Kinyei shortlisted as Finalist for 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards


All-Kinyei-Logos for blogFinalists in The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been announced, recognizing Kinyei International (KI) as one of three finalists in the People Category for their dedication to sustainable social change.

KI represents Soksabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe; sibling businesses in Battambang, that are youth-focused social enterprises armed with the mission of providing meaningful training in small business management, hospitality, and sustainable tourism practices.

“The recognition from the WTTC takes on special meaning this year for us, given the inclusion of sustainable tourism practices within the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and the UN recently declaring 2017 the Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development” – Melina Chan, Co-Founder, Kinyei International

Attracting 157 applications across a number of categories, the People Category recognizes organizations that work exceptionally to enhance the capacity of people, and to support them to enter the Travel & Tourism sector as well as offering fair employment practices. 

KI’s placement as a finalist in the WTTC Awards comes on the heels of another Responsible Travel accolade; KI was named the winner of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award in the Responsible Tourism Initiatives category in September 2015.

“We are humbled to be recognized on a global stage for our sound tourism practices, particularly by the WTTC as they are such a prominent leader in raising awareness of sustainable travel practices” – Katie Hallaran, Co-Founder, Kinyei International

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For more information, please contact:

Katie Hallaran   |   +1 203 558 5264   |   |


Our Kinyei family is growing!

Read all about it!!

Our family is growing! @Feel Good Cafe and Coffee Roasters and @Kinyei are new partners and co-owners of @Kinyei Cafe in Battambang. Same wonderful Kinyei Cafe staff and excellent coffee, with some new food on the menu and a new look! Come and sample our new goodies and see our fresh new look for our reopening this month (November).

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It is with great anticipation that we share the news that Kinyei Cafe has formalized our partnership with our roaster, Feel Good Group. As of October 1st of this year, Feel Good became the newest majority owner of the cafe, and the operating partner on st. 1 ½ . Feel Good’s expertise in hospitality and bean roasting combined with the Kinyei team’s reputation for excellence in espresso making and dedication to employee development positions both Kinyei and Feel Good for continued success and market leadership.

This transition also signifies something else to get excited about; the beginning of local ownership, a milestone that we’ve been working towards since we launched Kinyei Cafe! We’re thrilled that Yong (Chhouert Leng), our tireless manager, will join the ranks of the owners. We wanted to update you on these new developments now because this month marks the soft opening of the new space, with some amazing aesthetic improvements and menu additions. But let’s back up, we want to give you the full story, and answer some of the FAQs you might have.


On the evolution of our relationship with Feel Good:

Kinyei met Feel Good a few years back at the 2013 Cambodian National Barista Competition in Phnom Penh via Sakana Long and Untac Nem, our award winning baristas who forged the relationships. The Feel Good connection blossomed as Kinyei began to buy Feel Good roasted beans, and seek advice from Marc and Jose on small scale renovations and management strategies. Through these collaborations, the Feel Good and Kinyei teams became acquainted, and linked.

On the potential for shared value:

This year, the desire on both ends to formalize a relationship propelled Kinyei and Feel Good to start discussions over what a partnership might look like. Both teams prioritized sustainability, growth and local ownership in order to maximize the shared value. After growing their two cafes and roasting facility in Phnom Penh, Jose and Marc felt strongly about Battambang as their next move. Mel and Katie led consultations with Yong and the team, and collectively knew a Feel Good merge could mean big things for Kinyei Cafe.

On the logistics of the deal:

We began discussions in May and through an impressive skype effort (where we relied on Cameron Neil, Hian Chan and Ben Hopper), with Katie in Cambodia in June and July, we reached an agreement in August. Mel came through to Battambang to arrange the transition in August, and here we are in November with the new Cafe ready to launch!


_Will the name of the Cafe change? _No, Kinyei Cafe will remain Kinyei Cafe! Feel Good understands the power of Kinyei’s brand in Battambang and throughout Cambodia and will operate the cafe under that name. After all,our name is a core part of the identity that the team has cultivated over the years!

_What does this mean for Kinyei’s talented staff? _You will still see the same faces at Kinyei Cafe. Our current staff will stay on and benefit from enhanced on the job training, and more opportunities for growth and leadership

_How will it affect Soksabike? And what does it mean for Kinyei generally? _Kinyei International will retain a stake in Kinyei Cafe, and as full owners of Soksabike, Kinyei International will ensure that the relationship between the sibling businesses remains symbiotic and dynamic!

