyal coffee drinking community are being chalked up on the board: Sean’s viennese style coffee with chocolate and whipped cream (incidentally one of the few coffees in the comp a judge didn’t just taste but polished off completely), and Untac’s “street latte” – a cafe latte infused with traditional Cambodian “duk ompeu” or sugar cane juice pressed with Pursat oranges.

Apparently the next competition is in Singapore where national champions from all around the region will compete to qualify for the World Barista Championship. That’s hugely exciting but for the moment, the team is enjoying the afterglow of the new sights, ideas and friends they found in Phnom Penh – a city many have only visited once or twice in their life.

So a huge thank you to all our supporters for your pledges, your well wishes and to those of you who have visited, your invaluable time and assistance – believe me it’s paying off.

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Circus Oz tickets up for grabs

In a surprise act of random awesomeness supporter Mike Finch of Circus Oz just announced that he’s donating a double pass to the show to whoever donates the most to our campaign in the next 11 hours (at time of writing).

You can see his rules below (there aren’t any really) – just make sure you give us a name to go by on the donation page and you’re in the running. HUGE thanks to Mike, we couldn’t do this without supporters like that!

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Working Across Cultures

After a bit of a hiatus the Open Workshop is back with an amazing opportunity: Working Across Cultures with veteran trainer John Jablonka, June 6th at 2pm. Our last cross-cultural workshop packed out so make sure you get in early!

What is it about?

This workshop is both for Khmer people and foreigners working in Battambang in the social enterprise and development sectors. It aims to bring people together to discuss the issues faced in working with people from diverse cultures eg. How can we best …

  • Form relationships?
  • Communicate?
  • Manage time?
  • Plan?
  • Get things done?
  • Create Change?
  • Sustain change?

The workshop is not about do’s and don’ts that oversimplify cultures. It will encourage dialogue using participatory approaches. It will enable you to explore ideas and myths about culture and generate some unique ideas relevant to your communities and people.

About the Presenter

John is a cross cultural trainer based in Australia who works with developing communities. He has been travelling to work in Cambodia since 2000 as well as many other countries in the Asia Pacific where he has explored principles for working well across cultures.

Who’s it for?

Workshop will be in English and Khmer (volunteer translators welcome). The workshop will work best with a mix of participants so please invite both your expat and Khmer colleagues.

How to register?

Workshop places are limited so please register your interest to ensure a place.

Please email with:

Your name: Number of people participating: Organisation (if applicable): What do you want to achieve in this workshop:


Tuesday June 5, 2pm – 5pm. (update: previous date was incorrect, this is now the correct date)


Kinyei Cafe St 1.5 Battambang Town



As always, participation in Kinyei Open Workshops is free of charge. Look forward to seeing you there!


បន្ទាប់ពីបានសរាក់បន្តិច ពីការសិក្ខាសាលា ត្រឡប់មកនេះគឺជាឳកាសដ៏អស្ចារ្យ៖ គឺការធ្វើការ ចំរុះវប្បធម៍ជាមួយអ្នកបណ្តុះបណ្តាល ចន ចាបលូកា (John Jablonka) នៅថ្ងៃទី ៦ ខែ មិថុនា នៅវេលាម៉ោង ២រសៀល។ សិក្ខាសាលាអំពី ការចំរុះវប្បធម៍ និងមានអ្នកចូលរូមច្រើន ហើយ ចំនួនមានកំណត់ ប្រាដកថាអ្នកមកចូលរូមបានមុនពេលចាប់ផ្តើម។ តើគេនិយាយអំពីអ្វី?

