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   |   |


Sakana wins Gold at 2013 Cambodian Barista Championships

We’re ecstatic to share the news that Sakana Long has just been named the 2013 Cambodian Barista Champion this past weekend at the Sofitel Phnom Penh! Congratulations, Sak!

Sakana with her GoldSakana was the youngest and only provincial entrant in the competition dominated by participants from Phnom Penh, and was up against competitors from international coffee chains such as Gloria Jeans (3rd place) and Costa Coffee (2nd place). Sakana carries on the Barista Champion title for Kinyei in 2013 after Untac’s win in 2012. We are so proud of Sak and the entire team for all of their hard work in preparing for the competition, and in their dedication to great coffee making!

“Yesterday when I get champion, I’m crying I’m so happy”, Sakana’s responded about her win on Monday.Sak as her name is called

Living with her four siblings and grandmother in Slaket Village just on the outskirts of Battambang city, she joined Kinyei Cafe in December 2010 to earn a wage to support her brother completing high school whilst gaining some skills of her own.  When asked what she’d like to do next, she said she wants to learn how to taste coffee, fix the machine, continue to improve her barista skills and understand everything about how the coffee machine works. She also wants to learn about the picking, fermenting, roasting, and cupping processes.

And another bit of fantastic news – Untac, Kinyei’s enigmatic barista, Soksabike tourguide and first place winner of last year’s national competition went on to compete last month and place in the regional barista championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Untac was invited to be a technical judge on the panel for the 2013 Cambodia competition.

We wanted to hear a bit more from Sakana about her experience over the past weekend:

Sakana under pressure

How did you feel while competing?

“In the first round I was so scared; I shaking a little bit, very excited and nervous at the same time. In the second round I was not so scared and was more confident but a bit nervous.”

How did you feel when you won, when they announced your name?

“I feel like I’m so amazed, I never think about it; the first time I think I cannot do it, but after that, I can do it, you know what I mean?”

And what did Untac have to say? “There were 11 competitors from all over Cambodia this year and they’re all getting one step forward, so everyone’s getting much better than last year.”

“The first round, I’m really nervous for Sak. At first her hands were shaking but she managed to make 12 drinks in 15 minutes – with just 2 seconds to spare, so rushed, but managed to squeeze in before time.”Optimized-sak during 2013

“And the second time, her performance was just so smooth. If you look at the performance, I just can’t believe how she does that. Every movement is confident and she knows what to do and she’s cleaning as she goes. And she says she’s not nervous at all” Untac reported.

Sakana has already received some glowing feedback from the head judge about her capacity to learn and improve between the debriefing of the first round and her performance in the finals. “She took on board all the advice given to her to better her performance and raised the bar for Cambodia as a whole” says Ross Bright, World Barista Championship judge 2007-2008, current Speciality Coffee Association of Europe National Coordinator and Master Roaster for Spinelli Coffee Singapore . – Check out our storify – a moment-by-moment account of the event told through tweets and images as it was unfolding!

CRA Barista Champions - Kinyei Team


We’re over the moon for Sakana and the team. Stay tuned for updates including the next steps for Sakana and Untac, representing the finest in coffee in all of Cambodia!