Finally, we want to thank you for being a part of the Kinyei family, and for your involvement over the years which ultimately ensured this huge victory for Kinyei, and for believing in the small, social enterprise models that make small but significant impacts in local communities. We couldn’t have done this without the support, mentorship, and generosity of the Kinyei network. We hope if you’re around you will come by to celebrate! And do stay tuned for more exciting news on the new Kinyei Cafe!

kinyei team pailin coffee trip

Cafe team during a trip to Pailin coffee farm

Kinyei recognized as regional leader in sustainable tourism; an update on our Wild Asia Award

As Kinyei turns five years old, what better way to celebrate how far we’ve come on our journey to create meaningful community tourism projects in Battambang than to be recognized as a leader in the sustainability and the responsible tourism industry. We are over the moon to share with our friends, long-time supporters, customers and community that Kinyei has been named the winner of the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative category by Wild Asia.

Guide Phalla leading through a rice field

Guide Phalla leading through a rice field

Kinyei is an initiative aimed at creating sustainable social change through youth focused social enterprises. Soksabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe, Kinyei’s key enterprises, are sibling businesses in Battambang, Cambodia with the aim of providing meaningful training in hospitality and responsible tourism practices. We’re excited to receive the award for both of these tremendous efforts, but we also wanted to give a shout out to the other finalists in our category EXO Foundation Cambodia and CBT Vietnam, two commendable responsible tourism initiatives worth visit if you have the chance!

Yurie with other Wild Asia Awardees

Yurie with other Wild Asia Awardees

Our trusty Soksabike Manager, Yurie Nagashima, accepted the award on behalf of Kinyei last week in Bangalore, India. It was also an opportunity to showcase Kinyei’s mission, and Battambang’s unique potential on a world stage. Yurie was also asked to speak alongside Amy McLoughlin of Wild Asia on Social Innovation in Responsible Tourism.

A bit about the Awards: Wild Asia is the first Asia-focused, responsible tourism technical and strategic support partner working to sustainably enhance tourism sectors across South and Southeast Asia. Each year, Wild Asia chooses winners across five categories to showcase as leaders in the industry. Kinyei is joining the ranks of some of the most impressive tourism initiatives out there including Scuba Junkie, a marine conservation partnership in Malaysia, viavia Jogja, an arts, culture, gastronomy and adventure tour operator in Indonesia, and Lisu Lodge, a natural heritage tourism operation in Thailand. We are honored to join a community of conscientious tourism operators.

_A bit about the specifics of Kinyei’s Award: _As the recipient of the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative award, we are delighted to be recognized as a champion for grassroots initiatives for responsible tourism in Battambang and in Cambodia. Since Kinyei was conceived of, we’ve been motivated by inclusivity, community narratives, and the power of collaboration. Throughout our projects, from the early days co-creating digital communications solutions with local NGOs through the Profile Project, to helping launch Sammaki a local arts community gallery, to our social impact evaluations with our Soksabike Tour community partners, to sending Sakana off to Singapore to represent Cambodia in the regional barista competition, we have never done anything alone. Our recognition symbolizes the admirable efforts of all of our collaborators and supporters over the years. So, thanks to all of you!

We asked Yurie a few questions about her take on the awards, and, en route to India, she was able to give us some grains of wisdom – we’ll have them up for you to see so check back soon! In the meantime, you can read more in a recent Khmer Times write up about the projects. And for now we just want to say thank you for supporting the Kinyei mission! We couldn’t have done this without the efforts of so many of you. And if you haven’t stopped by for a cycle tour or an award winning cappuccino yet, we’d love to welcome you in!

Kinyei Cafe Team

Kinyei Cafe Team

We won the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award!

Kinyei, which operates Soksabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe, won the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award 2015 under the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Initiative category!

We are very excited to have received this recognition for our effort in promoting sustainable tourism practices. Please have a look at this Soksabike’s page on some of the examples of our responsible tourism practices.

winner responsible tourism award


An Unlikely Story at Kinyei

Personal connections are made everyday at Kinyei and Soksabike; it’s part of what we do here. Every now and then, though, something extra amazing happens that helps us to remember how powerful channels of communication around the world really are.

A few months ago, a message came into the general Soksabike email inbox. It was not the usual request for a tour booking; this message came from the US and inquired after lost family thought to be living in Battambang. Written by Run and Larry from Tennessee, the message told the too familiar story of a family disrupted by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Run is Cambodian born and raised, and had left Battambang during the conflict to stay in the Thai border camps before leaving for the US. Now, 30 years later, Run asked after her grandfather, mother and younger sister who were last known to be living in Tuol Ta Eik village in Battambang.

Run had been looking for ways to communicate with residents of Battambang to find information on her family for years. Finally facebook and similar social media channels provided a pathway in. Months had passed and Run hadn’t had much traction asking around to those claiming Battambang residence facebook. Run had come across the Soksabike website looking for another way to access people that would know Battambang.