សិក្ខាសាលានេះ អ្នកចូលរូមគឺមានទាំងខ្មែរនិងបរទេស ដែលពូកគេធ្វើការក្នុងខេត្តបាត់ដំបងនិង ជាភ្នាក់ងារជាអភិវឌ្ឃសង្គម។ យើងមានគោលបំណង ប្រមូលផ្តុំមនុស្សទាំងនោះមកធ្វើការ ពិភាក្សាទៅបញ្ហាដែលធ្វើការជាមួយមនុស្សដែលមានវប្បធម៍ខុសៗគ្នា។ ជាឧទាហរណ៍ដូចជា៖ តើយើងអាចធ្វើយ៉ាងណា…. ទំរង់នៃការទាក់ទង? ការទំនាក់ទំនង? ការគ្រប់គ្រង់ពេលវេលា? គំរោងការ? ធ្វើការផ្លាស់ប្តូរ? គំាទ្រការផ្លាស់ប្តូរ? សិក្ខាសាលានេះគឺមិនអំពី មិនមែនធ្វើអ្វីឲ្យខុសឆ្ងាយពីភាពសមញ្ញនៃវប្បធម៍។ យើងនិង លើកទឹកចិត្តចំពោះការចូលរួមធ្វើការសន្ទនា។ យើងនិងធ្វើឲ្យអ្នកអាច ស្វែងរកគំនិត និង ជំនឿដែលមិនគួជឿអំពីវប្បធម៍ និងធ្វើការបង្កើតនូវគំនិតដែលពាក់ពន្ធ័ទៅនិង សហគមន៍ និង មនុស្ស។ អំពី វាគ្មិន លោក ចន គឺជាអ្នកបណ្តុំបណ្តាល់អំពីវប្បធម៍ចំរុះមួយនៅ អូស្រ្តលី ដែលគាត់ធ្វើការជាមួយការ អភិវឌ្ឃសហគមន៍។ គាត់បានធ្វើដំណើរមកប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ចាប់តាំងពីឆ្នាំ ២០០០ មកម្ល៉េះ ហើយ គាត់ក៏បានធ្វើដំណើរទៅប្រទេសផ្សេងៗទៀតជាច្រើន នៅអាស៊ីប៉ាស៊ីភិចនេះ ដែលគាត់បាន ស្វែងរកនូវគោលការណ៍ សំរាប់ការធ្វើការងារចំរុះវប្បធម៍នេះ។

តើសិក្ខាសិលានេះសំរាប់អ្នកណា?​ សិក្ខាសាលានេះចាប់ធ្វើរូមគ្នាជាមួយជនជាតិខ្មែរ និងបរទេស (អ្នកស្មាគ្រ័ចិត្តបកប្រែទាំងអស់ សូមស្វាគមន៍)។ សិក្ខាសាលានេះ និងដំណើរការទៅបានល្អប្រសើរលុះត្រាតែមានការចូលរូមចំរុះ ដូចច្នោះ សូមអញ្ជើញទាំងបរទេស និងបុគ្គលឹកខ្មែរ។

តើអ្នកចុះឈ្មោះដោយរបៀបណា? ទីកន្លែងសំរាប់សិក្ខាសាលា គឺមានកំណត់ដូចច្នោះសូមប្រញាប់រួសរាន់ចុះឈ្មោះឡើង ដើម្បី ធានាបាននៅទីកន្លែងសំរាប់អ្នក។

សូមទំនាក់ទំនងមក អ៊ីម៉ែលរបស់ខ្ញី៖ អ៊ីម៉ែល៖ ឈ្មោះ ចំនួនអ្នកចូលរូម អង្គការ (ប្រសិនបើអាច) តើអ្នកចង់បានអ្វីពីសិក្ខាសាលានេះ? នៅពេលណា? ថ្ងៃទី ០៦/ មិថុនា/ ២០១២ ពីម៉ោង ២ល្ងាច ដល់ម៉ោង ៥​ល្ងាច។ នៅឯណា? ធ្វើនៅ ខ្ញី នៅផ្លូវលេខ ១ កន្លះ ក្នុង ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង។

Meet some Kinyei supporters

The response to our campaign for local self-sufficiency has already been overhwhelming both online and off. At time of writing we’ve raised $3005 with the help of 14 phenomenal backers, and received some really exciting offers of help with training which I’ll tell you more about when plans firm up.

All of our contributors are critical to the succcess of this initiative but this week we wanted to give a special shout-out to four of the first to jump on board (and agree to be profiled!). These guys along with other early-birds really started the ball rolling, so without further ado, here are some of our amazing supporters:

Larry & Run

We are honored to be a small part of this worthy project. We are Cham Run and Larry Madison in Tennessee, USA. We are retired from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Our support for this project is to show our gratitude to Phalla Yai for her help in locating family members out of touch for 30 years. Phalla is attending Battambang University and is involved in the Kinyei project. We hope to be able to provide more support in the near future and applaud the staff for what they have accomplished so far.

Good luck and best wishes.


Lily Henderson

What do you do? Filmmaker

Why support Kinyei? It’s such a creative and simple idea that it has to work. Creating a space where people can work or hang out over some quality espresso, home baked goods and local artwork is one good community builder but then adding the bike program, which enables people to really branch out into their community and to see it from a different vantage point, makes the Kinyei model brilliant.


Pat Allan

What do you do? Itinerant freelance web developer and event organiser _ Why support Kinyei? _Because I love what the Kinyei team are doing, you’re all wonderful people, and you’re making a clear and positive difference in the lives of your employees and future business owners.


Ariana & Mike

What do you do? At the moment we work to travel.

Why support Kinyei? We love the staff and their ideas and want to support them in making change within their community in Battambang. We hope Kinyei continues to grow and all those involved grow with it.

Love from Paris, Ari and Mike

Thanks to all our backers so far for helping us kick off to a great start, you guys are making amazing things possible!

Starting Some More Good

In case you’re new to this blog, Kinyei is a grassroots initiative to develop social entrepreneurship in Battambang, Cambodia, by collaborating with young Cambodians day to day on social enterprises. (Basically. We also find ourselves getting caught up in open culture events, peer-learning projects and youth entrepreneurship throughout Cambodia.) You can read more about what we do right here.

This week however we are starting a fundraising campaign to support arguably Kinyei’s most critical and exciting initiative yet. We will be training the team to manage their own projects, making them entirely locally sustained and run.

Kinyei has only raised funds once before, to the cafe’s set up costs. We’re proud of what’s been achieved by the team with this – a bare fraction of the funding of many large NGO programs here – and their own sweat and creativity.

This step is if anything more critical than the first, establishing the project’s vision of locally self-sustaining social enterprise for years to come. Please visit the campaign at Start Some Good or our support page and help us finalize all the great progress that has been made by Kinyei over the years!
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Creative Writing & Zine Open Workshops

Jan Cornall travels the world teaching creative writing workshops. We’re happy to have the chance to host her at the Open Workshop for two sessions on Tuesday, December 20, one on creative writing and another on zine production. Here are the details:

The Zen of Zine Making – 11am-3pm, 20 Dec

Get some pointers on the Japanese art of haiku (three line poem) and haibun (descriptive haiku like prose)  then learn how to make a simple zine (small hand made book) to put them in. Working with handmade papers,fabric and found materials learn how to use folding and oriental stitching to create different kinds of zines and mini artist books. No experience necessary – just a creative spirit and desire to play with words and paper.

Workshop schedule includes time for lunch.

Seize the Moment Creative Writing Workshop – 6.30pm-8.30pm, 20 Dec

Have you always wanted to write a collection of stories or poems, travel memoir, life story or play around with fiction or non-fiction? Are you already writing but need a shot of inspiration to keep you going? In a creative and supportive atmosphere find out where to start, how to progress and set realistic goals for finishing. Revise the essential elements of writing; learn how to find your writers voice, develop descriptive detail, create interesting characters and find the structure that will bring your story to life. Using meditative techniques discover how easy it is to access your creative source on a daily basis and leave the workshop with a plan that will see you completing your writing project within months. All genres, all levels of experience welcome.

About Jan

Jan Cornall is a Sydney based writer, performer and teacher who supports writers through the long process of realising their creative work. The author of fifteen plays and musicals, a feature film, three CDs of songs and a novel, Jan teaches creative writing at writer’s centres, community colleges and universities in Australia and the Asia Pacific. Jan also leads writing retreats in inspirational locations: Bali, Fiji, Laos, Cambodia and the Australian desert. Dedicated to nurturing the unique attributes of each writer, each year a number of her students go on to publish with major publishing houses.

Who’s it for?