Phalla, Soksabike’s main bookings officer, came across the message and took pause. “How should I reply?”, she thought. Phalla’s mother lived in Tuol Ta Eik village. Maybe she could start there and just ask around. It couldn’t hurt.

“Ok, I have relatives, maybe I can help”, she wrote back to Run and Larry. She’d give it a try, but wanting to temper their expectations, told them she really had no idea if she would actually be able to help. She asked Run for her family member’s Khmer names.

Thinking logically, Phalla started her investigation with the Tuol Ta Eik Commune Chief. She met the staff of the Commune Chief, and presented the facts. “I said, I have a person I know who stays in the US and who is looking for her relatives.” Phalla recounted.

With some luck it seemed to Phalla, the staff member recognized one name from the list Phalla brought; Run’s grandfather, Cham Roeun Yam, who had died some time ago. The staff confirmed that the family used to reside in Tuol Ta Eik, and that all members of the family had either passed away or moved, except for one known granddaughter whose whereabouts could not be confirmed.

Phalla waited to give the staff time to ask around in the community. Although there was hope that the names had been recognized, Phalla was a bit doubtful on what would turn up. When she returned to the Commune Chief’s office, Phalla received the news that the staff had a chance meeting with a police officer that knew Run’s grandfather and family. He suggested that Phalla go and meet with the police, but Phalla was reluctant. She’d prefer to avoid trips to the police station.

There had to be something else she could do herself, without going to the police. On a whim, Phalla decided to ask her mother’s neighbors in Tuol Ta Eik. She hadn’t thought of it before, but the neighbors were nearly 80 years old, and had lived in the village for decades, perhaps they would have known or heard of Run’s relatives. She asked, did they know Cham Roeun Yam? Phalla was delighted. Yes, they had known her grandfather, who, they informed Phalla, had been the pagoda chief and had passed away in 1975. And yes, they could suggest another close friend of the family that might be a good resource.

The lead the neighbors gave to Phalla was fruitful. A dear friend of Run’s cousin from primary school, the woman was now a pharmacist in Psa (market) Runlakoun not far from Tuol Ta Eik. Phalla finally had good news for Run; the next day she gave Run and Larry the phone number of Run’s cousin, now living in New Zealand. Soon after that, Run and her cousin spoke on the phone after 32 years of separation.

Run’s cousin also had news; Run’s mother and sister are thought to be alive and living in Phnom Penh. So the search goes on, but already with such a fortuitous connection, the future is looking bright.

Phalla is energized and visibly moved by the story, and by her own role in it all. “I’m really happy, first, I have never done anything like that, I felt a very happy feeling, I didn’t think I would find even someone that knows her relative, I just thought I could try” she says, her eyes lit up.

“What’s funny, I look around and go far before I look right in front of me, and think maybe I should look closely. It was an accident, really, I found the answer at my mom’s house”. And all this time, the neighbors Phalla saw everyday had the information that the strangers from thousands of miles away were looking for.

Phalla’s excitement is infectious. We couldn’t be more proud to have her on our team. Phalla and Run have since been in communication sharing about their lives and families. They recently discovered a shared passion. Run owns a small craft shop in the US; for those that know her, this is just about the best news a craft enthusiast like Phalla could get.

Please share this story! It’s a testament to what strong communication channels are capable of. At Kinyei want to continue to promote these strong channels through the projects and the people involved. Best of luck to Run as she will interview for her US citizenship on June 14!

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!

One year kicking at Kinyei’s St. 1.5 Cafe

Latest from the Cafe front: Barista trainings and Championships

We’re fast approaching our one year anniversary at Kinyei’s St 1.5 Cafe! Incredible to think that it’s been one year since we launched our Kickstarter campaign to get this whole thing off the ground, ran a remote training with our green staff and the Jasper folks, and opened our doors in Battambang.

There hasn’t been a minute to sit still so far; looking back at the past two months, it’s been a frenzied push to expand our team and into our upstairs space. We’d like to think these last several months have been a testament to the team’s hard work and endless energy for fulfilling Kinyei’s collaborative spaces a making the most of every opportunity that presents itself.

Barista Training in and out

We kicked off October with another round of hiring to ready ourselves for the tourist season, nearly upon us. Theavy, Sopheap, Seyla and Chouert, the cafe newcomers, are quickly acclimating to cafe life. Fortuitously, Kinyei was hosting volunteers James and Joel, pals from Australia, on site for 2 weeks around the same time (see post below for their blog). James, a coffee connoisseur with years of experience in the coffee industry back in Brisbane, used the two weeks to pass on his expertise.

Sopheap's first latte


James, with help from Katie and the Cafe team, developed a comprehensive Barista training manual and accreditation course, with a coffee appreciation component, covering coffee concepts from crop to cup.

This newly minted Barista Course has jumpstarted a new service for Kinyei’s cafe team – professional espresso machine training. So far the Kinyei team has facilitated our training for one barista from Art Deli in Siem Reap, and two baristas from a new cafe near Banteay Preab, Phnom Penh. The Cafe team did a fantastic job of delivering this training and received stellar feedback from the trainees. Sorn Sreyna commented about the benefits of the training,

“I feel excited that I can make a nice coffee now, I know clearly how to make many kinds of coffee and hot to steam a very nice milk.”

She then asked, “Can I come back to train again?”

Similarly the cafe team was excited to be able to share (and show off) their skills. Untac also noted that “the training was great but quite short. I would want at least a week if I were a trainee I would feel confused!”

Srey Na and Sopheap, barista trainees from Phnom Penh

Untac also incorporated YouTube instructables into the training himself, citing how helpful it was for him when he was learning to use YouTube to watch different milk steaming techniques. To be sure, making delicious espresso takes persistence and passion!

TOT for P2P

Kinyei’s senior Cafe staff also attended a train the trainer workshop led by the Women’s Reproductive Team from the Catholic Centre in Battambang at Kinyei. Perfect timing for the team to use their new training skills as we rolled out the Barista training curriculum to staff from cafes around Cambodia.

TOT P2P it's all happening

Soksabike tour guide Moth Pheap was happy for the chance to view experienced trainers to get ideas for leadership style and setting clear direction and focus to a task. Sopheap Khou appreciated that the trainers spent time to understand their audience, and become familiar with those they were going to train, including cultivating a friendly feeling between instructor and student. Phalla Yai pointed out that the training was just a first step, and that with limited time, there was limited potential for learning – she’d like to see more trainings like this in the future.

It was fun to see Kinyei’s different project teams come together to learn a general skill like leadership and training that they can bring back to their specific jobs, and use in peer to peer education whether that’s training new baristas in the cafe, new tour guides on the route, or any other hobby, interest or skill that they have.

Thanks again to Meg Battle, Theary and the team from the Catholic Church for putting together a super workshop!

Kinyei’s first entry into the Cambodian National Barista Champs

On the 20th of October Katie, Sean and Sakana crowded into a shared taxi to Phnom Penh to cheer on Untac in the 2011 Barista Championships at the Sofitel.

On the 21st of October Untac had 15 minutes to make and serve 12 coffees. He made four espressos, four Cappuccinos and four signature drinks. With help from fellow cafe staff, Untac concocted the ‘Kinyei’; a shot of espresso, a shot of ginger sugar syrup, latte milk and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The ‘Kinyei’ was served in a piccolo latte glass. Delicious…and innovative! Katie, Mel, Justin and I got the pleasure of tasting the ‘Kinyei’ during Untac’s practice round the day before the competition at St 1.5.

Untac brought his coffee making flare and charming personality to the floor to produce some stunning coffees. Have a look for yourself – Untac competes in National Barista Competition

“The three who won were very skillful, all the competitors have skills, but did worse during the competition, even me”, Untac noted. He attributed this to the nervousness all contestants felt, as none had been judged before. He also noted that there were two different machines and that the contenstents were randomly assigned to compete on; the participants all agreed the larger 2 Group Saaco machine was more optimal than the smaller single group machine. It was luck of the draw.

The crowned barista was from The Shop in Phnom Penh. Talk about steep competition, most of these baristas are churning out hundreds of espressos daily. We’re terribly stoked for Untac, he did us all proud in Phnom Penh!

Untac and Sakana scoping out the competition

The small Kinyei contingency was delighted to witness the pomp at the Cambodian Restaurant Association’s (CRA) barista competition. Sakana noted that she loved to watch the cooking competition “since cooking is something I’ve loved since I was little.” On Phnom Penh, she added “Romdeng restaurant was my  and the pumpkin cake at Living Room cafe.”

“The cafes in Phnom Penh are similar to Kinyei, but I got some new ideas about specials. At Kinyei we could have something like Banana Cappuccino”, Sean reported.

As for watching Untac compete, Sakana remarked “I was very scared for Untac!”

Untac just before his turn at the machine

“I was very happy when I watched Untac to make coffee, some time I want to help but this is a competition so I cannot”, lamented Sean.

Untac interjected that one of his favorite things was getting to know the other contestants from different places in Cambodia. Everyone was really friendly, and happy to share about their experiences. “While we played on the machines, people would come and share what they know. We’re still talking together on facebook.”

“I think next year Kinyei should send two baristas to compete” Sakana concluded. We couldn’t agree more.

An aside: Lucky for the team, the event was held as part of the CRA hospitality competition. You can imagine our elation as we witnessed competitors in the bedmaking, fruit carving, and bartending competitions.







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!