Any age, genre, experience level welcome. Workshop will be in English (volunteer translators welcome), participants are welcome to write in their own language.

How to register?

Workshop places are limited so please register your interest to ensure a place.

Please email with:

Your name: Organisation (if applicable): What do you want to achieve in this workshop:


Kinyei Cafe St 1.5 Battambang Town

As always, participation in Kinyei Open Workshops is free of charge. Look forward to seeing you there!

Social Business competition by ARUN

For some reason every event we go to seems to produce pictures of people sitting around which never represent the buzz and kick that I remember the event being all about, and the ARUN business idea comp that just went by is no exception. So I want to make it clear that despite the picture to the left being of people in chairs and tidy clothes, the 2-day competition / symposium was really awesome and I’m already excited for next year’s.

Kinyei went down as facilitators to help the 3-person teams (2 Cambodian and 1 Japanese student each) identify social issues, conceive of solutions, and try to distill an innovative, workable business idea from all of that. With just 24 hours to do this from start to finish, the teams performed admirably and I think they can all feel justifiably proud of their efforts.

Despite going along as “facilitators”, the experience was really a learning one for us too. Seeing groups of other people trying to find the right balance of social impact and economic feasibility (although I suspect that’s false dichotomy), and trying to home in on a social problem sufficiently well-defined to begin to tackle throws the whole process into a new clarity. Here are the top four things we learned from the event:

**Well-defined is half done ** “Hunger” might be something you’re really passionate about solving, but as a problem for a social enterprise to tackle, it is really pretty vague. Often groups had to sacrifice their heroic attack on a colossal social problem in order to find one that was clearly defined enough that a solution in the form of a single business was possible. Something we found helped in this process was an iterative interrogation of the causes of their stated problem: “What causes hunger here?” and “Ok and what causes that?” until an approachable problem emerged.

Know your customers This is an entrepreneurship truism, and only more important when your enterprise is “social”. Frequently teams found they were trying to address problems and work with customers from a completely different socio-economic or cultural space to their own, and were therefore flying blind when it came to predicting their customers’ values and priorities. You need to be in touch with your customer base early and often, testing your critical assumptions in the real world to avoid potentially finding out one of them is critically wrong many months and thousands of dollars down the line.

Be flexible – about (almost) everything In the competition, teams were coming up with ideas from scratch. The businesses had no customer bases, no buildings, no one on payroll and no existing brands to worry about. In other words, the teams had everything to gain from re-thinking their ideas from the ground up in response to new information, and nothing to lose – yet frequently, we found people reluctant to re-think their business model after it had been conceived. The problem is that any team that is diligently exploring a given social problem will inevitably come up with game-changing insights or information during the process, and often these insights will show their existing solution to be less than ideal. Teams therefore need to be able to prioritize their social mission, and be prepared to throw out any and all business ideas that they discover don’t serve that, rather than staying attached to a business idea itself, and manipulating the social mission and impacts to it.

Your team is your single most valuable asset Finally, what was clearly obvious in the final presentations was that the passion, motivation and resources of the individuals in a team can make all the difference to potential investors (or in our case, judges.) The greatest social business idea in the world is only as good as the team that is going to implement it.

You can find out more about the event from ARUN, and Sen Tharo did a write-up you should probably check out.

The nascent social entrepreneurship culture in Cambodia is really exciting and it’s going to be interesting to see what the ARUN students end up doing with their ideas now that this competition is over (students, write to us to let us know!). With two more similar events coming up in the next few months, it’s obvious that support for social business is growing here, so hopefully the scene is here to stay.

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Angkor Art Explo

There’s an art thing happening in town today and for the next week involving artists from all over Battambang including art shows, parties and a travelling exhibition (on bicycles) through the countryside between Battambang and Siem Reap which is probably going to be amazing – I have no idea how Battambang’s very urban art scene is going to be received in the towns and villages of Cambodia’s less media saturated countryside, but stay tuned because we’ll probably be live blogging it.

Kinyei is acting as the festival HQ for the week so if you need to find out what’s happening where, drop by and pick up a festival guide. Oh and here’s the full program, you should probably check it out.

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